Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Josh Chapdelaine2
Is Wilmer Flores being subject to unfair criticism because of Mets’ recent failures?
The New York Mets, their finances and fan base are far apart.
Days after a Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded in support of new Mets ownership, Wilmer Flores has once again become a hot topic – for all the wrong reasons.
Fans yesterday once again took to social media in light of 2015 ZiPS projections being released to blast the Mets and their failure to upgrade at shortstop this offseason.
2015 ZiPS projections have Flores hitting .260/.300/.428 over 528 plate appearances, producing a 104 OPS+ and 2.1 WAR- by all accounts an above-average offensive season and overall productive one.
So why the need to lambast a dead horse?
Though Flores’ defense has (potentially rightfully) been called into question, his projected season is comparable to that of San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford’s 2014. Though Crawford is a defensive-minded shortstop, his .713 OPS ranked just above league-average, and his 2.7 fWAR was a product of his defensive capabilities.
Ian Desmond, a pending free agent, is not likely worth the price of Noah Syndergaard plus another top prospect. The 28-year-old has undeniable talent, but his free agent demands likely push the Mets out of a longterm discussion. At some point, the Mets will need to move talent to bring in established talent — but perhaps now is not the time.
Rising Apple proposes an interesting scenario in which the Mets remain with Flores at shortstop, but improve their backup. The light-hitting Ruben Tejada remains the club’s backup plan, which may be the most concerning part of the Mets’ 2015 plan.
Despite front office controversy and fan sentiment, it would be hard to complain about Flores’ projected season coming to light. Still years away from hitting his prime, Flores is set to establish a solid foundation to build upon.
Photo credit: Michael G. Baron