AAA: @ Reno Aces (AZ) 5, Las Vegas 51s 1
2B Wilmer Flores (pictured) was 2-for-4 with a double, his 10th. The 21-year old has hit .277/.377/.406 with nine walks and nine strikeouts in 26 games in AAA.
Collin McHugh: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. Eh. He has a 3.57 ERA and a 26/7 K/BB ratio (3.7) in his first six starts.
AA: Erie Seawolves (DET) 9, @ Binghamton Mets 1
The B-Mets had more errors (3) than hits (2) in this one.
Oh, and there were two bad B-Mets pitching lines:
Logan Verrett: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
Josh Edgin: 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
This was the worst start of the year for Verrett, but after striking out one batter in two of his last three starts, his strikeout rate is down to 14% this year.
RF Cesar Puello was 1-for-4 with the B-Mets’ RBI. In 17 games, he’s hit .293/.359/.414. There’s gotta be more power in his game if he’s going to fit on a corner.
One thing hurting the B-Mets’ offense right now, the two OBPs at the top of the order where CF Alonzo Harris (.288) and LF Darrell Ceciliani (.284) usually hit #1 and #2.
- Travis d’Arnaud will not require surgery. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Mets still expect him out for eight weeks. It could be a little shorter, it could be a little longer. It depends on 1. how quickly the bone heals, 2. how much discomfort he has in his rehab and return to catching.
- Baseball America put Wilmer Flores in their honorable mention section “In the Team Photo” of their weekly Hot Sheet this week. They still refer to him as a third baseman, despite the fact that he has played second almost exclusively. BA writes, “The 21-year-old went 12-for-30 (.400) with a homer and four doubles this week, but more remarkably he has just three strikeouts in 15 games this season.”
- At Amazin’ Avenue, Jeffrey Paternostro spends a lot of words comparing Logan Verrett and Tyler Pill in a Prospect Smackdown, only to conclude that Erik Goeddel, with the better fastball is the better prospect. Well played.
AAA: Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) 19, @ Las Vegas 51s 5
The wind was blowing out at Cashman Field and the two teams combined on 24 runs, 28 hits, four homers and 15 walks in an action-packed 3:24. The 51s also committed six errors. PCL Baseball!
Chris Schwinden started and wore a whole bunch of that damage – yielding eight runs, four earned including two homers in 3.2 innings. Adam Kolarek, recently promoted from AA Binghamton had a rough one as well: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. The 51s ended the game with position player Eric Campbell on the hill – he too gave up four runs in an inning.
The good news for Vegas came mostly at the plate. C Travis d’Anaud (pictured) had five plate appearances: all ended with one of the three true outcomes: with one homer, one strikeout and three walks. The homerun was his first of 2013, the walks were his 10th, 11th and 12th to push his line to .300/.488/.567 in 10 games for the 24-year old.
Wilmer Flores was 3-for-5 with a strikeout while playing thirdbase for the first time after nine games at second base. The 21-year old is hitting .289/.346/.378 in his 12 contests five walks and just three whiffs. He did commit an error, his third of the year.
CF Juan Lagares was 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI at the top of the order to extend his hitting streak to eight games. In 11 games, he’s hitting a batting average-heavy .346/.370/.519 with four extra-base hits.
Flores playing third for a night opened up second for Reese Havens (.276/.333/.310 – 10 games), who was 0-for-5.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s 10, Sacramento River Cats 5
2B Wilmer Flores, in his first game in AAA as a 21-year old, was 3-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI and a sacrifice fly to the wall. One of his singles was a fastball away that he stroked crisply through the right side in a really mature piece of hitting.
C Travis d’Arnaud, in his first official game as a Met, was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, and two walks.
Zack Wheeler was throwing hard, because that’s what he does, but his command, on a cool California night after a rainy day, was lacking: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. He threw 51 of his 86 pitches (59%) for strikes. He was sitting 95ish, which is nice. I only caught a little of Wheeler’s outing (after all, it wasn’t very long) and I saw him snap off a few good sliders, and then miss with others. Look, it’s not just money and service time keeping him from the Mets’ big league roster. He still has to improve his command.
