The MLB season may be over, but the San Francisco Giants season reviews are just getting started. Next up is infielder and designated hitter Wilmer Flores.
55 games, 213 plate appearances, .268/.315/.515, .830 OPS, 12 home runs, 32 RBI, 13 walks to 36 strikeouts
125 OPS+, 121 wRC+, 1.1 rWAR, 1.0 fWAR
Status throughout the season
Flores was on the active roster all season long.
Flores had the distinction of being the first multi-year deal that the Giants signed in the Farhan Zaidi era. He’s never been a great player, in part due to defensive limitations, but he was coming off of four straight seasons as an above-average offensive player.
The thought was that his right-handed bat could platoon with Brandon Belt at first, while also getting some reps at second and third.
Who knows what his year would have looked like in a normal season, but the bizarro, upside-down creature that was the 2020 MLB season ended up maximizing Flores’ impact. Belt had a tremendous offensive season that made him an everyday player, and Flores looked slightly inept defensively when trying to play second and third base, so you would think there wasn’t much of a spot for his contributions.
But alas, 2020 brought the designated hitter to the National League (albeit temporarily ... hopefully), and that gave Flores a role. 89 of his plate appearances came as a designated hitter, and he filled in around the infield the rest of the time.
And he hit. Oh did he hit. The Giants were expecting a good offensive season from Flores, and he came through with the best one of his career. Better yet, prior to 2020, last year had been the best offensive year of his career, so there are reasons to think that his performance was sustainable and not just a small sample size.
Flores was the number one reason that the Giants increased their home run totals so much this year — after averaging just 1.03 homers per game in 2019, the Giants had 1.35 per contest in 2020. He led the team with 12 dingers, and more often than not they seemed to be rather timely.
My goodness. That is a swing I’m already excited to watch again in 2021.
Really, there’s not much more to say about Flores. He was the Giants best power hitter, the kind of offensive weapon they’ve been lacking in recent years, and a liability with the glove.
And he was a lot of fun.
Role in 2021
Flores is under contract for next season, and given Zaidi’s comments about wanting to make the postseason in 2021, it seems highly unlikely that Flores would be trade bait.
That said, his role with the designated hitter disappearing will be interesting to see. If Belt regresses, he and Flores could platoon at first. But ultimately, between the loss of the DH and the shrinking roster sizes, the Giants will likely have to trust Flores with his glove if they want to take advantage of his bat.
To a certain extent, they probably will, and he’ll likely be a player who bops around the infield every other day, while serving as a pinch-hit weapon the other half of the time. That’s the flavor of the day in baseball anyway.
The big-time offensive weapon and timely hitting make up for the struggles with the leather.
How would you grade Wilmer Flores’ season?
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