With the starting infield for the Mets basically figured out, Wilmer Flores finds himself on the outside looking in as the 2018 season draws near. This is a role that Flores should be used to by now, as he has come off the bench most of his five years in the majors. When the Mets need someone to make starts or a substitution in the infield, Flores will be there for them, like he’s been there before. And you know what to expect from him year to year: he’ll provide decent power, below-average defense around the infield, and a poor on-base percentage.
Last season was no different as the 26-year-old produced a 106 wRC+ but still managed to end up with -.2 bWAR on the season, thanks in part to his -12 DRS combined during his time between first base, second base, and third base. During the 2017 season, Flores hit .271/.307/.488 with 18 home runs in 362 plate appearances. The on-base percentage might not be something to write home about, but the .488 slugging percentage is very impressive. Flores’s best work came against lefties, as he hit .291/.306/.553 with 7 home runs in 110 plate appearances against them. The season was sandwiched between disappointment as it started with a trip to the disabled list for a knee infection that required hospitalization and ended with a foul-tip that broke his nose.
It is also worth noting that this season will be Flores’s fifth as far as service time is concerned, meaning he is only under team control for the 2018 and 2019 seasons before potentially becoming a free agent. This year Flores will earn $3,400,000 in what is his second year of arbitration.
Coming into 2018, there’s no reason to believe that Flores will stray from his career norms on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Two projection systems, Steamer and PECOTA, envision very different seasons for him. Steamer projects Flores to hit .271/.316/.474 with 17 homers and 1.0 WAR in 367 plate appearances. PECOTA, on the other hand, projects that Flores will hit .262/.299/.439 with 7 homers and .2 WARP in only 175 plate appearances. Steamer sees Flores continuing on the same path that he has for most of his career, while PECOTA is paints a more dreary picture with him missing a lot of playing time and preforming well below his results these past two seasons.