Wilmer Flores will get his third opportunity with the New York Mets. The Mets announced today that they would recall the 22-year-old infielder after shortstop Ruben Tejada was hit in the head with a pitch yesterday in Seattle. Tejada hasn’t been placed on the disabled list as of now, and he’s passed his concussion tests. The Mets said a corresponding roster move would come later in the day. But one thing is for certain. Flores needs to play.
He’s been up with the big club twice already this year. The first time was in April, when Daniel Murphy missed the first few games of the season when he was on paternity leave. Flores played in only one game and went 0-for-4. The second time he came up, it was to compete with Tejada for the starting shortstop position. Flores started two games, then sat for a week, as Tejada improved his play. From that point on, Flores never got regular at bats.
While Tejada has hit better (his on-base percentage has held steady at .350 or so), his slugging percentage is below .300, and is among the worst in the league. Flores has only hit .225/.253/.300. At Triple-A, he’s hit .323/.367/.568 with 13 home runs. Seems he’s learned all he needs to know in the minors. Wilmer’s defense at shortstop is below average — he’ll probably be best suited for a corner infield position as he gets older — but it’s better than that of the Mets’ current backup shortstop, Eric Campbell.
It’s great that Flores is getting another promotion. He deserves it. But he can’t just sit on the bench, he has to play every day to stay in a groove at the plate. If Tejada is not placed on the disabled list, chances are, Flores is going to sit. Mets Manager Terry Collins seems to love Tejada at short, as evidenced by his eagerness to play him every day once he showed the slightest sign of improvement.
If that’s the case, Flores is going to have a tough time adjusting to major league pitching. And if he doesn’t perform in the few chances he gets, he may find himself back in Las Vegas.