Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wilmer Flores Defense Report 1


4/6-4/12

            With Wilmer Flores currently the Mets best internal replacement for the offensive black hole that Ruben Tejada has become, I am very interested in how he is doing defensively (and offensively, though I worry less about his offense for now) at SS in Las Vegas for the 51’s. With all the excitement around the Mets farm system, especially the pitchers at AAA, and considering the 51’s games usually start after the Mets games end, I was interested in watching a lot of Mets minor league games this season, and so I thought I’d keep an eye on Wilmer Flores while I do – plus, as an amazinavenue.com commenter said, no one else is. I will try to include all plays that appear near Wilmer, both outs made, errors, infield hits, and balls that got by him, but I will not include singles that may technically be in one of his zones, but which Wilmer was positioned nowhere near. At least not for now, I am also not including double plays in which Flores had the role of turn man.
I will give a quick description of the play, describing the speed of the grounder (soft, medium, hard) and location at minimum, and being more descriptive when important, and then give an appropriate location code (as described by the chart at www.retrosheet.org/location.htm). I will give my most objective judgment on whether an average SS makes the play on any of Wilmer’s miscues, but I am not claiming to be even an amateur scout, so if you have criticism, I would appreciate it to be constructive.

4/6

 

2nd inning – Inning started with a high pop-up hit to shallow LF. Flores got a good jump on it and Nieuwenhuis yielded to him – looked like Flores could cover some good ground on those tough pop ups. 6/P56D

 

5th inning – With a runner on first, no out and a speedy batter, he made a quick move to his right to get in front of a soft grounder and got the force out at second. 64/G6

 

6th inning – Inning started with a medium grounder hit to Flores and he showcased his strong arm. 63/G6

 

7th inning – With no one on, two out and a lefty batting, Flores showed good range on a medium grounder deep in the hole but the ball got just under glove for a single (Gameday said it was deflected). S7/G56


4/7

9th inning – Inning started with a medium, chest high chopper a few strides to his right, Flores made a low throw that Campbell handled with no problem. 63/G6M

4/8

3rd inning – With a runner on first and two out, the speedy batter Gentry (multiple 40 SB seasons in the minors) hit a soft grounder behind the mound, Wilmer had a long way to go but got there quick and made a strong throw that was just a step too late (apparently – I thought he was out live, though not as sure looking at a poorly angled replay later). The best SS’s might’ve done the ‘barehanded, already in throwing motion’ move and got the out, but not many guys can do that, and that’s the only way he’s out. S6/G6MS

4th inning – With a runner on first and two outs, a medium grounder was hit right at Flores, didn’t show off his arm. 63/G6

6th inning – With runners on second and third, two outs, a medium grounder was hit by Gentry, but Flores didn’t have far to run this time and showed off his arm with a strong, accurate throw. 63/G6

7th inning – With runners on first and second, two outs, a medium grounder was handled cleanly by Flores to end the inning. 63/G6M

8th inning – Leading off the inning, another medium grounder was hit right at Flores. 63/G6M

9th inning – Leading off the inning, Flores barely had to move on a medium grounder, again. 63/G6

4/9

1st inning – With the infield in due to a runner on third and one out, an easy, medium chopper was hit right at Wilmer and the runner stayed at third. 63/G6S

2nd inning – With a runner on first and no outs, an awkward hop on a medium one hopper was deflected off Wilmer into CF. While it was an unfortunate big hop, he also didn’t get completely in front of the ball even though he had time to – he was trying to set up for the quick scoop to second to make sure the 51’s got the DP – and so he wasn’t in a good position to at least knock the ball down and maybe get 1 out. While not guaranteed anything with that awkward hop, I think most SS’s will keep this ball in the infield and probably get at least one out. E6/G6M
– With the bases loaded 2 batters later, quickly charged a soft grounder a few steps to his right, made a strong throw to second and they turned the DP, but a run did score. 643/G6

3rd inning – With two outs and nobody on base, a high, soft chopper was hit behind the mound, nearly identical to the 3rd inning play on 4/8, except that Flores got the runner, and made it look easy. Got into position to throw the ball with less overall arm movement than the previous game. This might be his best play in Vegas so far – he had a quick reaction to charge, showed some range and got the out with a throw on the run. 63/G6MS

5th inning – With runners on first and second, one out, Flores didn’t have much to move on a hard grounder near the bag, made a quick catch and scoop to Muno for one and on to 1B (throw was wide but with plenty of time) for two. 643/G6M

4/10

2nd inning – With two outs and the bases empty, Flores had to move a little to his right on a medium grounder. 63/G6

