by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Mets’ Wilmer Flores is not a foreign name to fantasy owners, as he saw 101 plate appearances in the Majors in 2013. With the team in need of a jolt offensively (as well as in the bullpen, though that’s a different issue all together), it appears like they are ready to hand the shortstop job over to Flores. If he can handle the position defensively is a question fantasy owners don’t care about, what matters is if he brings enough offense upside to the table.
At Triple-A this season (Pacific Coast League), Flores was hitting .307 with 5 HR and 25 RBI. He entered Wednesday with a .325 BABIP, so there is no red flag in the average in that regard. He also had a 17.5% strikeout rate (12.6% since 2011 in the minors), so it’s clear that he brings offensive potential in the average department (.290 for his minor league career).
Unfortunately, that may be where the positives end. While he has hit 30+ doubles three times in his career, he’s never hit more than 18 HR (2012). In 538 AB at Triple-A, playing in one of the best hitters parks, he managed just 20 HR. Considering that he is going to be playing half his games in CitiField, is anyone excited about his power potential?
Scouts across the board talk about “raw” power when it comes to Flores, though it would be nice if he showed some real signs of it. He is still just 22-years old, so there obviously is time to see it develop but it’s hard to imagine it suddenly showing itself in the Majors in 2014.
He also offers no speed, with 15 career stolen bases. So, we may be looking at a 10/5 type option right now. That has value in NL-Only and the deepest of mixed leagues, but it’s hardly going to excite you.
Here’s the scouting report from Baseball America prior to the season, who placed him sixth among Mets’ prospects:
“Flores began turning on the inside pitch for home run power in 2012, though his natural power stroke carries the ball to right-center field. While he still doesn’t work many deep counts, he has impressive bat control and the hand-eye coordination to hit different pitch types to all fields.”
He’s hardly going to be a must use option, but in deeper formats there is potential to be a viable middle infielder. It all depends on your needs and situation.
Sources – MILB.com, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central, Baseball America