Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wilmer Flores Report 2


4/13-4/19

            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 a www.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. I am 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 yet, so if you have criticism, I would appreciate it to be constructive. Also, I would appreciate any recommendations on analyzing defense you found helpful. 
 Since offense is the more crucial part of his game, I’ll also be giving a quick recap of what he did at the plate. If you don’t want the play-by-play details, skip to the end for the recap of his work at SS, and keep an eye out for images along the way. The table at the end has out conversion rates per zone on groundballs that were possible for Flores to handle to date – plays that are hits 100% of the time and pop ups are excluded from the recap.



4/13

2nd inning – With a runner on first and one out, a hard one hopper was hit a few steps to Flores left, a little behind the bag, and he chose to underhand it to Anthony Seratelli to start the double play. 643/G6M

3rd inning – With one out and the bases empty, got in good position on a medium grounder a few steps to his right, but could not handle it cleanly, though he did manage to keep it close and in front of him. Recovered quick, and the strong throw appeared to beat the runner, but he was ruled safe and Wilmer charged with an error. They showed replays with better views all throughout the game, didn’t understand why they wouldn’t have here, especially as the broadcaster (Fresno’s guy) talked about the play for the rest of the inning. He was actually saying that people shouldn’t be so critical of the error. E6/G6

4th inning – Leading off the inning, a medium grounder a few steps to Wilmer’s right required a strong throw to get Tony Abreu by a step. Had to go down and to his backhand for the pickup, then set and fired. Appeared to be aware of just how much time he had to make the play. 63/G6

9th inning – With a runner on first and no outs, Wilmer charged a soft grounder to his right and made the quick throw to Danny Muno to start the double play. 643/G6

After a walk to prolong the inning, Flores ended the game by back pedaling into shallow center field for the can of corn. 6/P6MD

Offense: 1–5, Lined a one-out single into RF on a very level swing in the 1st S9/L9; hit a grounder up the middle with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out that led to a fielder’s choice in the 3rd 63/G6M; grounded out to the 1B with runners on 1st and 2nd and no one out in the 5th (and was barely beat to the bag) 3u/G34; popped out to the SS on a very high pitch to lead off the 7th 6/P6S; grounded out to the 3B with a runner on 3rd and one out in the 8th (this at-bat started with runners on 2nd and 3rd before a Dontrelle Willis wild pitch led to a run) 53/G5.


4/14 Spent the first 7 innings at second before being moved to short

2nd inning – High popup that pulled Flores just into the outfield grass led off the inning. 4/P34D

3rd inning – On a slow, high chopper up the middle, Flores ranged to his right to get the ball and made a quick turn and release to get it to first in time for the first out. 43/G4 

4th inning – With nobody out and Adam Duvall on first, Duvall took off on the first pitch and Flores went to cover the bag, but the ball was a medium groundball pulled right where he would have otherwise been. Unlikely he gets the lead runner anyway, but it seems an odd decision to have Flores cover the bag with Tyler Colvin up – his Fangraphs spray charts show clusters of pulled balls during his major league stints. My best guess is that the 51’s told Flores to cover the bag on any stolen base attempt, as Eric Campbell is a very inexperienced shortstop (to say the least!) who shouldn’t be getting another look anytime soon. That said, though late, it did appear Campbell was heading towards the bag too, so I don’t know what was going on. S9/G89S

With the bases loaded and one out, a medium grounder to Flores right was scooped up and fired to second to start the double play. 463/G34


Offense: 1-4, Walked in the 1st - was later thrown out at second after taking too big a turn; struck out swinging on a random, old school delivery in the 3rd (broadcaster said he only goes from the set for delivery 2-3 times per game); hard grounder to short for an easy play in the 5th 63/G6; hit a 2-out, bases loaded, high-chopper behind the mound for an infield single – shortstop had no chance considering where he started S6/G6MS; a soft grounder up the middle with nobody on in the 8th was handled easily by the 2B to retire Flores for the last out 43/G4.


4/15

1st inning – A medium grounder hit to Flores left with one out was routine. 63/G6

3rd inning – With two out, a medium grounder over the bag was handled cleanly for a routine play to end a clean inning for Jacob deGrom. 63/G6M

4th inning – Charged a soft chopper and made a strong, quick throw to get the speedy Inciarte to leadoff the inning. 63/G6

Made a quick move to his right in the hole to get in front of a medium grounder and retire the side. 65/G56

5th inning – Had to move laterally to his right a few steps on a medium grounder, but got in front of it and made a quick throw to second to start the double play. 643/G56

Next batter hit a soft, looping one-hopper handled cleanly behind the bag, but Flores still needed a strong throw to get the average speed of Roger Kieschnick. 63/G6M

6th inning – Hardly had to move to get under a towering pop up with 2 outs and nobody on. 6/P6

8th inning – Leadoff hitter Nick Evans hit a medium grounder at Flores that popped out of Flores glove and landed a few feet in front of Flores, but he picked it up with his momentum bringing him towards 1B and had enough arm to get Evans by a step. 63/G6

Offense: 2-4, Hit a deep flyball to the warning track in RF to leadoff the 2nd 9/F9D; with runners on the corners and nobody out, Flores lined a fastball just shy of the warning track in RF for a sac fly – the RF had been playing very deep 9/F9D; clobbered a ball over a rather tall wall in left-center field to lead off the 5th; routine fly out to CF to end the 6th 8/F8; flared one into shallow RF for a double in the 8th D4/F9LS. HR footage here:




4/16

2nd inning – With runners on first and second, two outs, Wilmer charged a soft grounder at the edge of the infield grass, but couldn’t handle it cleanly in his attempt to rush the play against a very speedy Nick Ahmed. S6/G6S

5th inning – Leading off the inning, lefty Ender Inciarte hit a soft grounder just left of the 2B bag for a single.


