Prospect Review – Wilmer Flores


Time for our first review of an international signee, with the Mets’ shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: International Free Agent Signee by the New York Mets (2007)
Age as of 4/1/11: 19

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm            Lg Lev  G  R HR RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
Savannah    SALL   A 66 30  7  44  2 23 37 .278 .342 .433
St. Lucie   FLOR  A+ 67 32  4  40  2  9 40 .300 .324 .415

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/17/2011.
Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: #1 (NYM – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #90 (Overall – 2011), #10 (Shortstop – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #2 (Shortstop – 12/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (NYM – 2011), #10 (Florida State League – 2010)
John Sickels: #1 (NYM – 2011), B+ 
Baseball Prospectus: #3 (NYM – 2011), 3 Star
Fangraphs: #1 (NYM – 2011)
Scouting Book: #10 (Shortstop – 2011), #92 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #2 (NYM – 2011)

Analysis

Wilmer Flores spent the first half of 2010 repeating Low-A, which actually allowed me to see him a couple of times while I was in Savannah. While in Savannah, Flores hit well, with 18 doubles, 7 home runs, and a .278/.342/.433 line despite being in the offensive drag that is the Sally League. He did this while also being young for the league, just 18 years old through his time there. His plate discipline was solid there, drawing 23 walks to 37 strikeouts.

In mid-June, Flores was promoted to the Mets’ High-A affiliate in St. Lucie, and continued to hit well. (.300/.324/.415, 18 doubles, 4 home runs). Unfortunately, his plate discipline appeared to struggle, as he had just 9 walks against 40 strikeouts in a similar amount of games to his time in Savannah. I am actually not too terribly concerned about his plate discipline, as his contact rate still appears to be very good overall.

The thing that really stood out to me about Flores when I saw him was that he really seemed like he belonged with these players, despite being younger than many of them.

From a defensive perspective, it doesn’t seem like Flores will be likely to continue as a shortstop for too much longer. 

From Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects (2010):

His main deficiency as a player is very slow feet, even though he’s not thickly built, and he has no shot to stay at shortstop and little shot of handling third base, which means he’ll end up at first base or in an outfield corner, although there’s an excellent chance his bat plays in any of those positions.

Some other thoughts, via Mets Minor League Blog:

Toby Hyde:  Flores is blessed with excellent hand eye coordination, which helps him make lots and lots of contact at the plate.  His big body and room for growth and strength give hope that he will continue to add power as he ages and end up with above average big league power.  His arm is strong enough to play third, but he’ll have to learn the footwork for the hot corner.

Outlook

Overall, Flores looks like he has the potential to be an excellent hitter, but is extremely unlikely to stay at shortstop. It also appears that he could make an impact at a very young age, as he seems like he could start 2011 at AA if they choose to push him. I have to imagine that the Mets will move him to a new position, and I could see him trying 3B this year. If that happens, he seems more likely to be back at High-A to start the year.

Prediction for 2011

 .280/.340/.450, 30 doubles, 12 home runs (Split between High-A and AA)

Expected ETA

2013 seems most likely, as he will still need to determine a permanent position.

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