One of the longest tenured New York Mets, Wilmer Flores, is next on the 40-man roster overview. Over his time with the Mets, Flores has grown into a fan favorite.
Flores Grew Up With the Mets
Flores signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela with the Mets in 2007 at the age of 16. He was called up on his 22nd birthday, after five seasons in the minor leagues. Flores was originally a shortstop but over time has transformed to a utility man who can play all four infield positions. Now he mostly sees time at third and first base.
In his first season in 2013, he only had 95 at-bats where he recorded 20 hits and one home run. In 2014, he split his first half of the season between Triple-A and the big leagues. At the end of July, he was able to stick with the team for the rest of the season. He finished the season with a .251 average, six home runs and 21 RBIs.
Tears of Joy
The 2015 season made Flores a true fan favorite. By now we all know the story of Flores crying on the field when he thought the Mets dealt him to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez at the trade deadline. Then a couple of days later he hits the walk off home run against the Washington Nationals that was the beginning of a magical last few months of the 2015 season. He became the starting shortstop in the postseason after Ruben Tejada’s leg was broken by Chase Utley. Flores finished the 2015 season with a .263 average with 16 homers and 59 RBIs.
Flores broke his ankle in the offseason after being hit with a pitch during winter ball. The Mets also signed Asdrubal Cabrera to be the everyday shortstop as well. Flores struggled to start the 2016 season and was put on thee DL in May with a hamstring injury. Flores returned by the end of the month but had his season end early after he broke his wrist in a home plate collision. He finished the year hitting .267 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. He dominated lefties by batting .340 against them with 11 home runs.
Flores Lives Up to the Expectations
2017 was Flores best season in the big leagues so far. He put up a .271 average, .488 slugging percentage and 18 home runs which were all career highs. Flores also hit for more power against right handed pitching, 11 of his 18 homers came of righties. This was also the first season of his career where he did not play a single innings at shortstop.
Flores started this season with limited playing time but as players started getting injured, he found his way into the lineup more. Through 36 games, he is only hitting .229 with three home runs and seven RBIs but has cut down his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate. In May, his bat has started to come around with a .281 average. With Todd Frazier on the DL and Adrian Gonzalez unable to play multiple games in a row, Flores should continue to see increased playing time. Flores plays a key role as a utility man and the Mets fans always love seeing him play.