Flores had too far to run on this play, but the bench is likely guiding Flores on ideal positioning with each batter. S8/G6M

6th inning – With a runner on first and nobody out, Ahmed hit a soft chopper behind the mound that Flores charged, made the quick transfer and strong throw for the out. 63/G6MS

8th inning – With runners on first and second, nobody out, Flores backed up on the in between hop of a medium grounder to position himself better for a quick throw to second to start a double play. 643/G6

Offense: 1-4, Took 3 close inside pitches for balls, but struck out swinging late on a good fastball in the 1st; HBP and scored from first on an Allen Dykstra ball hit off the left-center field wall in the 3rd; flared a single to RF in the 5th and scored from first on a Dykstra double to right-center field S9/F9; popped out to the shortstop in the 7th 6/P6; struck out swinging on an inside fastball in the 9th.

Bonus: Puello throwing the runner out at home


4/17

1st inning – Soft grounder up the middle charged by Flores just outside the infield grass and he got the runner by a step. 63/G6M

3rd inning – Hard one hopper up the middle that required positioning closer to the bag to make the play possible. S8/G6M

4th inning – Hard one hopper up the middle was deflected off the glove of a diving Flores, he would have had time to get Mike Jacobs if fielded cleanly. S64/G4M

5th inning – With one out and nobody on base, Inciarte hit a medium grounder about where Flores was positioned against Inciarte above. 63/G6

9th inning – With one out and nobody on base, Flores charged a routine medium grounder one handed and threw onto 1B for the easy play. 63/G6

Offense: 2-5, Medium grounder up the middle to end the 1st 43/G4M; both runners scored on a no-out double off the top of a tall CF wall (signaled a HR initially 

 

and Flores had something to say to the home plate ump when he scored on the Dykstra HR that followed) in the 4th; medium grounder in the hole was cut off by the 3B, who got Flores by a half-step at 1B in the 5th 53/G56; tripled on a towering fly ball off the top of the tall left-center field wall in the 7th; foul-tip strike out on a fastball in the 9th.

4/18


1st inning – Handled a one-out pop up in very shallow left. 6/P56D

8th inning – With one out and nobody on, Wilmer took a few strides to his right to get in front of a soft grounder and fire to 1B for the easy play. 63/G6M

9th inning – Charged a soft grounder just beyond the grass up the middle and made a strong throw to get the leadoff hitter. 63/G6M

11th inning – Leading off the inning, a slow grounder got under Zach Lutz glove and then Flores pulled Dykstra off the bag with his throw for an infield single. S6/G56

Offense: 1-4, Soft grounder to the 3B in the 1st 53/G5S; singled on a line drive to RF in the 4th S9/L9S; walked in the 5th; medium grounder right at the third basemen for a force out at 2B in the 6th; intentionally walked (the pitchers spot was on deck, which became Puello) in 8th; hit a medium grounder right at the shortstop in the 11th.

4/19


2nd inning – With a runner on first base and one out, a medium grounder near the bag was handled by Flores and scooped quickly to Muno, but they couldn’t complete the double play with Rico Noel running. 64/G6M

8th inning – Medium grounder that Flores took a step back on to get in position for a quicker throw to get Maybin at 1B. 63/G6

Offense: 2-5, Flared a single into CF in the 1st S8/F8S; soft groundout to SS in the 3rd 63/G6; struck out swinging on a high, inside fastball in the 4th after looking silly swinging at an 0-1 breaking ball one-handed; infield single on a sharp grounder to the 3B in the 7th – really, it was botched a little at both ends, but a hard one hopper, and not a guaranteed play S5/G5; struck out looking in the 8th.

 Recap

SS Defense 

Table 1 – Table of out conversion rate per zone on groundballs possibly fielded.
Zone
6S
6MS
6M
6
56
56D
4M
Total
Chances
4
3
16
20
7
1
1
52
Outs
2
2
15
19
2
0
0
40
Conversion %
50
66.7
93.8
95
28.6
0
0
76.9

Games: 13.2               Errors: 3            Double Plays Started: 8            Infield Singles Allowed: 7
Singles to the Outfield Allowed: 2

Total conversion % up from 72% after week 1. His throws were usually good in week 1 (sometimes low, sometimes not as fast), but they were more consistently strong throws that were easy catches for the 1B in week 2. His arm strength appears at least comparable to Tejada, though it is not as good as a Gregorius (who played in Reno and I saw a cannon).          

Offense (Week Totals): 10-31, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 K, 3 BB, HBP, SF, 10 GO, 5 FO 

4/13-14 – Showed a willingness to take pitches out of the zone and a level swing but appeared to be consistently early, leading to mostly weak contact, including on his 4/14 hit.

4/15-18 – Squared up the ball much better and made great contact on a number of considerable drives to the OF. Reno announcer thought he looked much better than the numbers indicated coming into the series.

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