It’s fun to stay up late for games and all, but making it to the end of every 51s game at 1 am on school nights is going to be neigh impossible.
#3 – Noah Syndergaard
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 200 lbs
Acquired: Trade with Toronto with John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas
Born: 8/29/92 (Mansfield, TX)
2012 Rank: N/A | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He’s huge, and he throws hard, and could pitch at the top of the rotation. Listed at 6’5” he’s bigger than that, at least 6’6” if not a little bigger.
He throws 92-98, and claims he has been clocked as high as 100. Also, it sinks. As Mets VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul dePodesta said, “He had great plane on his fastball.” The Mets believe that Syndergaard’s fastball command is ahead of fellow 20-year old Michael Fulmer’s although Fulmer might have sharper movement on his slider. One of the fun stories early in spring training was the developing friendship between the two hard throwing 20-year olds.
Syndergaard’s second-best offering is a changeup.
Syndergaard began 2012 with a soft curveball at 69 mph. Over the course of the season, the Blue Jays taught him a slider, which helped speed up his arm and he claims improved his curveball to the point where its velocity hopped up into the upper 70s. He must continue to improve the offering, although the Mets think his height will add to both his breaking ball’s deception.
All young pitchers need to be concerned about repeating their mechanics, which becomes a tougher task for taller pitchers if only because they have longer limbs to move. Syndergaard, when he gets out of whack is prone to falling to the first base side, making his arm drag. His key is to break his hands as early as possible to keep pace with his body.
2012: Syndergaard did not pitch enough innings to qualify for the Midwest League ERA title, but if he had, he would have been fourth among all pitchers who threw more than 100 innings. He led all pitchers who threw 100 innings or more with a ridiculous 29.1% strikout rate and a 2.60 ERA.
Dr. Pangloss Says: An elite starter
Debbie Downer Says: There’s a chance that his breaking balls never develop to average and he gets relegated to the bullpen.
Projected 2013 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie
MLB Arrival: 2015
#4 – Wilmer Flores
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215
Acquired: NDFA (8/6/07)
Born: 8/6/91 (Valencia, VZ)
2012 Rank: 17 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: Hand-eye coordination. Flores is just about the best pure hitter in the system. Balanced at the plate, he can make contact with any fastball thrown his way. He added power in 2012, bopping a career-high 18 home runs split between advanced-A and AA in the season in which he turned 21. He will start the 2013 as a 21-year old in AAA. He should be able to maintain a high average, because he strikes out so very rarely.
It’s a good thing that Flores can hit for average and has growing power because how much value he can contribute when he is not batting, is an open question. He is slow. The Mets moved him off shortstop to third base in 2012. He also played second in Binghamton and over the winter in Venezuela. Early on, scouts were dismissive of his work at third. The general consensus from those I talked to who saw him play is that he could aspire to be below average at the position. Flores has the hands and arm for the position. It’s just a question of whether he has the first step quickness to charge and go laterally. I do not think he has the footspeed to play an average second base either. The outfield would be a comically bad mismatch for his skills.
The question is whether a team will want to give away runs defensively to squeeze his bat into the lineup at second or third, or whether it would want to move him to first, where the offensive requirements grow dramatically. Flores is a Major League bat still searching for his position.
2012: How’s this for consistency? Flores struck out in 11.0% of his plate appearances in advanced-A and 10.9% in AA. Flores doubled his homerun output over 2011.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Jeff Kent
Debbie Downer Says: A high-average first baseman, who hits 20-25 homers annually.
Projected 2013 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: 2013 (Says here the Mets will find a spot for Flores somewhere, sometime this year. Or someone will get hurt and his ability to line up an any infield position will be his ticket to the MLB roster.)
#5 – OF Brandon Nimmo
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195 lbs
Acquired: 1st rd #13 overall (East HS)
Born: 3/27/93 (Cheyenne, WY)
2012 Rank: #5 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: First round pedigree, good athleticism, secondary skills, and defensive ability could make him a valuable MLB outfielder in a few years.
