Wilmer Flores Scouting Report (Late 2009)
Wilmer Flores‘ 2009 season started with a thud and ended with a fizzle. In-between was a period of productive baseball which saw Flores’ batting average approach .300. Due to poor power numbers and a likely position change in the future, Flores’ prospect stock has taken a hit as the 2010 season creeps closer. With his being so young, does he deserve a mulligan for a seemingly disappointing season in Savannah?
Physique & Athleticism: Flores’ conditioning improved drastically throughout the season. A source reported to me Flores had drastically improved his eating habits leading to his becoming a much leaner 6’3″. With little muscle development, Flores will take a couple of years or more to fill out his frame. He projects for additional size through the shoulders, but it is too early to say how much muscle his frame can carry considering his age and the possibility he is not done growing.
In terms of athleticism, Flores’ movements can look a bit uncoordinated and awkward. While this may simply be a sign of a big kid who simply has not grown into his body, his slow feet and elongated baseball movements can not be ignored. A good plyometric program could do Flores wonders.
Offense: With explosive wrists and excellent hand-eye coordination, Flores has barely scratched the surface in terms of offensive development. At his peak, Flores showed the ability to pepper line drives to all fields with a knack for staying back on breaking balls. When seeing the ball well, he worked deeper counts which led to much better pitches to hit and consistently hard contact. By August, Flores began to show his age as he seemingly hit a wall overnight. His pitch recognition and swing mechanics regressed leading to Flores’ batting average dropping close to thirty points.
At present, Flores’ hitting mechanics can be downright messy. With his upright stance, he is prone to changing his eye level during his stride causing him to swing under the baseball. He also has no discernible load and his front elbow drifts away from his body causing his back elbow to drop as a first movement to the ball. This creates bat drag through the strike zone and led to a number of weak pop-ups to the right side. His mechanics do not allow him to free up his hands which limits his power and leaves him susceptible to fastballs in. This, along with Flores’ not incorporating his hips to generate power, is what has suppressed whatever power Flores does have.
Defense: While Flores is unlikely to stay at shortstop, to assume he has no defensive value is an unfair assessment. His defensive movements are awkward which hides the fact his hands are fantastic. He adjusts quickly to bad hops and is a hoover on balls in front of him. The first rule a shortstop is taught it to charge everything and Flores is one of the best I have in this regard. Over the course of the 2009 season, his arm strength and throwing mechanics improved as he flashed a solid average arm. Lateral range will always be a major question mark due to lack of foot speed, but he has enough going for him defensively to project as a solid corner infielder with the ability to play left field as well.
Speed: With the nickname of “Tortuga” or turtle in Spanish, speed will certainly never be a part of Flores’ game. When running, he has a foot which dangles loosely leading scouts to wonder whether Flores suffered a foot injury as a child.
Wilmer Flores’ evaluations vary wildly as he was probably the most difficult player to scout in the “Sally”. One evening, he smokes Julio Teheran for two line drive singles, and the next, he goes 0-4 with three weak pop-ups to the right side. Over the course of 200 or so at bats, I witnessed the full spectrum of what Flores is capable of and remain bullish he can be an impact prospect if he is;
1. handled by the Mets organization with kid gloves
2. overhauls his swing mechanics
Both may be difficult as the Mets organization is known for rushing its top talent and Flores developed a reputation for being a bit lackadaisical both on and off the playing field. After only marginal success in 2009, I would leave him in Savannah until the 2010 all-star break before a promotion to Port St. Lucie.
22 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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