Flores Locked In

ST. LUCIE, FL - Once considered one of the top 100 Prospects in the game from 2009-2011, inconsistencies ultimately kept Wilmer Flores off such rankings prior to 2012. He got the memo. Starting at third base for the high-A St. Lucie Mets, Flores has broken out and cast all doubts aside, leading to a 2012 All-Star selection this season. This can be attributed to one word: focus.

In preparation for the 2012 season, Flores sought to keep himself in shape while improving his skill set.

"I played winter ball and after that I practiced on my own at my house, sometimes with other players," Flores said. "I concentrated on my defense and footwork and just kept it going with my offense. I also added a little weight."

Flores maintained his persistent work ethic throughout Spring Training. Aside from continuing to improve his footwork defensively, Flores felt uncomfortable at the plate and felt the need to make the proper adjustments on his timing.

"I'm always working on my defense, but this past Spring Training I was struggling with my offense and started working on it a lot because my timing was a little off," he admitted. I worked a lot with the tee."

In 2009, 2010, and 2011 Flores' batting average was .264, .289, and .269 respectively. His home run totals also fluctuated from three in 2009, to eleven in 2010, and nine in 2011. Flores' dedication to offensive development throughout Spring Training can be ascribed to his pursuit of more consistent results.

Flores' hard work has led to a revelation in 2012 with improved numbers all around.

When asked what the difference was this season as opposed to last, Flores replied, "concentrating every at bat. Last year I wasn't going to the plate with a plan. For me it's about concentration, knowing what I'm going to do, not just go and swing."

This mature approach has undoubtedly paid off, leading to consistency and improved results. The 20-year-old Flores is currently batting .330 with nearly a third of his hits falling for extra bases.

His on-base percentage is an impressive .371 and he has already surpassed his home run total from last season. This emergence of power has placed Flores atop the league with ten home runs this season, putting him on pace to hit over 20 in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.

Having a plan for each at-bat, along with persistent focus, is key for Flores. Hitting coach, Benny Distefano, highlighted his preparation and approach.

"He's a young man that knows himself very well for a young hitter," Distefano said. "He knows what to do to prepare and he is a lot more consistent about what he does. His work habits are consistent. He knows his swing and not many young hitters at his age know that."

St. Lucie Manager, Ryan Ellis, also spoke of his approach.

"He's free and easy but stays the same no matter what," Ellis added. "I couldn't tell you if he was 20 for his last 20 or 0 for his last 20."

The potential was always there for Flores. His BABIP in 2009, 2010, and 2011 was .301, .317, .291 respectively, so he was making contact and putting the ball in play. In addition, his strikeout percentage declined each year from 13.6%, to 13.0%, to 12.2%.

By demonstrating quick hands and knowledge of the strike zone, Flores' increased focus and steady approach this season has led to an astoundingly low strikeout percentage of 8.6% and a BABIP of .313. By putting more balls in play, his enhanced power has led to more extra bases and home runs.

Both Ellis and Distefano noted Flores' potential and what he needs to do to build on his success.

Ellis maintains that Flores has grown as a ball player while continuing to work on his approach at the plate.

"He's more mature and has a knack for the strike zone," Ellis said. "He has a good consistent two-strike approach and is working at a high level. He needs to stay within himself."

"He's learning to drive the ball with authority on a more consistent basis," Distefano acknowledged. "And that's something that he's figured out and knows how to repeat it.

"What's interesting about him is that he doesn't swing and miss a lot. He fouls them off or keeps them in play. That's a gift and ability that he has. He has a chance to be a very successful Major League hitter."

Ellis described Flores' play on the field in three words: smart, collected, and dedicated.

"He's like a soft and tense. He's a quiet assassin if you will. You look at him and you're like 'okay', but he gets up there and he does his job."

Batting primarily in the third and fourth spot of the lineup, Flores has gotten the job done and is making a statement. He is becoming a power hitter that doesn't strikeout.

Overall he is fifth in the Florida State League with a .330 batting average, tied for first in home runs with ten, ranked fourth with 34 RBIs, is second in the league with a .543 slugging percentage, and second in total bases with 102. His outstanding play has earned him a 2012 All-Star selection.

Flores says that he doesn't have a goal this season, but instead emphasizes the importance of work ethic.

"I go day by day, at-bat by at-bat. And you'll see the results," Flores said.

