FanPost

Scouting the Sally - Wilmer Flores, SS, NYM

Wilmer Flores (2-5) - After enduring two seasons of downright embarrassing baseball from the 2007-2008 Savannah Sand Gnats, the day had finally arrived. Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte, two of the top six prospects in the organization manning the left side of the infield for a ball club with a chance to actually win a game or two. No more Josh Thole and 0 home runs from the cleanup spot or 24-year old organizational players. Two of the most exciting prospects in baseball were here, and this was my first chance to watch them live.

Flores, one of the crown jewels of the Mets system and near consensus number two prospect within the organization, exploded onto the scene in 2008 with a .307/.347/.468 line as a 16-year old during his first taste of baseball in the lower forty-eight after signing for a high six figure bonus as an international free agent. He enters 2009 as a top fifty overall prospect and one of the more discussed prospects in baseball due to the perfect storm of his being a Met, Dominican, and very young.

Before I work too far into this report, keep in mind Flores is a mere seventeen years of age and what he is now is maybe 1% of what he should be by the time he hits New York. Between glimpses of his immense talent was a player whose baseball maturity was that of the junior in high school he would be were he born in Florida and not the Dominican Republic. With that said, the following is my initial game report on Wilmer Flores.

  • Tall and lean; Looked every bit of his 6'3" listed height
  • Swam in his uniform; Plenty of room to fill out; Especially through the shoulders
  • Should grow out of the shortstop position; Footwork was a little awkward and slow
  • Average athlete at this point; Should lose a step or two as he continues to grow; Still growing into his body
  • Upright stance; Tendency to pull off outside pitches and breaking balls
  • Guess hitter at this point; Did not seem to understand how to work a count; Weak fly ball on first pitch fastball with the winning run on 2nd base
  • Jammed badly first at bat; Fisted bloop single to right field
  • Didn't really have a chance to show arm strength; Throws between innings looked like he was throwing the shot put
  • Flores made all the plays, but it was not pretty; <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> Needs to get in better defensive position both pre-pitch and when the ball is in play
  • Swing can be a little long and inconsistent; Exploded through the strike zone at times; Kept hands inside the ball well on an inside fastball

Overall, the performance itself was mixed, but to be seventeen and holding his own against a team full of 21-23 year old players was quite impressive. I have no doubts the power is real and Flores will be a VERY dangerous hitter as soon as he learns to work a count. He's still much a work in progress, but I can definitely see where the Miguel Cabrera comparisons are coming from. In watching "Miggy" during his rookie season, I remember thinking he would be downright scary once he fills out. Flores could be the same kind of scary.

In order for this to happen though, Flores is going to have to develop a more professional approach. Showing a minus arm from the shortstop position the entire game and lazily setting up in his defensive stance between pitches looked really bad and I can see a scenario where he is labeled a bit of a primadonna by the New York media. Maybe this point is moot since he will likely wind up at a corner (infield or outfield), but Jefry Marte made a better first impression in person due to his simply looking the part of a professional. Flores should take note.

Flores and Marte combine to form one of the most exciting tandems in minor league baseball this season and will hopefully put butts in Grayson Stadium seats. After two years of terrible baseball, Savannah fans deserve to see what hopes to be the future of the Mets franchise.

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