Backman Says Flores Will Hit, Black Has Made Progress, deGrom Will Impress

An article by posted on May 9, 2014

wally backman

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News spoke to Triple-A manager Wally Backman on Thursday, and the fiery skipper told her that shortstop Wilmer Flores is on a mission to hit and if he’s given the playing time that’s exactly what he’ll do.

“Ever since I have had him in 2011, he has been a run producer,” said Backman of Flores, who was hitting .307 with five doubles, a triple and five home runs for the 51s. He had 25 RBI in 126 plate appearances. “He can hit. I don’t know what the plans are for how they are going to use him, but if he’s given the chance, Flo can hit.”

Regarding Jacob deGrom, who may be nearing a promotion to the Mets, Backman shrugged off his recent rough outing on Wednesday when he allowed five runs in five innings. “It was cold and wet here,” Backman told Ackert. “He had some trouble, but he’s been very good.”

Las Vegas pitching coach Tom Signore recently spoke about deGrom as well citing how the development of his changeup is the biggest reason for his success this season. “I was impressed with his changeup. Much better than last year. It has made him viable.”

“One of his strengths is command of the strike zone. He’s very good when he’s ahead in the count, at making a pitch no matter what, especially his slider going from being a strike to ball. He gets a lot of swings on pitches that are out of the zone.”

Backman is also extremely impressed with right-handed reliever Vic Black and lefty reliever Josh Edgin.

Black, who was recently named the team’s closer and quickly racked up four saves. “is really making progress,” says Backman. Edgin, who has pitched 3.1 scoreless in five appearances, has also made progress.

“The good things is that if there is a need with the major league club you have guys down here that are getting ready to help,” Backman said.

It’s great to see the pride Backman takes in developing his young players and preparing them for the majors. I’m glad that he continues to remain with the organization, he’s a tremendous asset..

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