Mets fans who follow their Minor League system have heard the name Wilmer Flores for a very long time. Ever since he signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2007, a good amount of us have been waiting with baited breath for the kid to make his splash in Flushing. Though without a true position, Flores should be cannonballing into the Majors sometime in 2013 after a successful season at two levels of the organization.
Flores made his professional debut at age 16 in 2008 for three different levels, the majority of which was for the Kingsport Mets, the Rookie squad of the franchise (he only played 8 games for Brooklyn and 1 game for Savannah.) Between the three, though, he batted .307 with a .347 OBP and a .468 SLG. He hit 8 HR and drove in 42 runs with 13 walks and 37 strikeouts in 302 PA. While he struggled a bit with his AVG in 2009 Low-A Savannah and 2011 High-A St. Lucie, batting at .264 and .269, respectively, it has been clear the kid can hit. He has just needed professional experience.
Flores started 2012 in High-A St. Lucie and quickly put his 2011 struggles behind him, hitting .289 with 10 HR and 42 RBI in 64 games at the level. He posted a .336 OBP, a .459 SLG, with 18 BB and 30 SO in 272 PA. He was promoted to AA Binghamton in June and was just as good if not better, batting .311 with 8 HR and 33 RBI in 66 games. He had a .361 OBP, a .494 SLG, with 20 walks and 30 SO in 275 PA. What impresses me most about the kid so far is his relatively low Strikeout percentage at 10.9. Couple that with his .326 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play), up from only .286 in St. Lucie, put simply: he sees the ball, he hits the ball, and his power is on it’s way. At age 21, it is very possible, with the lack of productive bats around David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, we will see this kid at Citi Field in 2013. What position he will be playing is a completely different story.
While he has split time over the years between 3rd, 2nd, and short, many scouts have sited his lack of speed and athleticism as reasons why he will eventually be moved from those positions. They also, however, site his soft hands and good arm. While the lack of speed (3 SB this year, all in St. Lucie) is an issue for an outfield position, could he really take worse routes to the ball than Lucas Duda? Plus, his arm would be an asset at the corner outfield positions. If his bat makes better adjustments than The Duda’s has so far in his Big League career, it is not out of the realm of possibility that we see Wilmer Flores in right or left field in 2013. A good amount of u certainly hope he continues to be blocked at 3rd over the next several years.
The New York Metropolitans and us fans are dying for more production from the lineup, especially after the unfathomable lack thereof in the 2nd half. Wilmer Flores might be just what the doctor, and a potential David Wright long-term contract, ordered.
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