Wilmer Flores hit his first big-league home run for the Mets in the ninth inning on Sunday.
Flores has an RBI in five straight games. He has six hits, including a double and home run, in six games since being promoted, while filling in at third base for the injured David Wright.
This is the perfect scenario for everyone involved. Wilmer’s best suited for third base, given his body type and limited range. He struggled at shortstop in the minor leagues. He had been playing mostly second base for Triple-A Las Vegas, while getting the occasional spot start at first and third base.
Terry Collins told reporters Sunday that, while he will likely give Flores an occasional start at second base, over the long term, he will take the field at a corner position.
His primary position is “hitter,” as MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo once told me. So, now he gets to flex his best talent in the big leagues, but do it while playing the one position he might be most comfortable at, at position in high demand around baseball, and where he will never take over permanently for Wright. It’s a nice short-term showcase…[/sny-editorial]
The thing is, he needs to hit better than projected. I talked to a three player development people this past week, asking about Flores, and they all said they project him to hit around .260 in the big leagues — with around 15-20 home run potential — with no real position.
I’m not suggesting Sandy Alderson wants to trade Flores, or that he doesn’t want him on the team. This is just the best way to tempt other teams who might want to acquire Wilmer in the winter. I believe Alderson will include Flores in a deal (with top pitching prospects) to get a young, under-contract, established hitter in the off season.
This next month or so will go a long way in defining Wilmer’s value, whether in the eyes of Alderson or another GM.