Wednesday, March 26, 2014

#86 Wilmer Flores

Today, I’m following up a rookie with another. This time we’re going all the way back to the the east coast.

#86 Wilmer Flores
First impression of what’s going on: This is kind of a generic shot of a swinging batter but I don’t know that you can expect more than that for a rookie card. Sure, you might get lucky like we did yesterday with Michael Choice, but I think he was an outlier. There are probably only a couple dozens shots to choose from for most rookies. The crop is too tight but Flores does have a few niches at first glance.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: Wilmer Flores #4 of the New York Mets in action against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 8, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Rockies 2-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

 The Reality of the Photo: Definitely too tight of a crop. I can’t believe the Rockies are making another appearance, in spirit, if not on the actual card. The caption isn’t much help in identifying a particular pitch or even at-bat so let’s go to the BOXSCORE and see what we can find out.

A win is a win, whether you score two or twelve. Let’s see if the rookie had a hand in it.

No hits, but Flores did draw a walk and drive in a run. Fielder’s choice? Or maybe his walk was of the bases loaded variety?

He drew his walk in the bottom of the second, but nothing came of it.

In the fourth he did come up with the bases loaded but as I said, his walk already happened. This time, it sounds like he hit a dribbler to shortstop and the only play was for Flores at first, but allowing Daniel Murphy to score from third.

I wonder if, with no outs and the bases loaded, the infield was playing back for double play depth or in, for a play at the plate. My guess would be, that early in the game, play for the double play, sacrificing a run but putting a damper on an even bigger inning. If they were playing back, that could be the reason why the only play was at first on the dribbler.

This run tied the game at 1 apiece, which was followed by the game winning sacrifice fly by former Cub Anthony Recker. Had Flores grounded into a double play, the sac fly would have been an inning ending out.

The Mets were wearing their home alternates that day, as the regular home uniform involves pinstripes.

Looking a little closer, we can see the All-Star patch because the Mets hosted the game in 2013.

Better View 
And a little more subtle than that, we get a glimpse of an Under Armour logo from Flores’ undershirt on his elbow, for some Free Advertising.

On to the back:

Rookie Fact: Wilmer tied a Mets record with 9 RBI in his first six MLB games.

First, I want to go off on a tangent about the plurality of Runs Batted In. I think they are commonly referred to as RBIs even though that would translate to Runs Batted Ins. Maybe they should be RsBI, but that sounds ridiculous. So even though RBI, as used by Topps in the Rookie Fact, seems odd, it is technically correct. Weird.

Back to the fact at hand. Among Flores’ 9 RBI, he had a pair of 3 RBI games and one in at least five of the six games. Not to mention that the Mets as a team went 5-1 in that stretch. Good way to start a career.

Information I’ll be tracking:

Card Number: #86
Player Name: Wilmer Flores
Team: New York Mets
Position: Shortstop
Game Date: August 8, 2013
Opponent: Colorado Rockies
Stadium: Citi Field
Division: National League East
Home/Away: Home
Outcome of the game: 2-1, Mets over Rockies, Win for the player depicted
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: Yes, alternate
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Birthdate: 8/6/1991
Birthplace: Venezuela
Cameos by: N/A
Photographer: Jim McIsaac
Niche collections this card could fit into: Alternate Jersey, Free Advertising, Patch, Rookie Card

My Grade: This one hits a lot of the same niches as yesterday’s A+ rookie, but somehow it still falls a little flat. Maybe if the crop wasn’t so tight or if Flores had a bigger day at the plate. I’m still going to give this card a B though.

Usually I save the “what could have been” photos for cards with failing grades, but when looking for the source photo, I saw two photos that would have put Flores into “no doubter” A+ status. Both are perfectly timed photos that shine a good light on Flores and they’re both from the same game on September 15, 2013. Maybe that was a little too late in the season to get these made on time.

Lesson learned for the Marlins. Don't try to get to third if Flores is guarding it!

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