Infielder Wilmer Flores and first baseman Allan Dykstra are headed to their respective league’s all-star games this year – Flores in Triple-A and Dykstra in Double-A. Each player took a different path to get to where they are now, and may still take a different path to the majors. Let’s take a look where these two might end up in the Mets plans.
Flores has steadily grown more comfortable at the Triple-A level, and he’s starting to make it look easy. On Tuesday, he went 5-6 with 2 doubles. He’s hitting .320/.357/.520 this year with 27 doubles, 4 triples, 10 home runs, and 64 RBIs. Sandy Alderson considers him a propsect, and that’s not going out on a limb.
The 6’3″, 190 lb Flores was signed out of Venezuela at the ripe old age of 16. It feels like he’s been in the Mets farm system forever, but even after 6 seasons in the minor leagues, he’s still only 21 (turning 22 on August 6th).
He projected to fill out into a Miguel Cabrera-type frame, and that still may be a possibility. He doesn’t have Cabrera’s power as of now, but there’s no question he can hit. And his 41 extra base hits this year shows that he’s no slap hitter.
The biggest question for Flores has been, and will continue to be, where should he play? Alderson and the Mets organization have ruled out shortstop, the position he played until 2011, because he doesn’t have the range. He’s been the Las Vegas 51s’ starting second baseman this year, but if he continues to fill out, he will probably project to be more of a corner infielder. The Mets have even considered converting him into an outfielder.
His best chance of making the Mets in the immediate future, however, is at second base. It’s become clear what kind of player Daniel Murphy is. He’s a .280-.290 batter who doesn’t give you much OBP or home run power, but is good for 30-40 doubles per year. After David Wright, Murphy is the Mets second most reliable hitter. In addition, Murphy has worked hard to become a competent second baseman.
The similarities between Murphy and Flores are that each were/are considered good hitters without a position. The difference is, Flores projects to be a better hitter in the long run.
To make room for Flores, Murphy might make a good trade candidate, or he can join the seemingly infinite mix of players at first base (more on that later). Generally speaking, teams look for more home run pop at first, however.
Speaking of trades, at this point of each of their careers, Flores may actually bring back more value in a trade than Murphy because of his potential.
Whether the Mets see him as a core player or a chip for a trade remains to be seen. But he looks like he’ll be an asset for the club either way.
Dykstra (No relation to Lenny), came to the Mets organization in 2011 in a trade for relief pitcher Eddie Kunz in what was considered a “change of scenery” transaction. While the former can’t-miss prospect missed, and is now out of baseball, Dykstra has thrived in the Mets organization.
Dykstra is an Alderson guy – in fact, Alderson and Paul DePodesta drafted him when they worked for the San Diego Padres. His minor league stats are right out of “Moneyball.” In his career, he has a pedestrian .256 batting average, but has compiled a .405 on base percentage. He’s having the best year of his professional life this year at Binghamton, batting .316/.478/.587 with 20 doubles, 12 homers, and 52 RBIs. His all-star appearance is his first in his third year in the Eastern League.
Like Flores, Dykstra has been in the minors since 2008. Unlike Flores, Dykstra is 26, which is old for a minor leaguer. And unlike Flores, the roadblocks on his path to the major leagues seem to be numerous.
Currently, the Mets are trying to figure out if Ike Davis or Lucas Duda will be their first baseman going forward. Add Murphy and 28 year-old Josh Satin (.390/.510/.561 in 51 plate appearances) to the mix, and first base situation gets muddled. Once the Mets do something with Davis – whether it’s promoting him or finding a trade partner – that should open the door for Dykstra to test his skills against Triple-A competition.
It could be that Dykstra is a late bloomer, developing into a prospect, or he may have just outgrown Double-A ball. The way the first base situation shakes out at the major league level over the next few months may go a long way in determining Dykstra’s role in the organization.
About the Author
Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.