We certainly have.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIn preparation for the 2012 season, Flores sought to keep himself in shape while improving his skill set.
\r\n
\r\n\"I played winter ball and after that I practiced on my own at my house, sometimes with other players,\" Flores said. \"I concentrated on my defense and footwork and just kept it going with my offense. I also added a little weight.\"
\r\n
\r\nFlores maintained his persistent work ethic throughout Spring Training. Aside from continuing to improve his footwork defensively, Flores felt uncomfortable at the plate and felt the need to make the proper adjustments on his timing.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always working on my defense, but this past Spring Training I was struggling with my offense and started working on it a lot because my timing was a little off,\" he admitted. I worked a lot with the tee.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 2009, 2010, and 2011 Flores' batting average was .264, .289, and .269 respectively. His home run totals also fluctuated from three in 2009, to eleven in 2010, and nine in 2011. Flores' dedication to offensive development throughout Spring Training can be ascribed to his pursuit of more consistent results.
\r\n
\r\nFlores' hard work has led to a revelation in 2012 with improved numbers all around.
\r\n
\r\nWhen asked what the difference was this season as opposed to last, Flores replied, \"concentrating every at bat. Last year I wasn't going to the plate with a plan. For me it's about concentration, knowing what I'm going to do, not just go and swing.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis mature approach has undoubtedly paid off, leading to consistency and improved results. The 20-year-old Flores is currently batting .330 with nearly a third of his hits falling for extra bases.
\r\n
\r\nHis on-base percentage is an impressive .371 and he has already surpassed his home run total from last season. This emergence of power has placed Flores atop the league with ten home runs this season, putting him on pace to hit over 20 in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.
\r\n
\r\nHaving a plan for each at-bat, along with persistent focus, is key for Flores. Hitting coach, Benny Distefano, highlighted his preparation and approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a young man that knows himself very well for a young hitter,\" Distefano said. \"He knows what to do to prepare and he is a lot more consistent about what he does. His work habits are consistent. He knows his swing and not many young hitters at his age know that.\"
\r\n
\r\nSt. Lucie Manager, Ryan Ellis, also spoke of his approach.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's free and easy but stays the same no matter what,\" Ellis added. \"I couldn't tell you if he was 20 for his last 20 or 0 for his last 20.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe potential was always there for Flores. His BABIP in 2009, 2010, and 2011 was .301, .317, .291 respectively, so he was making contact and putting the ball in play. In addition, his strikeout percentage declined each year from 13.6%, to 13.0%, to 12.2%.
\r\n
\r\nBy demonstrating quick hands and knowledge of the strike zone, Flores' increased focus and steady approach this season has led to an astoundingly low strikeout percentage of 8.6% and a BABIP of .313. By putting more balls in play, his enhanced power has led to more extra bases and home runs.
\r\n
\r\nBoth Ellis and Distefano noted Flores' potential and what he needs to do to build on his success.
\r\n
\r\nEllis maintains that Flores has grown as a ball player while continuing to work on his approach at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's more mature and has a knack for the strike zone,\" Ellis said. \"He has a good consistent two-strike approach and is working at a high level. He needs to stay within himself.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's learning to drive the ball with authority on a more consistent basis,\" Distefano acknowledged. \"And that's something that he's figured out and knows how to repeat it.
\r\n
\r\n\"What's interesting about him is that he doesn't swing and miss a lot. He fouls them off or keeps them in play. That's a gift and ability that he has. He has a chance to be a very successful Major League hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nEllis described Flores' play on the field in three words: smart, collected, and dedicated.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's like a soft and tense. He's a quiet assassin if you will. You look at him and you're like 'okay', but he gets up there and he does his job.\"
\r\n
\r\nBatting primarily in the third and fourth spot of the lineup, Flores has gotten the job done and is making a statement. He is becoming a power hitter that doesn't strikeout.
\r\n
\r\nOverall he is fifth in the Florida State League with a .330 batting average, tied for first in home runs with ten, ranked fourth with 34 RBIs, is second in the league with a .543 slugging percentage, and second in total bases with 102. His outstanding play has earned him a 2012 All-Star selection.
\r\n
\r\nFlores says that he doesn't have a goal this season, but instead emphasizes the importance of work ethic.
\r\n
\r\n\"I go day by day, at-bat by at-bat. And you'll see the results,\" Flores said.
\r\n
\r\nWe certainly have.
\r\n
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