Nimmo is a lean 6’3”, but keeps getting stronger. He’s up to 195 lbs after putting on 10 lbs over the winter. He’s also grown an inch since getting drafted in 2011.
In 2012, he was a plus runner, maybe 55 on the 20-80 scale. He takes long strides and covers ground well in the outfield. The Mets were pleased by his progress defensively, and he will be well-tested by Historic Grayson Stadium’s massive gaps. If he is going to stay in center field, he can ill afford to lose any speed as he gets bigger and older.
Nimmo’s strength has made a nice difference in his swing where he is showing much better carry in batting practice and plus raw power. He could well grow into 20+ home run power. His trigger has changed up a bit over the last few years, and will continue to evolve as he sometimes has a little extra hand motion.
The Mets love his work ethic and coachability.
2012: At the plate, by his own admission, Nimmo was just trying to hold on early in the New York Penn League season in 2012. As he put it, by the middle of the season, “the game started to slow down.” Nimmo showed a surprising degree of valuable secondary skills. He finished third in the NYP in walks and sixth in isolated power (.158). He was one of two teenagers in the top 14 in walk rate, and was the only teenager in the top 20 in the League in isolated power. However, I want to see a little more pure hit tool. He fanned in 24% of his plate appearances. He will need to learn when to be aggressive, and when to hang around in counts.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Only nine CF in baseball hit 20 homers in 2012. If Nimmo can play average defense in center, and pop 18+ a year, he’ll be a valuable bird.
Debbie Downer Says: And if he loses a step in center, he’ll be forced to a corner. If his strikeout rate does not come down, it will eat his average and his offensive value. There’s still a chance he ends up in tweenerville and becomes a pigeon – not a big league regular.
Projected 2013 Start: CF for the Savannah Sand Gnats where Historic Grayson Stadium will not be kind to his power numbers.
MLB Arrival: 2016
Due to today’s game being the Mets last home game until next Thursday most of the regulars saw extensive action. While it was nice to see Duda and Davis handle the LHP I’ll concentrate on Matt den Dekker and Wilmer Flores.
den Dekker worked a very patient full count ground out in his first AB against a righty, laying off low breaking pitches. His AB’s against the lefties were not so encouraging getting his knees buckled on a steady diet of breakers. He will certainly need to be more competitive against same side pitching for him to see success at AAA, much less on the big league level. There was of course this sweet catch which have become spring training regulars from den Dekker.
Wilmer Flores lined up at 3B in today’s game which was unfortunate because just about every play went to Justin Turner at 2B. I think even Justin Turner grounded out to Justin Turner at one point… In the 7th Flores finally saw his first defensive play. He may have drifted off, or he might be really slow. On a slow roller he charged and had no play on Brandon Barnes. After a routine play followed, Flores had another slow roller in the 8th, with men on 1st and 2nd. On a play that David Wright would have charged to field in front of the runner and sent to second to possibly start a double play, Flores had to play it behind the runner and barely threw out the Astro’s catcher Carlos Perez. After liking what I saw from Flores at 2B earlier in the spring, I came away from today’s game wondering if Flores might actually be too slow to even play 3B regularly.
Zach Lutz had a bad series at 1B and he only played 4 innings. Botching a grounder, failing to catch a foul pop near the railing, and then short arming a throw to Parnell that they called an error on Parnell, but the throw was well low.
Gorski and McHugh had uneventful innings of work. Only really of note because these suspected AAA starters made short relief outings. Rob Carson walked Fernando Martinez and gave up a homer to Carlos Pena, but then recovered to retire two more lefties. As someone in the loogy competition this was a rough outing.
All in all my first trip to a spring training game was enjoyable, if a little light on the prospects to view. - NateW
Can Wilmer Flores play second? It’s the question I focused on as I watched a very spring training-ish 6-4 Mets loss on Monday night. Matt den Dekker made a ridiculously good catch to rob Anthony Rendon of a homerun that ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. Still, we knew he could go get it. How about Flores?
The former shortstop moved to third last year, and then started mixing in time at second base for AA Binghamton. He’s played at the keystone the last few winters too.
