Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wilmer Flores Report 4




4/27-5/3
Previous reports here: 1, 2, 3
  
            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 at SS in Las Vegas for the 51’s. I will be tracking all plays he handles until the SS situation is resolved, 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. 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. 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 outs/line outs are excluded from the recap.
As Wilmer Flores was on the mend from Monday – Friday, and the 51s were rained out Saturday, I will be supplementing a few day with some opinions of this 'Wilmer Flores at shortstop' experiment that came out this week.

1st inningChris Taylor hit a hard one-hopper a step to the right of Flores, who backhanded it to make the play. 63/G6 
2nd inningJesus Montero led off the inning with a hard two-hopper through the SS hole for a single. Not sure it was field-able, but would’ve liked to see a better attempt from Flores, who doesn’t run as hard towards a spot when he doesn’t think he’s going to get the ball, so I’m adding this to the recap. S7/G56D

-                After the next batter struck out, Endy Chavez hit a soft grounder up the middle that was handled by Flores near the bag. Flores reached out with his foot to swipe 2B for the force, but stumbled slightly and threw wide to 1B. It was going to be a close play against the speed of Chavez anyway, as the ball was not hit hard. 6u/G6MS

-                After the next batter singled passed a diving Zach Lutz, Jesus Sucre hit a slow chopper right at Flores. Flores waited on the ball and looked set to make a routine throw, but his throw skipped and Allan Dykstra could not save him from an error (again). E6/G6

3rd inning – Julio Morban hit a soft liner towards Flores, who stepped in front of it and used both hands to ensure the catch. Unfortunately, sounds like the ball hit his bare hand on the play (grr, Vegas cameras!), and he was removed after his at-bat to lead off the bottom of the inning. 6/L6

Offense: 1-2, Flared an RBI single into LF in the 1st S7/F7S flied out to RF in the 3rd.

Is he referring to during the game or the season?


4/28 Did not start, hand

Offense: 0-1, PH with runners on 1st and 2nd, one out in the 7th and hit a soft grounder behind the mound 63/G6MS.
Article

4/29 Started at 1B

Handled a liner in the 3rd and had no issue receiving at 1B (Baseball reference lists him at 6’ 3”).

Offense: 2-5 (2B, 3 SO), Lined a single into RF in the 1st inning S9/L9S; struck out swinging in the 3rd; pulled a liner down the 3B line for a 2-RBI double in the 5th 2B7/L5D; struck out swinging on a foul tip into the mitt in the 7th; struck out swinging in the 8th (3 pitches).

4/30 Did not start, hand

Offense: 1-1, PH with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th and hit an RBI single into CF. S8/L8

Article

-                Source says Mets aren’t optimistic about Wilmer Flores at SS

   

5/1 Did not start, hand 

Offense: 0-1 (SO), PH to lead off the 7th and struck out looking at a breaking ball on the outside corner.
Article

5/2


1st inning – With a runner on 1B and nobody out, Taylor hit a medium grounder at Flores to start a double play. 643/G6

2nd inning – Apparently fielded a ground ball from Jesus Montero, but the cameras followed Montero running up the 1B line instead of the actual play – announcer said he threw him out with ease. Forced to guess on the location that the ball was fielded. 63/G6

4th inning – James Jones hit a medium grounder up the middle that Flores smoothly got in front of for the easy out. 63/G6M

5th inning – Gabriel Noriega hit a medium grounder at Flores. 63/G6

-                With a runner on 1B and two outs, Nick Franklin hit a soft line drive to the right of Flores. 6/L56

6th inning – Montero with another grounder at Flores. 63/G6

8th inning – Xavier Avery hit a pop up behind the SS hole with the infield drawn in that Flores had a long way to run on and actually overran by a step, allowing it to fall in for an RBI single. I’ve seen the infield fly rule called on balls hit deeper into the OF, so the umpires must have judged this a difficult play based on where the infield was. Marked as OF hit. S6/P56D

Offense: 4-5 (2 HR, SO), Hit a HR over the LF wall in the 1st, it was well hit; struck out swinging to lead off the 4th; flared a single into RF, which only fell because the RF initially went back on the ball S9/F9; looped a single into shallow LF to lead off the 8th S7/L7S; pulled a two-out HR into the LF corner in the 9th.

5/3 Postponed – Rain


Recap

SS Defense

Table 1 – Table of out conversion rate per zone on groundballs possibly fielded.
Zone
6S
6MS
6M
6
56
56D
56S
4M
Total
Chances
5
4
23
35
11
5
1
1
85
Outs
3
3
22
32
4
0
0
0
64
Conversion %
60
75
96
91
36.4
0
0
0
75

Games: 18.2               Errors: 6            Double Plays Started: 14            Infield Singles Allowed: 7
Singles to the Outfield Allowed: 7

           
Offense (Week Totals): 7-14 (2B, 2 HR, 5 SO); .500/.500/1.000

            Overall, it was a mixed week for Wilmer Flores in his 4th week at Vegas – the hand injury held him out a few days, but he came back with his best offensive performance of the season. This weeks error was basically the same as his throwing error last week – you can’t excuse Wilmer when he had the time to make the throw better, but you also hope your 1B is good at picking it, and that is not the best part of Allan Dykstra’s game.
The increased strikeout rate early is something to keep an eye on. Wilmer still has above average strikeout rates overall, but has seen a slight uptick in both his strikeouts looking and swinging over his first 108 PA’s – a difference of only a handful of strikeouts so far, so nothing to be too alarmed about yet.
Thanks to an Adam Rubin tweet during Saturday night’s Mets game, I realized that Wilmer Flores has started ten more double plays for Las Vegas than Ruben Tejada has for New York (14 to 4). It’s only been a little over 200 innings of play so far, but Ruben Tejada is 22nd among qualified major league SS’s in double plays started this season – Flores would rank 2nd with his total in the majors. Number of ‘double plays started’ as a statistic, especially over 200 innings, is not that useful, as players with more chances will start more double plays, so it is context dependent – it would be better to compare double play conversion rates – but Ruben Tejada may be below average at starting them. Among shortstops with at least 1,500 innings over 2012-13, which covers 25 players, Tejada has started nearly 1.5 double plays fewer per 200 innings than average (5.2) – only Everth Cabrera (4.8) and Asdrubal Cabrera (5) were lower, while Brendan Ryan (8.4) and Pedro Florimon (8.3) led the way.

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