No intro, let’s just get down to business. Player A has 29hr, and 83 RBIs in his last 615 plate appearances. During that time, he struck out a mere 14% of the time. His hard hit rate, which hovered around 27/28% the last 3 years, is now 36.6%. He is a shade under 26 years old, and plays all over the diamond. He also makes a ton of contact; his contact rate would place him in the top 20 if he qualified. And there’s the rub. IF. Even though Player A has all this going for him, he is criminally under utilized by his own manager and fantasy owners alike. I’m looking at you Terry Collins and I am of course referring to Wilmer Flores. A prospect crush of mine from the dawn of my love affair with the minor league ballplayer.
Oh, and there is no player B. This is all about Mr. Flowers.
Wilmer’s reputation can best be described as part-time utility player, and injury fill-in lefty masher. And mash lefties he does, to the tune of a 292/298/562 mark. As you can see, the batting eye and selectivity will never likely help his on-base, but a 550+ SLG makes you take notice. What intrigued me this year is his .275/323/456 vs same handed hurlers. Last year, he was 232/289/353 vs RHs and over his entire career he is SLG only 388 vs them, which includes this year. Wilmer is sporting the highest swing% he’s ever recorded, and by nearly 3% points. More evidence that he’s taken a step forward this year.
What will it take for Wilmer to get playing time? Wilmer can become eligible for free agency after 2019. Dominic Smith will man 1B for the foreseeable future. Amad Rosario got SS on lock. Once upon a time, Wilmer was the hot commodity, and he may now be realizing his potential. He needs to play over retreads like Walker and the seemingly washed up Reyes. Asdrubal Cabrerra may be the one standing between Wilmer and his much needed playing time.
By now, we’ve heard Wilmer’s story before. No needs to delve into his prospecthood. Or his struggles at short. Or his genuine emotion after public employer mishandlings (read: mistreatment). Or his benchings in favor of inferior talent. It is time to look ahead, not behind. Wilmer is quietly coming into his own. And he could have a huge August and September in store IF he can find a way to stay on the field.