Wilmer Flores

From BR Bullpen

Wilmer Alejandro Flores Garcia

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 175 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Wilmer Flores reached the major leagues in 2013.

Flores was signed by scout Roberto Alfonzo and international scouting director Ismael Cruz for the New York Mets on his 16th birthday for a $700,000 singing bonus. He made his pro debut in 2008, playing for the Kingsport Mets (.310/.352/.490), Brooklyn Cyclones (8 for 30, BB, 2B) and the Savannah Sand Gnats (2 for 5). He led Appalachian League shortstops in assits (185), double plays (46) and putouts (86, tied with Juan Silverio). The young Venezuelan was the hardest batter in the league to strike out (1 K per 8.75 AB). He was named the Appy League All-Star shortstop. Baseball America rated him as the #2 prospect in the circuit, right behind Tim Beckham.

In 2009, Wilmer fell to .264/.305/.332 for Savannah but improved his fielding percentage at short to .974 while being the youngest player on his team. He led South Atlantic League shortstops in fielding percentage. He started at second base and hit 8th for the World in the 2009 Futures Game (Alcides Escobar was at short). Flores grounded out against both Kyle Drabek and Mat Latos before being replaced by fellow teenager Starlin Castro. Baseball America named him the SAL's #10 prospect, right ahead of Rudy Owens and Tony Sanchez.

The Mets called up Wilmer on his 22nd birthday, August 6, 2013, when 3B David Wright was placed on the disabled list. Taking the captain's place in the line-up, Flores went 0 for 4 in his debut against the Colorado Rockies that day, but followed up with two hits, including a double, and 3 RBIs to be the hitting star in a 5-0 win the next day, that also was Matt Harvey's first major league shutout. He hit a single to center off Jhoulys Chacin in the 1st inning and came around to score his first run when Omar Quintanilla drove him in, then in the 8th hit a bases-loaded double down the left field line off reliever Manuel Corpas that broke the game open.

On May 16, 2015, he did something unprecedented in National League history, when he hit a grand slam from the 9th slot in the line-up in a 14-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first time a starting position player had hit a grand slam in a National League ballpark. The strategy was successful all around, as pitcher Jacob deGrom, who hit 8th, had three hits, including one just before Wilmer's slam. On May 25 and 26, he had the game-winning hit in two consecutive games against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the first game, he hit a three-run homer off Justin De Fratus in the 7th inning to give the Mets a 6-3 win, and the next day his single off Elvis Araujo with two outs in the bottom of the 10th drove in Juan Lagares with the winning run in a 5-4 victory. On July 29th, he made news around the country when a rumor began circulating that he and P Zack Wheeler had just been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for OF Carlos Gomez; he was playing in a home game against the San Diego Padres at the time, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he came to bat in the 7th, and he then broke out in tears on the field in the 8th, distraught at leaving a team that he seen grow into a contender. It turned out that the trade was only a rumor, though, and that he was still a member of the Mets at the end of the day. The speculation had been fueled by the fact that New York had acquired two infielders, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, a few days earlier, making Wilmer's role with the team going forward unclear. In any case, he stayed with the Mets, and on July 31st hit a walk-off homer against Felipe Rivero of the Washington Nationals to give the Mets a 2-1 win and prove once again that the best trades are often the ones you don't make. On August 24th, he hit two homers as part of a team-record 8 homers and 14 extra-base hits by the Mets in a 15-7 win over the Phillies; the two long balls gave him 14 for the season. He finished the year at .263 with 16 homers and 59 RBIs. He played every day in the postseason, after Ruben Tejada had suffered a broken leg in the Division Series. He hit .300 in that series and .286 against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, but was limited to 1 hit in 17 at-bats as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Mets in five games in the 2015 World Series.

In November of 2015, playing winter ball for the Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan League, he broke his ankle when he was hit by a pitch in his debut game. The injury was originally diagnosed as a bruise, and he returned to action after a few days, but the truth came out as it failed to heal as a bruise should have. He had a career game for the Mets on July 3, 2016 as he went 6 for 6 with two homers in a 14-3 romp over the Chicago Cubs. He was only the second player in Mets history to have a six-hit game, following Edgardo Alfonzo who did it in 1999.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Anthony Castrovince: "How Wilmer's tears changed baseball history", mlb.com, April 8, 2020. [1]
  • Anthony DiComo: "15 for '15: The 'Crying Game' and the Mets' run", mlb.com, December 29, 2015. [2]
  • Chris Landers: "In just 24 hours, Wilmer Flores went from trade bait to franchise folk hero", "Cut 4", mlb.com, August 6, 2018. [3]
  • Joe Lemire: "Mets' wild night of tears, fear ends up being about nothing", USA Today Sports, July 30, 2015. [4]
  • Howard Megdal: "A year after night of infamy, Wilmer Flores has 'no doubt' he's a regular", USA Today Sports, July 16, 2016. [5]

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