Monday, he looked just fine. He initiated a double-play in the first inning. In the second inning, he made a nice turn on a 5-4-3 double play, reaching back towards first to corral a slightly off-target David Wright throw. In the third inning, he handled a chance ranging maybe five or six steps to his left, before going into a half-slide to make the pickup. A batter later, he tracked down a chopper up the middle, but by the time he reached it, he had no chance to get the speedy Eury Perez.
All in all, it was a nice night for Flores. After the game, Terry Collins seemed pleased, “He’s adapted to secondbase,” the skipper said. “Being a middle infielder by trade, secondbase should be a fairly easy spot for him to play. He’s done a very, very good job over there. I just want to get him some playing time and take a look at him under some different [conditions]. I’ve been very impressed by Wilmer. He came here a month ago, to get ready for spring training, and I’m very impressed by that.”
Earlier in the day, when discussing Flores and his range at second, Collins pointed out that Dan Uggla has made a living playing the position. In the 2010-2012 period, Uggla is second among MLB second baseman with 88 homeruns, trailing only Robinson Cano (90) and is sixth in wOBA and wRC+. However, he gives back some of that value when he’s not at the plate. By UZR, he’s ranked 32nd of the 35 qualified second baseman at -17.8 runs below average, or nearly two wins for the last three years. Despite a career-best +2 in 2012, he’s averaged -4.6 runs below average in his first seven seasons. Total Zone Rating, also saw improvement from Uggla in 2012, giving him a career-best +9, but takes a similarly dim view of Uggla’s overall career-long defensive value, measuring him as averaging -8 runs/year through his first six years.
Again, playing second at the Uggla-level is an extremely low standard and Collins knows that. (The Robert Andino level is Major League average by UZR in the last three years.) Uggla’s defense is palatable because he puts the ball over the wall. The comparison suggests that Collins knows playing Flores at second will to some degree, involve trading defense for offense.
PS: Big thanks to Amazin Avenue’s Chris McShane for passing along the audio from Terry Collins. I made the Spring Training mistake of staying in the seating bowl until the last pitch of the ninth inning and missed TC’s brief media session.
Lets talk about 2B/3B/OF Wilmer Flores just a little bit. The 21-year old can hit, but he is still looking for a position.
Sunday, he entered behind Ruben Tejada in the Mets’ exhibition against the University of Michigan. He homered on a 3-1 pitch in his second at-bat. In his third at-bat, he sent one to the warning track in left. He said it was a slider that he got down towards the end of the bat and did not hit well. Even so, the ball carried out to the track.
Flores is carrying three gloves in his locker these days, a second baseman’s, a third baseman’s and an outfielder’s. He got to use both of his infielder’s gloves Sunday. I did not see him make any plays at third. At second, he handled a routine grounder and a less routine grounder. In the ninth inning, the Michigan catcher, Cole Martin chopped a ball on the right side. Cole Frenzel, playing first made an attempt on the ball, but could not reach it. Flores, moving well to his left made the play deep in the hole, and made the short throw to first base where pitcher Carlos Torres was covering. He’s played a significant amount of second base in winter ball and describes himself as getting comfortable there.
The positive: Flores moved to cover ground to his left. The caveat: he threw out a college catcher at first base. I did not have a stop watch on the play, but I suspect that most big leaguers beat the play down the line.
A scout watching a row in front of me exclaimed, “Hey, Wilmer.”
I’m still skeptical that he can have anything better than below average range at second. Even so, this was not a data point in the “he can’t play there” category. There’s also a big difference than say, five runs below average over the course of a season, and 15 below. At -5, his bat could make him a valuable player.
Flores was not the least mobile Mets’ 2B on Sunday. That honor belonged to Reese Havens. Havens, who also committed an error early in the game, had to go into a half-slide on a ball to his left in the sixth inning. There was nothing wrong with the play. Except, as I watched it, I wondered why he was sliding. I think that’s the kind of play that a Major League caliber second baseman needs to make on his feet.
