Wilmer Flores Scouting Report (2010)
Wilmer Flores struggled through his full season debut leading many to back off the lofty expectations originally laid out for him. Miguel Cabrera comparisons quickly faded and any discussion about Flores morphed into his not having enough bat to play a corner position (infield or outfield).
It seems nobody let Flores in on the conversation as he raked to the tune of .341/.388/.560 in April quieting many of his doubters, and once again making him a Mets darling. As Ike Davis powered his way through prospect eligibility, Fernando Martinez fell to yet another injury, Jenrry Mejia threw garbage innings in New York, and the big three of Kyle Allen, Jeurys Familia, and Robert Carson floundered, Flores was busy cementing himself as the top prospect in the organization.
His surge continued into mid-May before the wheels fell off seemingly overnight. Over the past month, a prolonged slump has brought Flores’ gaudy early numbers crashing back to earth. His overall line of .291/.361/.456 remains very strong for an 18-year old in the South Atlantic League, but his April led many to believe Flores was not only worthy of any and all hype received since his signing, but might actually be better!
Physique & Athleticism: Much stronger than in 2009, Flores has put on 10-15 pounds of lean muscle and now has visible muscle definition through his forearms. Some of the awkward movements discussed in my earlier reports have also ironed themselves out as Flores is now a more fluid player. However, he still projects as a below-average athlete at full physical maturity. His athleticism should not affect his offensive game as it has, and will continue to come much more naturally to him.
Hitting: Wilmer Flores has a stronger set up this season as his stance has his hands back in a stronger hitting position than last year. His weight is also shifted more on his back leg allowing for better weight transfer. When going well, Flores’ body language speaks of supreme confidence. His load and swing are fluid and his wrists generate excellent bat whip. Seeing him turn on an inside fastball can be a thing of beauty as he keeps his hands inside and drops the barrel on the baseball peppering line drives down the left field line. When Flores trusts his hands, his ability to hit for power up the middle and to right-center field also increases dramatically as he lets the ball travel deep in the zone before exploding on pitches middle-out. Flores also rarely swings at a first pitch when things are going well and tends to work much deeper counts. This has led to his nearly doubling his walk rate in the early going as teams have consistently worked around him since his hot start.
However, Flores either runs VERY hot or VERY cold. When struggling, Flores’ hands become “herky jerky” in his pre-swing and this can throw off his timing mechanism. His feet also inch closer together leading to a more exaggerated stride which may alter his eye level. Additionally, he will sometimes feature a double-tap in his load which does not seem nearly as natural as the simple “walk-away” step he employs when hitting well. Flores is slow to make adjustments leading to prolonged slumps. While this is normal for young hitters, his contact skills and quick hands are those of a high-average hitter. With his power projections being above average, but not elite, hundred at bat cold spells are simply not going to cut it long term for a player whose value will be heavily tied into his hit tool. Flores’ body language also changes and he becomes visibly antsy at the plate. He swings at anything near the strike zone and will take himself out of at bats. He rarely strikes out, but his being over-aggressive on bad balls early in counts leads to weak contact and easy pop outs.
Defense: Flores’ increased athleticism has led to slightly better range this season. His hands are still excellent, and his arm is playable on the left side of the infield. He slows the game down, does a great job of charging the ball and has the ability to make very difficult adjustments on bad hops. However, he will not stay at shortstop long term and will need to find a new home. In 2009, word spread of his being an albatross defensively to the point where his glove would have to be hidden in left field or first base. This opinion is now posted all over the Internet and has been challenged, not only by myself, but by every scout I have spoken to this season. Flores has the hands, reactions, and arm to play at least an average third base, if not a tick above. To assume less would be underestimating his abilities.
Speed: Still well below average, Flores has cut his home-to-first times by two-tenths of a second from last season. I have clocked multiple 4.6 second times to first and believe his times will stabilize in the 4.6 range. Flores will never be a base stealing threat, but he is legging out more doubles than last season which is a huge plus for his overall value.
At this point, I have seen upwards of 300 Wilmer Flores plate appearances and continue to be impressed by his offensive abilities and unheralded defensive prowess. His overall stat line is tremendous when considering his age and the level of competition and he saves his best at bats for highly ranked prospects. This season alone, I have witnessed him take excellent swings off of Braves prospect Arodys Vizcaino, Astros prospect Tanner Bushue, Rockies prospect Tyler Matzek and others. The Mets organization has done the right thing by slowing down his time table and forcing him to dominate for a period of time prior to a potential promotion. This new philosophy will do wonders for his development and make him a much stronger player long term.
22 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?