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Flores Begins his Move Towards Citi Field



By Jed Weisberger ~ July 29th, 2010. Filed under: Mets Minors.

Obviously he won’t be arriving in Queens next week, but the Mets prospect who has been a bit overlooked this season is beginning to make major progress.

While Jenrry Mejia was debated, Reese Havens sidelined and Nick Evans left to bide his time in Binghamton (he was finally recalled recently), shortstop Wilmer Flores is flourishing.

He’s still only 19, but he’s showing the Class A Advanced Florida State League is not much of a challenge, hitting .345 (49-for-142) with 20 RBIs in 33 games with St. Lucie. The native of Valencia, Venezuela has committed eight errors ion 32 starts at shortstop.

There have been times when Flores’ game, for one reason or another, has been criticized. You know what? I give the kid a pass on all of that because he was placed in a ridiculous situation.

The Mets’ way under the former farm-system regime was to rush young prospects like Flores, who took his first swing in Class-A South Atlantic League at 17 after  debuting at Kingsport of the Appalachian League at 16.

He also was the only Mets prospect ever to play at Brooklyn at age 17.

The youngster held his own at both Kingsport, where he hit .310 (76-for-245) and Brooklyn, where he batted .267 (8-for-30) in just eight games, but playing in the Sally League as an 18-year-old for the most part in 2009 was unfair to him.

For the first few years of his career, this infielder with a lot of potential power, signed by scouts Robert Alfonzo and Ismael Cruz with a $750,000 bonus, was the youngest player in his respective league.

Finally, after hitting .264 (129-for-488) at savannah last season, Flores returned there and batted .278 (77-for-277). Some said he appeared bored at times. I did not see him play this season, so I can’t say.

However, the verdict was he needed a change of scenery, and the Mets gave the 2009 Futures Game participant, who had last been an All-Star in the Appalachian League,  a mid-season promotion  to St. Lucie.

Reports indicate the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Flores is playing the best ball of his career and, with an OPS of .821 and rising, is performing against tougher pitching.

Maybe it’s good that everyone talked about Mejia and the rest of that group this season and let Flores, as blue-chip a prospect as the Mets have in their system, get his game together.

Flores has the type of bat that potentially could hit for power to all fields, a good arm and the type of soft hands needed. He has, like Pittsburgh rookie outfielder Jose Tabata, a thick lower body and is a below-average runner.

He is getting stronger, as indicated by his Florida State League performance and is staying healthy. With a balky quad sidelining Havens for much of the season, Flores, who also could play second and third, is putting himself into the picture.

If Flores finishes the Florida State League season strong, there is little reason he can’t open 2011 at Double-A Binghamton.

METS FARM SYSTEM REVIEW (As of Wednesday July 28)

BUFFALO (51-49; Triple-A) – With Mike Hessman even getting a deserved call-up, this club no longer looks like a playoff contender. Outfielder-DH Lucas Duda is batting .313 (42-for-134) with 12 homers in 36 games.  Lefty Pat Misch (9-4, 3.44) is likely the lone other Bisons player worthy of a call-up.

BINGHAMTON (53-51); Double-A) – With 38 games left in the Eastern League season, it’s doubtful the B-Mets could snare a playoff berth from Trenton or New Hampshire.  Manager Tim Teufel’s team is decimated by injuries, with outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis having an All-Star season at .294 (108-for-367) with 16 homers and 58 RBIs.

ST. LUCIE (50-50; Single-A) – Flores aside, the work of lefty Robert Carson (7-5, 4.17) and righty Eric Beaulac (5-2, 3.48) has been commendable.

SAVANNAH (55-47; Single-A) – The SAL South first-half champions still have still have some punch. Infielder Jefry Marte, batting .354 (29-for-82) in July is playing his best baseball since signing with the Mets and is batting .264 (87-for-329) with six homers and 44 RBIs overall.

BROOKLYN (25-13; Single-A) – The Cyclones had an excellent first half in the NY-P, led by outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, who is batting a league-leading .389 (58-for-149).  Lefty Angel Cuan is 4-0, 1.50 with a strikeout/walk ratio of 31-9.

KINGSPORT (17-19; Rookie) – Shortstop Justin Schafer is batting a solid .324 (35-for-108).  Lefty reliever T.J. Chism is 3-0, 0.79 in 12 appearances.

GCL METS (15-16; Rookie) – Outfielder Julio Concepcion is batting .311 (33-for-106).

DSL METS 1 (27-19; Rookie) – Outfielder Eudy Pina is batting .337 (55-for-163) with 32 RBIs.

DSL METS 2 (28-21; Rookie) – Righty reliever Marcos Gonzalez is 2-0, 1.13 with two saves.

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

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2 Responses to Flores Begins his Move Towards Citi Field

  1. dallas

    So whats going on with Havens? He has been out for like 7 weeks! Does anyone know if he is close to returning yet? Seems like a long time for a muscle strain, is it something more serious?

  2. Mike Silva

    Dallas

    That is the ultimate mystery why he can’t stay healthy. If he could I think he would be already in the big leagues.

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