Wilmer Flores' first full season in the Major Leagues produced a .263 average, 16 home runs, 59 RBIs, and numerous clutch hits for the New York Mets in 2016. The 23-year old struck out only 63 times in a career high 510 at bats, showing the ability to make consistent contact. Flores was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela with the Mets in August of 2007, and quickly became one of the team’s top prospects. He played a total of 7 seasons in the minor leagues and in over 3,000 at bats in his minor league career he is a .292 hitter. Flores made his Major league debut on his 22nd birthday, August 6th 2013. He is another product of what has been a very productive Mets farm system the last few seasons.
Flores came into 2015 as a young player fighting for a job, and finished 2015 as one of the Mets best hitters. Flores 16 home runs, and 59 were runs batted in were both 4th on the team in those respective categories. His biggest highlight from 2015 was actually something he did not do with a bat, or a glove. On Wednesday July 29th in a game against the San Diego Padres Wilmer Flores came off the field in the middle innings, and first learned from fans near the dugout that the Mets had agreed to trade him and Zack Wheeler for Milwaukee center fielder Carlos Gomez. In the following innings Flores could not hold back his emotions and was filmed and photographed crying. The player who had been with the organization since the age of 16 was now facing a divorce from the only organization he had ever known. His tears tugged at the hearts of not only Mets fans, but baseball fans across the Country as his story became National news. The trade did not happen and forty-eight hours later there was Flores rewarding the Mets with his biggest baseball highlight of the season by hitting a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of the team’s huge win over the National East rival Washington Nationals.
Flores will be a tremendous bargain for the 2016 New York Mets as he is still under team salary control and will make between $500,000 and $600,000. He is not eligible for salary arbitration until next season and cannot be a free agent until 2020.
As a young, 23 year old power hitting infielder getting paid near the league minimum Wilmer Flores would certainly have good trade value if the Mets were to shop him around. Ultimately, I think the Mets will keep Flores as he is a home grown Met who Mets fans have fallen in love with. Flores is also the Mets best insurance policy in the event that starting third baseman David Wright would require to spend some time on the D.L. in 2016.
The Mets are hoping that Flores will be the teams super utility player for 2016. Flores will be expected to fill in for third baseman David Wright at least two games a week to help keep Wright healthy. He will also put on a first baseman’s glove and potentially put Lucas Duda on the bench against certain left-handed pitchers that have notoriously given Duda trouble in the past. Second baseman Neil Walker who also struggles against lefthanders may also sit for Flores. Ironically, the position Flores played the most last season – short stop - is the position that he will most likely play the least this season as the Mets.