Lost in the haze of Steven Matz’s brilliant performance in his second outing Sunday was the huge game by Wilmer Flores. For better or worse, he is proving to be exactly who everyone thought he would be.
Flores went 4-5 with three RBIs. In fact, he had a tremendous series in sunny Los Angeles, going 10-13 with five RBIs. He has raised his batting average from a dismal .232 on July 1 to near-respectable .258 now. He has 10 home runs to go along with 38 RBIs. With the season half over, that extrapolates to 20 homers with nearly 80 RBIs. I think we’d all be happy with that.
But then there is the fielding. I’ve read that advanced fielding metrics actually show Wilmer Flores is about a league average shortstop, which tells you all you need to know about advanced fielding metrics. Anyone who watches Flores on a daily basis knows he is simply dreadful in the field. And all of his errors seem to be costly, leading to runs and/or loses.
So good hitting and lousy fielding. That is how Wilmer Flores was billed. And that is what he has delivered. So why are people so upset?
Flores has been looking better at second base since being shifted over there a week ago. But how long is that going to last? If/when David Wright comes back, Daniel Murphy will have to slide back to second. Then what happens? Ruben Tejada should not be a major league starter and Flores should not be a major league shortstop. In the end, the Mets are going to have to live with Flores’s defense because his bat is much-needed in this lineup, while Tejada does not offer much offensively.
So let’s cut Flores some slack on defense. Or better yet, just close your eyes when the ball is hit to him. That should save you some aggravation.