In yesterday’s Ask BA, Jim Callis revisited the decision to leave Wilmer Flores off the magazine’s South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects list.
He was on some of the earlier versions of the list, but after Bill Ballew talked to more scouts and managers while putting together the Top 20, Flores wound up just missing out.
Flores’ bat is obviously his best tool, but SAL observers knocked the rest of his game. He’s not going to stay at shortstop, and some scouts questioned whether he’d be able to play third base because he has below-average speed and agility. There were concerns about him giving less than full effort at times. Flores spent last year in the SAL as well—he ranked 10th on last year’s Top 20—and it’s possible that SAL observers expected more improvement out of him this year.
…In contrast to our organization rankings and overall Top 100 Prospects list, our minor league Top 20s factor in league context. They’re a narrower look at how a player performed in that league, and scouts and managers in one circuit can view a player differently than others who see him elsewhere. Flores is a perfect case in point, because when our Florida State League Top 20 comes out on Wednesday, he’ll rank 10th.
FSL observers dwelled on Flores’ bat speed and ability to make hard contact more than his shortcomings. They too worried that he might wind up at first base, but they believed more in his offensive promise and didn’t have any concerns about how hard he played.
I get the defensive concerns and the demands such a move off of short would create for his offensive game. I understand too why some scouts might not have him cut out for third. The bottom line is that the SAL Top 20 list had a couple of shaky defensive third basemen ranked over Flores, so while Callis’ argument is strong in the abstract, it misses the specifics of this case. Also, I’ve never understood the context issue around BA’s League rankings. Anyway, more later today when Flo makes the FSL Top 10.