5 Reasons Wilmer Flores Should Be New York Mets’ First Baseman of the Future
5 Reasons Wilmer Flores Should Be New York Mets' First Baseman of the Future
Wilmer Flores has only been in the major leagues for a week, and already New York Mets fans have become enamored with the 22-year old rookie, mostly because it seems that all he does is drive in runs for the Mets. Of course, the question with Flores throughout his minor league career has been what position he would ultimately play when he reached the big leagues. Now that he is in the majors and looks like he’s ready to make that move permanent, the Mets can no longer delay answering the question.
Flores was originally a shortstop, playing the position admirably for several years despite poor foot speed. In 2011, the Mets decided to move him to third base, where he could use his strong arm to throw across the diamond. Prior to his MLB promotion this season, Flores played primarily at second base, where he worked hard to compensate for his limited range due to his size and lack of foot speed. Ironically, the position he may fit into best is the position he’s only played sparingly during his minor league career: first base.
Shortstop is beyond out of the question, and although he has filled in well for the injured David Wright at third base, Wright’s presence makes that spot impossible for Flores to stick at in the long run. This leaves second base and first base as the only possibilities to put Flores in the field at if he’s going to remain with the Mets. Despite the Mets playing him primarily at second base this season, here are five reasons why Flores’ future with the Mets is at first base, and why he should be their first baseman of the future:
Ike Davis' Future Is In Question
Davis has started to turn things around in the past week or so, but a lack of power is still a concern, and whether or not the Mets still see him as their first baseman of the future is up in the air. If Davis doesn’t finish the season strong and start hitting the ball out of the ballpark, the Mets may not be able to bring him back, which opens the door for Flores to be a candidate at first base.
Mets Can't Afford A Defensive Liability At Second Base
Flores has spent most of 2013 playing second base, but it doesn’t take an expert to know that he doesn’t have the foot speed or the range to play second base in the majors without sacrificing a lot on the defensive end. As much as the Mets would like to get Flores’ bat into the lineup, they’d be giving up a lot defensively if they put him there. The Mets are building their team with young pitching, and a pitcher’s best friend is good defense behind him; having Flores at second base would compromise that defense. Despite his inexperience at first base, Flores would be much less of a liability there than at second base.
His Bat Profiles At A Corner
Believe it or not, Flores is barely 22-years old, which means his body is still maturing and he’s still growing into his frame. But when he ultimately fills out, he should have a strong upper body that will give his bat the kind of power that’s expected from corner infielders. Terry Collins has said that he envisions Flores playing a corner spot in the future, and since he’s too slow for the outfield and David Wright is blocking him at third base, the only remaining place to put him is first base.
There Are Few Alternatives
Quality first basemen don’t grow on trees. The Mets thought they had one in Ike Davis, but that may not be working out. If they move on from Davis, the internal options are Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, and Josh Satin. Duda has had plenty of opportunities but not established himself as a big league player; Murphy has settled in at second base and shouldn’t be moved back to first base; and although Satin played well in Davis’ absence earlier this year, he doesn’t have the power to be a long-term option at that position. Outside of the organization, there aren’t a lot of good options on the free agent market this offseason, and trading for a top-notch first baseman would be quite costly, especially for a rebuilding team like the Mets. This could make Flores one of the best options the Mets have at first base when Davis is eventually let go.
Trading Him Would Be A Mistake
With the way that Flores has torched triple-A pitching this season, and the promise he has shown since coming to the big leagues, he has all the makings of an impact major league bat. The Mets don’t want to become known as the organization that traded him away. The Mets need to do all they can to find a place for him on their team, and the way things are going, first base seems like the most sensible position to play him at in the long run.