Height/Weight: 6’3”, 200lbs
Acquired: NDFA (8/6/07)
Born: 8/6/91 (Valencia, VZ)
2011 Rank: 3
Why Ranked Here: Flores slips down from #3 a year ago because he did not answer any of the long-term questions about his game, and the top of the system improved fairly dramatically.
Yes, he has the potential to rebound and move up this list in a year with a good season. Again, as he has been throughout his professional career, he was young, very young for his league. According to Minor League Central, he was the fifth-youngest player in the Florida State League and the 11th youngest overall in advanced-A.
Lets start with what Flores does well: he makes contact. Thanks to really good hands, he puts the barrel of the bat on the ball as well as almost any minor leaguer I’ve seen. Among all high-a players in 2011 with more than 300 plate appearances at the level, Flores had the 17th lowest strikeout rate, while being the youngest player among the top 24 and the second-youngest among the top 100. That contact ability suggests that he’ll always be able to hit for a high average.
So, the ability to hit for average is a good start for a hitter, right? Yes, but it’s not enough. Flores has shown little ability to either hit for power, or draw walks in game situations. His extra-base hit rate declined from 2010 (8.4%) to 2011 (6.6%). His walk did too. On the walk-rate at least there are a few positive developments. He drew more walks in the Florida State League in 2011 than he did in 2010 and was very patient (11%) in the Venezeuelan Winter League in 2011.
Why are we so worried about Wilmer Flores’ secondary skills when MLB short stops hit just .263/.317/.380 as a group in 2011? Regular readers know where we’re going by now. He’s not a major league defender at short. He just doesn’t have the range. As I’ve written before, the shame of the matter is that he has the hands and arm for the position, just not the feet.
Where will he end up? Great question. If he can land (and stick) at third, fantastic. If he slides all the way down to first, well he’s going to have to hit for a lot more power than he’s even shown.
2011: Flores turned 20 in August and hit just .269/.309/.380 for advanced-A St. Lucie as one of the Florida State League’s youngest players.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A very good third baseman who makes multiple all-star teams based on his ability to hit for average, and who grows into doubles and (~20) home run power.
Projected 2012 Start: Projecting Flores’ 2012 start is as hard as any player in the system. He’s been at St. Lucie for a year and a half, but his numbers don’t scream, “ready for double-A.” I really think there’s almost an even chance that he breaks camp in AA-Binghamton or heads back to St. Lucie for another few months.
MLB Arrival: 2014
|2010 – SAL||277||77||18||2||7||23||37||.278||.342||.433|
|2010 – FSL||277||83||18||1||4||9||40||.300||.325||.415|
|2010 – Total||554||160||36||3||11||32||77||.289||.334||.424|
|2011 – FSL||516||139||26||2||9||27||68||.269||.309||.380|
|2010 – SAL||8.8||12.1||7.5||2.3||.298||.155|
|2010 – FSL||8.0||13.8||3.1||1.4||.338||.116|
|2010 – Total||8.4||12.9||5.4||1.8||.318||.135|
|2011 – FSL||6.6||12.2||4.8||1.6||.291||.110|