Rising Apple: Mets need more from Wheeler when facing Nationals

Zack Wheeler must lead the Mets turnaround against Nationals, according to Michael Lecolant.

The Mets were 5-14 against the Nationals last year, during which Wheeler was 1-4 with a 5.96 ERA >> Read more at Rising Apple.

Wilmer Flores throws to first

Despite concerns from fans and media, Wilmer Flores knows what he can do at SS

Wilmer Flores has been working on his game all offseason, going immediately to Venezuela for Winter Ball and then to St. Lucie to attend an offseason workout program.

“You hear people talking all the time: Is this guy going to be a shortstop? Can he play shortstop? Can he not?” Flores told reporter Marc Carig (Newsday, Jan. 26). “You know what? I can’t listen to that. … I know what I can do, man. Honestly, I know what I can do.”

David Wright told Carig he believes in Flores, who joined the Mets having played just 32 games at shortstop since 2011.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be Omar Vizquel,” Wright said. “I would wager that he’s going to have a better year offensively than I would say the majority of shortstops in baseball.”

Flores hit .251 with a .286 OBP and six HR in 78 games last season, though he did finish strong, batting .276 during September.

FanGraphs.com’s Steamer projects Flores will hit roughly .250 with roughly 15 HR, 50 RBI, 20 doubles and 1.7 WAR.

Wilmer Flores homers“He can have some ugly at-bats at times, but he’s absolutely big-time in RBI situations,” Wally Backman said last September (MetsBlog, Sept. 2014). “He drove in a ton of big runs. He just has a way of getting the job done in those situations. Keith was like that. The bigger the situation the better.”

In late September, 65 percent of more than 6,500 Mets fans voted to say Flores had done enough to prove he can be an every-day shortstop (MetsBlog, Oct. 2014).

That said, an NL scout told reporter John Harper that, while Flores may had been playing better toward the end of the season, he had still not shown enough to indicate he could be a starting shortstop for a winning team (Daily News, Sept. 2014).

Vote in MetsBlog’s Right-Track, Wrong-Track Poll


In case you missed it this past weekend, pres. by Land Rover

Mets pitchers and catchers are required to report to Spring Training in 24 days…

In what has become an annual tradition during the BBWAA Awards dinner, Sandy Alderson made a joke about his team’s roster >> Read more.

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained why people should not be critical of his choice to name Mets owner Fred Wilpon head of the league’s finance committee >> Read more.

The Mariners plan to keep shortstops Brad Millerand Chris Taylor, the team’s GM Jack Zduriencik said >> Read more.

Michael Cuddyer entertained school kids with card tricks at Citi Field >> Watch here.

David Wright says the Mets currently have enough talent to contend for a playoff spot >> Read more.

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David Wright swings

ICYMI: David Wright has lofty goals, says last year was unacceptable

This post originally published January 20, 2015

David Wright injured his shoulder on June 12, 2014, he told reporters at the end of last season.

In the 68 games that followed, he received a cortisone shot, missed sporadic time, he was hit by a pitch in the same sore shoulder, missed more time and finished 2014 batting .268 with a .324 OBP, 8 HR, 30 doubles, 63 RBI and just a 1.9 WAR.

It was the second least-productive season of his 11-year career.

This past week on the MetsBlog Q&A Cast, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone had the following discussion with Wright about the injury and how it impacted his 2014 season…

Matthew Cerrone: Now that you’re healthy, in hindsight, how much do you feel the injured shoulder was a factor last season? And, when did you first start to notice it and think, ‘Wow, this is an issue?’

David Wright: It’s tough to tell. I like to think that when I’m physically able to play at a certain level, I want to do it. Is that always the smartest thing? Probably not, but that’s the way I try to wire myself. And, last year, you start pointing fingers at the shoulder and I don’t know if it, or much of it, attributed to the struggles through the majority of last year. But, either way, I know, for me, that is unacceptable to have that type of production.

I expect more out of myself. I’ve proven that’s not the norm, so I want to make sure I don’t go through that again. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t have a repeat of that. The goals that I set for myself are very lofty. And, I want to make sure, year in and year out, that I reach those goals. Last year, I did not. That, combined with the team’s failures, makes for a long offseason. But, you use it as motivation going in to next season, that’s for sure.

Matthew Cerrone: Is it better or worse for you to struggle, as you did, and have an injury to point to or not have an injury? I mean, if you look at a season and say, ‘This is unacceptable to me,’ is it easier to have an excuse, like a physical issue that can be healed and resolved? Or, is it worse to not have that? I don’t know…

David Wright: It doesn’t matter one way or the other. For me, if I hit the field, I expect to have a certain level of production. I took the field last year, for the majority of the year, and didn’t have that production. Shoulder injury or no shoulder injury, whatever, when I take the field with that uniform and I tell Terry Collins that I’m ready to play, then I expect to perform at a certain level and I didn’t do that.

I don’t look to make excuses. If I do well, I’ll be the first to privately pat myself on the back, and when I struggle I take it personally and I take it hard. It’s been a rough offseason thinking back to how I played last year, but it motivates me to work that much harder to make sure we don’t get a repeat of that.

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