3rd inning – With a runner on first and nobody out, basically the same ground ball as last inning except Flores got to it a little quicker and made the quick throw to Muno to start a DP. 643/G6

4th inning – Leading off the inning, Flores committed his second Vegas error of the season. Little tough to see what happened here, he was charging a grounder at the edge of the infield grass, reached down and didn’t come up with it. Mark this down as should have made. E6/G6S
– Jacob deGrom subsequently got in a bases loaded, 2 out jam, but ended the inning with a medium grounder at Flores that was handled fine. 64/G6

5th inning – With runners on first and third, one out, a medium grounder was hit a few side-steps away from second, Wilmer picked it up, side-stepped his way to the bag and threw a little down the 1B line, but with plenty of time for Dykstra to catch it and apply a tag. 663/G6M

6th inning – With runners on second and third, one out and the infield in, a two hopper to Wilmer led to a run down and out at the plate. 6253/G6S

 

4/11


1st inning – With runners on 1st and 2nd, two out, a hard grounder was hit in the hole, Flores moved about 2 steps to his right, dove, had the ball, came up quick and ready to throw but couldn’t make the clean transfer from glove to hand, so everybody was safe. Different camera angles in Fresno (and terrible lighting!), so I couldn’t tell if he had a shot at any runners anyway, let alone the speedy Colvin at 1B. I’d say it is questionable whether most SS’s even come up with the ball on the dive, before considering having to get up and make a throw somewhere in time. S6/G56

– Next batter hit a medium grounder handled by Flores near second and was out at first to end the inning. 63/G6M

2nd inning – With a runner on second and nobody out, a soft blooper near 2nd base was handled on the run and Flores made a strong, clean throw to 1B, but runner easily advanced to third. 63/G6M

4th inning – Leading off the inning, Flores had to make a quick throw on a high, medium chopper near 2nd base; the throw was a little low but easy enough for Dykstra to handle. 63/G6M

6th inning – With a runner on second and nobody out, a hard grounder in the hole ‘just snuck under the glove’ (per announcer) of Flores into LF for an RBI single. I’ll charge this one to him below, but it’s not clear this was a field-able ball. S7/G56

– Next batter, speedy Ciriaco, runner on 2B again, hit a high, soft chopper deep in the hole. Flores had a long way to run but made a strong throw that pulled Dykstra just a little off the bag (he’s not the best 1B), but the runner appeared safe, and likely was going to be once the ball got past a diving Lutz. S6/G56

4/12


1st inning – With two outs and a runner on first, Flores snagged a medium liner with a little hop at the edge of the outfield grass. 6/L6

3rd inning – With two outs and nobody on base, Flores made a quick lateral move to his left on a soft grounder near the bag and strong throw to gun down the speedy Gary Brown (has a 50+ SB season in the minors). 63/G6M

6th inning – With one out and nobody on base (and a no-hitter going), a hard grounder deep in the hole for Flores, dove and made the stop, came up quick, clean and firing a bullet from the outfield grass, but Javier Herrera had it beat out. Basically the same play as in the first inning on 4/11, except Flores made the transfer and good throw this time, yet it still was a single. S6/G56D

8th inning – With nobody on and one out, a medium chopper got past Muno and Flores – surprised the announcer (‘it somehow gets through’), but the color on the feed is too bright to tell whether they had a chance. It was on the 1B side of the bag, but it looked like both were close – maybe I should, but I am not charging this to Flores’ total below, as it wasn’t even in one of his zones. S8/G4M
The next batter grounded one softly for Flores to charge, he scooped it to Muno who made a quick turn and throw to complete the DP. 643/G6

Recap

Table 1 – Table of out conversion rate per zone.
Zone
6S
6MS
6M
6
56
56D
Total
Chances
3
2
9
10
4
1
29
Outs
2
1
8
10
0
0
21
Conversion %
66.7
50
87.5
100
0
0
72

Games: 7            Errors: 2            Double Plays Started: 4            Infield Singles Allowed: 4
Singles to the Outfield Allowed: 2

            The conversion percentage tells a harsher story than the individual chances in my opinion, as I question how many SS’s would have made ~6/8 plays Flores did not, with the exception being his two errors. I thought it was impressive that in two instances he looked improved on similar, tough plays he happened to see in back-to-back games. This is a very small sample size worth of plays so far, and it should be considered as such. Hopefully he gets more chances/game in the future so we have more to go on.
            One more thing to mention about his first week in Vegas – he barely hit. He went 5-29 with a 5:1 K:BB ratio and no extra base hits. It would help Flores get to Citi Field quicker if he could start driving the ball more like last season, and that would help the Mets offense.

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