Mets Top Prospect Wilmer Flores, Left Off SAL Top 20

An article by posted on October 7, 2010

The Mets current number one prospect in the organization is shortstop Wilmer Flores a non-drafted free agent signed out of Venezuela. Last winter, Mejia knocked Fernando Martinez out of the top spot on the Mets prospect list after batting .264 with three homeruns and 36 RBI in 528 plate appearances with the Sand Gnats.

This season, Flores began the season in Low-A before being promoted to Single-A St. Lucie where he batted .300 with four home runs and 40 RBI in 290 plate appearances. 

Flores has very little speed and has just nine stolen bases in his last three minor league seasons.

On Monday, Jim Callis of Baseball America explained why he decided to leave Flores off the 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.

It’s a little surprising to me that for as highly as the Mets have regarded Flores since signing him as a 16-year old in 2008, that he wouldn’t even rank in the Top 20 of his league, let alone the entire Single A level.

I’m not a scout so I can’t really weigh in on why someone so young and unpolished would quickly claim the top spot in the Mets organizational rankings, but maybe one of our readers who might know something more, can shed a little light on the disparity between Flores’ production and how the Mets view him.

I also tend to see that many of the top Mets prospects like Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, etc. always seem to have the reputation of being good hitters, but bad defensively. I always wonder why these types of players would be targeted by a Mets organization that seems to always talk a big game about defense both when the Mets played in Shea and also now in the even larger Cit Field. I would hope that in future drafts we can stock the farm with more athletic players who can do more than just swing a big bat.

UPDATE 7:00 PM

Reader metsrock128 was good enough to inform us that Wilmer Flores was just ranked number 10 on the FSL top 20 by Baseball America today.

Actually as metsrock says, it’s better to be on FSL top 20 than the SAL top 20.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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