Can Wilmer Flores become Miguel Cabrera?

To say that Wilmer Flores can become the next Miguel Cabrera would be pretty foolish.  Cabrera is a Hall of Fame type talent and perennial All-Star, so comparing anyone to him is very risky.  The Flores/Cabrera comparisons have come mostly from the fact that they are both from Venezuela, both are 6’3″, and both started their minor league careers at SS.

It’s very difficult to separate the fact that Cabrera is a dominant major league hitter now and Flores is just 19, just finishing High-A ball.  However, looking at their minor league numbers and scouting reports, one could see where a true comparison can be validated.

Miguel Cabrera- (Minor league stats)

’00 GCL/NYPL (R/SS-A) 17 251 65 12 2 2 25 52 .259 .338 .347 8.8 20.7
’01 – MWL (A) 18 422 113 19 4 7 37 76 .268 .328 .382 7.9 18.0
’02- FSL (A+) 19 489 134 43 1 9 38 85 .274 .333 .421 6.9 17.3
’03 -SOU (AA) 20 266 97 29 3 10 31 49 .365 .429 .609 10.2 18.4

Wilmer Flores (minor league stats)

’08 GCL/NYPL (R/SS-A) 16 280 86 13 4 8 13 32 .307 .347 .468 4.3 13.2
’09 – SAL (A) 17 488 129 20 2 3 22 72 .264 .305 .332 4.2 14.8
’10- SAL/FSL (A/A+) 18 554 160 36 3 11 32 77 .289 .333 .424 5.4 13.9

If you look at the levels where they both played and the ages when they played in those levels, there is a striking comparison. Cabrera had higher BB% than Flores, but Cabrera also struck out at a higher rate. Cabrera took a huge leap forward when he turned 20, and mashed AA to the tune of a 1.038 OPS, resulting in a mid season call-up to the Marlins and ultimately helping them win the 2003 World Series.

When comparing their minor league numbers, Flores has the advantage in SLG%, but can Flores match Cabrera’s production as a 20 year old and beyond? Highly unlikely. The advantage Flores has is that he has reached every level Cabrera reached, but a year earlier. Flores will develop more power down the road, but to think he could develop Cabrera type power is pretty far fetched, and that’s where we just have to wait and see his progression.

Now let’s compare their scouting reports.

This Miguel Cabrera scouting report was written by John Sickels in 2003, while contributing for

Cabrera is a physical specimen. Originally a shortstop, he has outgrown the position and is now at third base. His arm is very strong and his hands aren’t bad, but his range is only average even at third base. He might end up at an outfield corner eventually, but he’ll stay at third as long as possible. He lacks pure speed, but gets a decent jump and is a fundamentally sound runner who can’t be ignored.  Scouts also like his work ethic and enthusiasm. For all those positive qualities, his bat draws the most notice. Scouts are taken with his bat speed and project excellent power to come. He makes good contact and does not strike out excessively. His strike-zone judgment is mediocre, though it’s shown signs of improving. He’ll never be a big walk machine, but he does not swing wildly and does a decent job working counts. He’s improved his ability to go with the pitch and shows good pop to all fields. He looks like a genuine Seven Skill player, if he can show range at third base. Even if his defense proves disappointing, he will be a complete hitter.

Here are some bits of Wilmer Flores’ scouting report:

Keith Law (ESPN): The ball flies off his bat, especially in BP, in which he shows the promise of future plus power, and in games he has already shown that he can square balls up against pitchers two or three years his senior. 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.

Mike Newman (scoutingthesally): 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.  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.  His contact skills and quick hands are those of a high-average hitter. With his power projections being above average, but not elite.

Toby HydeFlores 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.

The scouting reports are eerily similar, although Cabrera had the higher power ceiling, which is a huge factor.  A big question for Flores is whether he can stay on the left side of the infield?  If he is forced to move to 1B, like Cabrera, will he hit for enough power to play that position?

There is no question that Flores can hit, but his power ceiling is still being debated.  Again we are talking about a 19 year old kid, who is still growing and maturing physically.  Miguel Cabrera developed Hall of Fame type power and overall hitting ability, which is likely never to be achieved by his young country mate, but according to their minor league stats and scouting reports, the comparisons have some validity.

There are 5 comments

  1. stickguy

    obviously predicting the same level of production at a young age in the majors is a stretch. But at this point, it is a very valid comparision for similar profile players.

    This should be an interesting year for Flores. He should be getting pretty much as big as he will by now.

    Assume he starts out in PSL again, and see how the D looks. Make the decision there as to where his future lies positionally. Then put him at that spot.

    If his bat takes off like I expect it will, move him to AA if/when he is totally dominating for a decent stretch of games, and his new position is working out OK (I would not hesitate to keep him in PSL working at defense even if his bat has earned him a promotion).

    If he tastes Bingo by the end of the year, great, but if not, figure he could be starting there in 2012. And if thta happens, he could easily be on the Wright path (kick arse for 2-3 months, and bring him on up if there is a positino to fill).

    Too bad Bay will be clogging up LF for years to come, but at least RF seems to be fair game. And with so many COF types in the minors (flores, Duda, maybe Kirk), logic says that ALderson will keep RF semi-open (as in, no multi-year signings).

    1. NateW

      Weird article with the premise at the start being countered the whole way through. At this point the numbers do suggest he will become the next Miguel Cabrera. How about the evidence that supports the idea that he wont be? There should be plenty of similar comps who turned out to be average or mediocre players. But the whole article supports the idea that he could be Cabrera, odd.

      I definately agree with you stick on keeping RF open. Besides SS I dont see the Mets signing any notable position players in the next few years. Unless the right catcher comes along maybe… And thats been a real formula for winning with small market teams, so why not give it a try with some big market money to spend on pitching.

      You left Fernando Martinez out of your list of potential young OF help… how far off the radar he has fallen is surprising.

      1. Michael Diaz

        Nate, thanks for commenting and reading. The basis of the opening statement is that it is very dangerous comparing Major League stars to minor leaguers, and I made that clear in the opening. The comparisons that have been drawn, which are stated in the 1st paragraph, are mainly physically. I am merely stating that those comps can be validated in numbers and scouting reports. Do I think he will become the player Miguel Cabrera is, highly unlikely. Their paths are very similar, and so there is a chance he could equal or exceed Cabrera’s ability. Other players could have had similar #s and reports, but I am strictly talking about Flores. So I don’t understand the statement “weird” article, but thanks for reading and commenting.

      2. NateW

        Its weird because you didnt support your premise much, and supported the counter arguement very well. Which I found confusing.

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