The New York Mets made some headlines earlier this month when they promoted one of their top hitting prospects, third baseman Wilmer Flores, to the major leagues. Flores had torn up the Triple-A level all season with the Las Vegas 51's, batting .321 with 15 home runs and 86 RBI's in 424 at bats. The injury to third baseman David Wright opened up playing time at Flores' natural position, third, and the Mets promoted Flores to try and create a spark. Flores' results both at the plate and in the field have been mixed to say the least.
Flores is hitting .235 with one home run and 11 RBI's in his first 68 major league at bats. Flores came out of the gates scorching hot, collecting nine RBI's in his first five games. Flores became only the second rookie this season to collect multiple RBI games in two of his first five major league games after Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig did so back in June. Flores has cooled off considerably at the plate, however, seeing his average drop from .300 on August 23rd to .235 a week later. Flores also has not driven in a run in nearly two weeks and is in the midst of a 1 for 18 skid at the plate.
Flores had been hobbled by a sprained ankle suffered on August 12th in Los Angeles, and that hurt his progress. Flores has also been a bit shaky on the defensive end as well. Flores has only made one error so far, but he has not looked completely comfortable in the field. After spending his time at third base with the Mets, the team decided to give Flores a start at second base on Wednesday. Flores, who had been playing the position for Las Vegas, looked sluggish and uncomfortable fielding in his opportunity. Flores let two balls get by him in the game and seemed to have a lack of range, which fits the book on him from the minor leagues. In spite of his struggles, manager Terry Collins indicated that Flores will get some more playing time at second base.
Collins also went on to say that the move was not an audition to see if Flores could take the job from regular second baseman Daniel Murphy. That statement is essentially a half truth. While Daniel Murphy will be the Mets' second baseman for the remainder of the season, he is not a lock to be there in 2014. The Mets will continue to give Flores opportunities at second base to see if they feel comfortable enough with him there going forward. Murphy is a solid player for the Mets, but he will never be a difference maker offensively. Flores could be, which is why the Mets will give him every chance to show that he can be their second baseman of the future.
The impending return of David Wright looms large for Flores and his future with the Mets. Wright signed an eight year contract extension prior to the season, so he will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Since Flores' natural position is gone, he will need to overtake Murphy at second base for any shot at playing time with the Mets. If that isn't going to happen, Flores could find himself with a new home in the offseason. Either way, the month of September is big for the young infielder.
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