In just two short weeks Wilmer Flores has gone from Mets fans worst nightmare to….a franchise shortstop?
The Mets have time and time again placed their faith in Flores as their shortstop moving forward, despite it being an unpopular opinion amongst fans. When the Mets have had opportunities to go out and get a shortstop, they’ve passed, giving a vote of confidence to Flores. Now, at the beginning of June, with the Mets tied for first place in the National League East, and with Flores putting his bat on display recently, Sandy Alderson and the Mets brain trust look like geniuses.
One player that people have compared Flores to is Johnny Peralta of the St. Louis Cardinals. After the 2013 season, Peralta was a free agent and the Mets were thought to be one of the teams interested in landing the big hitting shortstop. However, the Mets were wary of giving a three year deal to a player coming off a 50 game suspension for the biogenisis scandal. Eventually, Peralta landed in St. Louis with a 4 year, $53 million contract. He hit 29 home runs that season and finished with an .802 OPS.
Flores in all likelyhood is a poor man’s Peralta. He can do all the things that Peralta can do, except just without as high of a ceiling. Both Flores and Peralta struggle in the field, they both have 10 errors on the season. They both have some significant pop at the plate, they are tied for the league lead for most home runs by a shortstop with eight. However, the real difference between Flores and the top tier of shortstops comes with his inability to consistently get on base.
Peralta has a sizeable advantage when it comes to being an overall hitter, his OPS (.891) is almost .200 points higher than Flores’s (.701). This is where the Mets must look when they’re deciding on whether or not to make Flores the long term answer at at shortstop. Currently Flores ranks ninth amongst qualified shortstops. Flores is no slouch at the plate by any means, and .701 is a respectable OPS, but Flores must improve in rounding out his hitting as a whole is order to change the perception from a stopgap shortstop, to a franchise cornerstone.