Friday, May 9, 2014

Wilmer Flores Report 5, The Finale



5/4-5/7

            With the announcement that Wilmer Flores has been called up to play shortstop for the New York Mets, this will most likely be the last Wilmer Flores report. Wilmer continued his hot hitting this week while also picking up another throwing error, and all that coverage is available below. If this is the first you are seeing off the Wilmer Reports, better late than never, and you can still catch up on his week-to-week activity with the past reports: week 1, 2, 3, 4.
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.


5/4

1st inning – Leading off the inning, Endy Chavez hit a medium two-hopper right at Wilmer that he was waiting to back hand and make a quick throw. It was basically the same set up he made his last two throwing errors on, with a much cleaner throw, definitely seen some re-sharpening of his game at SS. 63/G6

4th inning – Leading off the inning, Jesus Montero hit a medium grounder up the middle that was snared by a diving Wilmer Flores, who got up and threw to 1B in time for the out. 63/G6M




-       Two batters later, Blash hit a weak chopper towards SS that was charged by Wilmer, who threw on the run to get the out at 1B. 63/G6

7th inning – Leading off the inning, Xavier Avery hit a hard liner right at Wilmer. 6/L6

Offense: 1-3 (HR, 3 RBI, BB), Walked in the 1st; popped out behind the SS in the 2nd 6/P7S; pulled a bomb of a 3R-HR over the LF wall in the 4th; grounded out to the 3B in the 6th 53/G5.

5/5

5th inning – With one out, Chris Taylor hit a medium roller to the right of Flores, which he charged and threw onto 1B just in time to record the out. 63/G56

6th inning – With the bases loaded and two outs, Taylor hit a medium grounder up the middle that was gobbled up by Flores. 63/G6M

7th inning – Leading off the inning, Nick Franklin hit a soft grounder towards Flores at SS, which was charged and Flores got him by a half step at 1B. 63/G6

-       Next batter Montero tapped one softly up the middle, which was handled easily by Flores. 63/G6M

9th inning – Leading off, Avery hit a medium grounder that just got by a diving Flores behind 2B. S8/G6M

Offense: 1-4 (SO), Flied out to LF in the 1st; struck out swinging on a foul tip into the mitt in the 4th; flared a singled down the RF line in the 6th; lined a one-hopper deep in the SS hole that Taylor made a nice play on in the 8th.

5/6

1st inning – With 2 outs, Roberto Lopez lined out a few steps to the right of Flores. 6L6

2nd inning – With 2 outs, Shawn O’Malley “grounded out up the middle” according to the broadcasters, but they did not show the play. 63/G?

3rd inning – Leading off, Jimmy Swift hit a hard grounder up the middle that Wilmer made a nice sliding stop to get to, but he had no play, and Seratelli kind of jumped between him and 1B. S6/G6M

7th inning – Leading off, O’Malley lined a one-hopper towards the SS hole that Flores flagged down with the backhand before making a quick throw attempt, but his throw had not nearly enough on it to get O’Malley. S6/G56

-       After an out and a walk, Taylor Lindsey hit a groundball to 1B Allen, who threw to 2B for one, but the return throw from Flores was not well placed relative to the covering Zack Thornton, who was just arriving at the bag. FC36/G3 -> E6

Offense: 2-4 (2B, HR, 4 RBI), Lined an RBI double into the left-center field gap in the 1st; got under a high pitch out to the right-center field warning track in the 3rd; launched a 3R-HR into the berm beyond LF in the 5th; hit a grounder off the end of his bat out to 2B in the 7th 43/G4.

5/7

 

1st inning – With 2 outs, Lopez hit a slow roller up the middle, which was handled by Flores just beyond the infield grass. 63/G6M

4th inning – Leading off the inning, Martinez hit a medium chopper towards the SS hole that was handled smoothly by Wilmer. 63/G56

-       With two outs and a runner on 1st, Lindsey popped out to Flores behind 2B. 6/P6M

5th inning – With runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out, Lopez hit a slow chopper towards the SS hole that Flores pounced on and threw quickly to 2B, but Muno did not even attempt the turn. FC64/G56

6th inning – With one out, Swift lined out to Flores. 6/L6

-      After a single, Lindsey popped out a little into the outfield grass. 6/P6D

Offense: 3-6 (2B, 2 RBI, GIDP), Pulled a hard grounder to the 3B to start a double play in the 1st 543/G5; lined the first-pitch fastball into the left-center field alley for a 2R-2B in the 3rd 2B7/L78; popped out to the 3B in foul territory in the 6th 5/P5F; advanced Kirk to 3B with a groundout to the 2B in the 8th; chopped one slowly on the infield that was cut off with a barehanded attempt by the 3B, but Wilmer was able to beat out the throw for an infield single in the 9th; beat out another grounder to the 3B for an infield single in the 10th.

 


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
29
38
15
5
1
1
98
Outs
3
3
26
35
7
0
0
0
74
Conversion %
60
75
89.7
92.1
46.7
0
0
0
75.5

Games: 25               Errors: 7 (4 throwing)            Double Plays Started: 14           
Infield Singles Allowed: 10            Singles to the Outfield Allowed: 7

           
Offense (Week Totals): 7-17, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, BB, SO, GIDP, .412/.444/.882

The Mets could not be calling Wilmer up at a better time, as he has been hitting the ball very well the past few weeks. In particular, looking back to last Friday in Tacoma, Wilmer has been turning on pitches with some authority. I think he will also impress with his opposite field power, I just hope he doesn’t press into trying to pull too much or anything that will take away from the real reason the Mets want him: his offense. What I saw from Wilmer offensively in Vegas was a selective hitter with a great eye and a great swing, which makes contact at a high rate (82% for Wilmer vs. 77.7% average per statcorner). I am getting pretty excited to watch him hit in the Majors, this team could use any boost he offers.
Defensively, he had a pretty solid week, with his error coming as the turn man in a double play, something he’s done fine on the rest of the season. Something to keep an eye on with Wilmer is how he reacts to certain plays the first time he encounters them, and whether he looks better the next time. He definitely appeared to look sharper on certain shortstop ‘moves’ as he got in game repetition throughout the season. While it still might not be even average SS quality, I think he has definitely given reasons for encouragement about finding him a defensive home other than 1B. I think as long as he gets off to a good start offensively, we won't be talking about his glove too often. I just hope we don't have to hear that "the Flores at SS experiment is coming to an end" or "going horribly" every time he makes an error, which he will do at times, there is enough pressure on the kid as is.
If you’re curious, I’ve gone into how much Wilmer will need to hit to be a good shortstop option for the Mets, using 3 fWAR as the benchmark for a good starting option at any position, and considering three levels of poor defense.

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