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PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 06: Wilmer Flores #4 of the New York Mets blows a bubble as he waits for his turn in the cage during batting practice before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 6, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

OPINION: Wilmer Flores Is Who Mets Thought He Was

New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores is once again the talk of the town.

Flores has had quite a week, first he tied the Mets record for hits in a game Sunday (held by his hero and fellow Venezuelan Edgardo Alfonzo), going 6-for-6 with two home runs, now he’s 3-for-6, with three homers and five RBI in his last two contests.

OPINION: Wilmer Flores Is Who Mets Thought He Was

With the Mets tied 4-4 with the, first-place, Washington Nationals Thursday, Flores clubbed a three-run homer to put New York ahead for good, moving the Mets within three games of the Nats.

Much like last season, Queens is singing the praises of Flores, the 6-foot-3 infielder, who cried on the field after he learned he was set to be traded. After the trade fell through, Flores hit a walk-off and Mets fans fell in love.


And that summer fling has started once again.

Who doesn’t love the story? Scrappy kid, supposed to be traded for a lost son (Carlos Gomez), but instead has stepped in to fill the role of David Wright, or really, whomever’s position he is capable of playing.

You know the type, journeyman utility guy whom can give you a good boost off the bench, but struggles to perform everyday. Now, the journeyman is becoming a hero before our very eyes.

It is a convenient narrative, the problem, it is far from true.

Dennis Green once famously said, “the Bears are who we thought they were.”


Well, guess what Metropolitan fans, Wilmer Flores is who the Mets thought he was.

Flores is not a scrappy, diminutive kid, who just keeps on persevering despite all the obstacles in front of him. He’s not a 10-year minor leaguer, finally getting his shot. And he’s not a hometown kid like Mike Baxter, who finds ways to help, despite his limited skill set.

The only limit for Flores is his defensive range. The kid was a blue chip prospect, signed out of Venezuela on his 16th birthday.

He is a slender 6-foot-3 infielder, with power, who has one at-bat shy of one thousand in parts of three seasons in the majors and he is only 24 years old.

Don’t believe me, read for yourself.

From acclaimed New York Times sports writer Ben Shpigel, March 14, 2009.

“The organization is still buzzing about how Flores, one of the youngest players in the minors last season, pummeled rookie-level Appalachian League pitching and slammed seven of his eight home runs before his 17th birthday. In all, over three minor league stages, Flores hit .307 with 42 RBI.”

Flores did not come out of no where, just ask former Mets Vice President for Development, Tony Bernazard:

“Think about it,” Bernazard told Shpigel seven years ago. “Realistically now, (Flores) would be a junior in high school. Instead he’s playing in major league exhibition games. It’s unbelieveable.”

Shpigel’s story was written during spring training, about a kid who, at 17, was good enough to make the expanded roster.

Remember Fernando Martinez Mets fans? You know, the slick, smooth outfielder who glided across the grass to track balls and was a future-menace in the batter’s box? The five-tool guy?

Well Fee-Mart may as well be working at K-mart nowadays.

After the Houston Astros cut him loose, the Yankees picked him up, before he was suspended for 50 games for PEDs in 2013.

He now plays in the Mexican League.

But don’t forget that Fernando Martinez was supposed to be the second coming, the next wave after Wright and Jose Reyes.

Flores was mentioned in the same ilk.

“As teenagers, the All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and the elite outfield prospect Fernando Martinez played in major league exhibition games, ” Shpigel wrote. “And Flores is likely to mimic their accelerated path.”

Flores was supposed to be at second base with Reyes at short and Wright at third. That was the organization’s vision.

So it isn’t so far-fetched to think Flores could come in to replaced the injured Wright.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great story, especially Thursday’s heroics. Collins leaves him out of the lineup and he demands to be put in the game, then provides the go-ahead home run, how great is that?

“We were ready for this,” Flores said after yesterday’s win, alluding to the adversity they face after losing Matt Harvey. “We were not gonna put our head down as players.”

Flores can still be scrappy and lovable. But he wasn’t a 35th rounder, he wasn’t a rule-five guy and he wasn’t a career-minor leaguer.

As it turns out, Wilmer Flores is exactly who the Mets thought he was: a good-looking, young, prospect with a future in the organization.

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Written by Kevin Xavier