Wilmer Flores was already expected to play first base against left-handed pitching, but Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Thursday night that Flores could also start against some right-handers.
"Wilmer deserves to play, and not just against lefties," Callaway said.
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Flores is a career .274/.318/.520 hitter against left-handers, and crushed them in 2017 -- hitting .291/.309/.553 against them.
And while he struggled against right-handers earlier in his career, he posted very respectable numbers against them in 2017, hitting .262/.306/.459 with 11 HR in 233 at-bats.
Translation? He's likely a better option than Adrian Gonzalez, whether it's a lefty or righty who's on the mound.
Gonzalez, who signed a minor league deal with the Mets during the offseason, is hitting .216 (11-for-51) with a .273 OBP and .567 OPS with just one home run this spring.
A scout recently told Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News that Gonzalez' bat speed looks fine but that it looks like his power is gone. Meanwhile, Gonzalez recently said that he wasn't worried about the poor results so far, explaining that he is simply getting ready for the season.
However, Gonzalez has been a solid performer in Spring Training over the course of his career -- hitting .293/.350/.817 OPS -- which closely mirrors his career regular season line of .288/.359/.847.
Spring Training stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but the lack of production from Gonzalez -- whose season was derailed last year due to a back injury and whose offensive production has been trending in the wrong direction for three seasons -- is alarming.
Perhaps Gonzalez simply isn't trying to succeed, instead opting to go through the motions with the starting first base job having basically been guaranteed to him earlier this offseason when he signed a minor league deal.
Or perhaps this is what Gonzalez is now. And if that is the case, letting Flores eat into Gonzalez' playing time against right-handers is the way to go. And when Michael Conforto returns, potentially creating an outfield glut, the idea of Jay Bruce at first base against right-handers might make sense.
I realize if you average out left- and right-handed splits from the last two seasons for Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores it can look like they'd produce a very productive first base platoon. However, Gonzalez isn't showing himself to be capable of doing more at the plate than he did when underwhelming last season there for the Dodgers.
If Gonzalez can return to hitting like he did in 2016, especially against righties, then he and Flores will find themselves combining to be one of the better first basemen in the National League. On the other hand, if Gonzalez continues to hit like he did last year, the Mets are going to be short on offense four or five times every week...
The thing is, this combination also produces well if Flores is instead teamed up with Bruce >> Read more