With Ike Davis struggling in the majors, Mets fans are looking for another option, someone who can take over the first base job for Davis while he puts in some work at Triple-A. There really seem to be three candidates, two more realistic than the other: Zach Lutz, Josh Satin, and Wilmer Flores. Lutz and Satin are examples of two guys who never got a real shot. They certainly have their flaws, but were largely left out of the major league picture because of their league to age comparisons. They were college guys that didn’t move up the ladder fast enough. In a way, that makes them the less exciting of the options. However, the Mets have Wilmer Flores currently on the Triple-A roster which has many Mets fans wondering: When will we see Wilmer Flores?
Flores, 21, had a breakout season last year, splitting the season with High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. In the first half, he put up an impressive slash line of .289/.336/.463 with ten home runs in 272 plate appearances. Although he was repeating the league, he was still on the younger side. He earned a mid-season promotion to Binghamton, where he was even better at the plate, posting a .311/.361/.494 batting line with eight home runs in 275 plate appearances. Now he is playing for Las Vegas, his third team in a calendar year. Here’s where things go wrong.
In any other team and in any other situation, Flores’s numbers this season would not be much of a concern. He has a .267 batting average and .757 OPS (through Tuesday’s game). He also has four home runs and a .322 on-base percentage. Considering how young he is, it normally wouldn’t be any cause for concern. However, when you go deeper and look at his home and road splits, you realize that even those so-so numbers are inflated by the hitter-friendly Cashman Field. Here is what his splits look like:
Home: .282/.321/.526, 3 HR in 85 PA
Away: .253/.323/.349, 1 HR in 97 PA
Considering that the league averages are generally around .285/.360/.450, he hasn’t been great. And in a league filled with hitter-friendly parks, Las Vegas may be the most hitter-friendly environment.
This was supposed to be another big year for Flores. Coming off a strong year and being put into one of the best hitter parks in all of the minors, I expected big, big numbers, which we certainly have not seen. As Brian Joura of Mets360 points out, maybe the Mets were too quick to put Flores in Triple-A:
Perhaps the Mets were too aggressive placing Flores in Triple-A. Maybe the best thing would have been to start him back in Double-A and look to promote him to Triple-A at mid-season. After all, he would still be young for his league at 21 in the Eastern League. Recently Rob Rogan did research that showed the average age of the Eastern League was over 25.
And that’s it with Flores – it all comes down to age. How do we balance production with age? What are the appropriate bonus points to award and what’s the scale you use to combine that with actual production? If we knew the answer to those questions, we would have a more accurate guide in how to properly rate Flores.
All things considered, there is no chance Flores comes up for anything other than a cup of coffee in September. He had us all excited before this year, but likely prematurely. He isn’t ready and the Mets should not even consider messing with him even more by promoting him to the majors.