With David Wright entranced and enriched at third, if Flores is going to contribute to the Mets at the big league level in the near future it’s going to be at second. I think Flores’ arm and foot speed fit better at third. However, with Murphy day-to-day, it makes sense to give Flores reps at second in the spring. And well, surprise, he’s listed as the starter at second tonight against the Nationals.
Some quick winter league updates.
In Venezuela, 3B Wilmer Flores is hitting .293/.363/.471 with 10 doubles and six homers, to go along with 13 walks and 19 strikeouts in 37 games.
(Note: unless I screwed up the math, I think there’s a glitch in MLB programming somewhere and Flores’ actual slugging percentage is .493. Slugging remember is Total Bases/AB. Flores has 41 hits and is listed as having 66 total bases and 140 AB. It should actually be 69: 25 singles + 2*(10 doubles) + 4*(6 HR)= 25+20+24=69. And 69/140=.493)
In most respects, those are numbers similar to what Flores produced this year, his extra-base hit rate in AA was 10.2%, in the VZL it’s 10.1%. In 2012 overall, he fanned at an 11% rate in advanced-A and AA, in the VWL in 11%. His walk rate continues to tick upward, however, it was 6.6% in the FSL in 2012, 7.3% in the EL and 8.2% in the VWL. We’re not dealing with full seasons here, but that’s a nice looking progression. Moreover, it’s been going on for two years now, since his walk rate bottomed out at 3.1% in 2010 in the FSL. Finally, more of Flores’ extra-base hits are going over the wall; his 3.8% HR rate would be his best in any stateside league.
Earlier this week, Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs applied a tool he calls SCOUT where he regresses batters’ strikeout, walk, and HR rate towards league average in cases where they are too small to be stable, and found that Flores was in the top six hitters under 25 in the VWL, and the youngest in the top 10.
In the Dominican, Jordany Valdespin is hitting .309/.420/.456 in 68 AB. No, he’s not hitting for much power (1 2B and 3 HR), but the remarkable thing is that he’s controlling the strike zone: 12 walks and 10 strikeouts in 23 games. Valdespin walked in under 5% of his MLB plate appearances in 2012, and now in the VWL is earning a free pass in 14.8% of his trips to the dish. Could that possibly be real?
- Juan Lagares does not have a single extra-base hit in 17 games for Aguilas: .258/.343/.258.
- Francisco Pena is hitting .248/.300/.404 in 109 AB over 37 games for for Aguilas.
- After his AFL time, Cesar Puello has popped up with Toros del Este and his hitting .217/.357/.391 with two HBP in his first 10 games.
In the wake of David Wright’s team-record $138 million contract, fans wanted to know what impact it would have on prospect Wilmer Flores.
If that’s your first reaction to the signing, congratulations, you have missed the forest through the trees. If that’s your fourth consideration after hearing the news, well cool.
Flores, as you might recall played shortstop through the 2011 season. Faced with the fact that his slow feet prevented him from having the range necessary for the position, the Mets moved him to third base in 2012. Once he arrived at AA, and Jefry Marte also needed playing time at third, Flores split his time between first base (7 games), second base (24 games), and third base (26 games).
Obviously, the plan is for David Wright to play third base for the Mets until 2020. The only way Flores plays the position for the team is if something has wrong: most likely Wright gets hurt.
Flores just does not have the feet to have the range necessary to play second in the big leagues. Fans have called for giving him a taste of leftfield. He will also have below average range out there too.
As a 21-year old, he hit .311/.361/.494 in AA with 28 extra-base hits in 66 games and a 30/20 K/BB ratio. the man has outstanding hands at the plate. Between advanced-A and AA, he popped a career-high 18 homeruns.
Nope, the plan has to be to keep him at third base in 2013 in Las Vegas. Playing at third regularly, he might develop enough anticipation at the position to prove to some other team that the bat will support the glove at third. Failing that, it gives Flores another chance to keep hitting and perhaps even show that he can hit enough to play first base everyday. If he does that, than the Mets could move either Flores or Ike Davis to address another area of need.
The point again? There’s no reason for panic. There’s no reason for the Mets to trade Flores this week. Instead, they can let him play. I believe in the bat.