If David Wright Is Traded, Is Wilmer Flores Ready to Fill His Shoes?

Mitch Petanick@firstpitchmitchCorrespondent INovember 23, 2012

March 14, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (71) against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

As the New York Mets continue to hash out a deal with the current star of the team and face of the franchise, there is more and more speculation that the Mets will be looking to deal David Wright this winter.

Everyone who thought that David Wright would end his career as a Metropolitan is starting to show some doubt.

On one hand, you have Sandy Alderson saying he wants to build a team for the future from the minor league system. On the other hand, Alderson says he wants to sign David to a long term extension.

That sounds great, but the two ideas sort of contradict each other. For one, if you are building for the future and want to build the minor league system, then you should trade Wright and get as much in return as possible. Secondly, the organization’s top position player prospect, Wilmer Flores, also plays third base—the same position as the current face of the franchise.

The logical thing to do is to trade David Wright. But is Flores ready to fill his shoes?

Flores is coming off of his best season of professional baseball. He split time in 2012 between Single-A and Double-A ball, compiling a combined .300 batting average, 18 home runs, and 75 RBI. At 21 years old, he is finally showing what he can do offensively, leading to Miguel Cabrera comparisons.

Even more impressive, and a sign that Flores may be ready to fill the big shoes of David Wright, is his strikeout ratio. This kid is tough to strike out. In 547 at bats in 2012, he only struck out 60 times. This is an indicator that he has an excellent feel for the strike zone, doesn’t get fooled much and is very patient at the plate.

Flores has a short and compact swing. His hands get through the zone quickly and he drives through the ball. He makes consistent contact, and by putting the ball in play he keeps the pressure on the defense.

Flores is still only 21, and you can see that his body still has room for development. As he fills in, you can expect him to add 10-15 more home runs to his totals per year. Eventually, he should hit 25-to-30 home runs per year in the major leagues.

Flores is currently the No. 3 prospect in the New York Mets organization on mlb.com behind Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia. However, he is most likely going to jump over Familia very soon (if he hasn’t already).

Is Flores ready to fill David Wright’s shoes yet? The answer is no, but he is getting close, and they can only keep him down on the farm for so long. Expect Flores to join the big league team some time in 2013.

That being said, Flores’ development could still pave the way for Wright to be traded this offseason.  If the Mets could gain some young prospects and major league-ready players for David Wright, and have a Miguel Cabrera-type player waiting in the wings, a trade seems inevitable.

It should also be noted that Flores can also play second base if the Mets don’t open up a spot for him at third by trading Wright. Don’t say we didn’t give you advance notice, Daniel Murphy.