Wilmer Flores Is No Miguel Cabrera

An article by posted on February 22, 2012

Jim Callis and a couple of other Baseball America writers took questions yesterday in their ?Top 100 Prospects Chat. You can read the entire transcript here.

Here’s a few questions they fielded about the Mets followed by my thoughts:

Jim, an org ranking question – about where would you rank the Mets’ farm system? I remember reading you wrote 10-15 but based on this list it seems like they’ll be more 20-25.

Jim Callis: I always seem to estimate high during the season. They were No. 24 in our preliminary rankings in the Prospect Handbook, and the A’s will move ahead of them after all their trades and the Cespedes signing.

Was Jeurys Familia any close to making the list?

Jim Callis: One of the eight editors voted him in their Top 100, and two others listed him in their 101-150 range. So not particularly close for Familia. …

Didn’t Wilmer Flores make the list – what happened to him? Is he the NEXT Miguel Cabrera?

J.J. Cooper: He’s not the next Miguel Cabrera. At Flores’ age, the current Miguel Cabrera was a solid big leaguer, Flores is looking to get out of high Class A. The bat isn’t as special as we once thought, and although he’s listed as a shortstop, there’s a decent chance he ends up at first base long term.

Regarding Flores, let me expand on what Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper said. This is what I believe happened:

His Youth: Too many scouts and minor league experts were giving Flores a little too much credit for usually being one of the younger players at each level. So on top of the normal expectations for any prospect, Flores stood out because he was a 17-year old competing against 19-20-year olds. I guess that’s okay to do for the first couple of years, but at some point the player has two stand and deliver on his own two feet, and the fact of the matter is that he owns the numbers he was putting up.

His Position: Another thing that made Flores’ production stand out was that he was playing at the shortstop position – where great offensive talents are hard to come by. Now most scouts knew the chances were slim that Flores would stick at short, but it was in the Mets best interest to keep trotting him out there to boost his value. That experiment is now over and Flores has already begun the transition to third base where a .689 OPS falls far short of expectations. There’s nothing to get excited about here.

His Development: The third thing to consider is how negligible his improvement has been over the years. The power everyone expected to emerge never materialized, and suddenly those Miguel Cabrera comparisons faded away along with Flores’ top billing as the Mets best prospect. In 559 PA last season for St. Lucie, Flores hit just nine home runs to go with a .380 SLG, the worst showing in his four minor league seasons – and at a level he was repeating.

Bottom Line: I’m sorry to break it to you, but this is the resume of a fringe player at best. The age argument doesn’t explain his lack of improvement over the years.

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