Scouting Mets' Prospect # 9: Jesus Flores

Even with less than 200 professional at-bats, Jesus Flores is already considered one of the best all around catching prospects in the Mets' farm system. As advanced as he is defensively, some scouts have said he's ready for the Major Leagues behind the plate already. For this reason, Jesus Flores ranks #9 among the Top 50 Mets' prospects.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jesus Flores
Position: Catcher
DOB: November 26, 1984
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Remember this name: Jesus Flores. Just 20 years old, Flores appears close to stepping on the fast track to Flushing, as he's earning rave reviews from scouts and teammates with impressive regularity.

Already built like a major league player at 6-1 and 185 pounds, Flores has been compared by professional scouts to Detroit's Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez – no light compliment for a backstop with just 147 professional at-bats.

"It's not even close," said one National League scout. "He's the whole package. Flores is obviously not a runner, but he's the best defensive catchers in the system. He has a cannon for an arm, can hit for average, for power. He's got all the tools in place to be a major league catcher. Now it is really up to him. Flores is a front-line catcher all the way."

Flores broke in professionally with the Gulf Coast Mets last season and batted .319 with four home runs and 25 RBI in 141 at-bats, displaying ability to hit to all fields with power. Finishing the summer playing at Coney Island with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Flores flashed bright signs defensively as well, blocking skidding pitches with ease and ripping off effortless rockets to first base and second base.

"He has the ability to block anything and throw out any runner," No. 7 prospect Gaby Hernandez said. "He hits for power. He hits the other way. He's just a complete player. I've never seen a catcher like him anywhere in the major leagues." "Flores looks like a major leaguer right now," No. 33 prospect Mike Carp added. "He's built like a stud. He can do a lot of things on a baseball field. He's really good defensively and can absolutely crush the ball. He was our team MVP last year [at Gulf Coast] and is going to be a real good player quickly."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Brooklyn

.333

6

2

1

3

1

0

0

1

.333

.333

2004

Gulf Coast

.319

141

45

4

25

16

1

8

26

.368

.532


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Considering his age and lack of experience, Flores has a very mature approach at the plate. He's able to hit the ball to all fields and works deep into the counts already. It's his pitch recognition and selectivity while hitting that makes him a very projectable hitter. Flores has excellent power to all fields and projects to be a middle of the order hitter down the road.

Base Running and Speed. It is definitely the weakest part of his offensive game but he has good speed for a catcher. Flores is a gamer with a great base running instincts but is not likely to become a force on the base paths.

Defense. As good a hitter as he already is and projects to be, Flores is already considered to be the best defensive catchers in the Mets' farm system. He has one of the quickest releases going on pick off moves to first base and throws over to second. He receives the ball really well and is an absolute wall at blocking balls in the dirt. Flores has already received comparisons to Ivan Rodriguez for his fantastic defensive ability and some scouts say he's ready for the Majors right now based just on his defense.

Projection. Flores, who just turned 20 years old in November and has less than 150 professional at-bats in the Mets' system, projects to be the #1 catching prospect for the Mets for his all around game. While the Mets have some good defensive catching prospects in Joe Hietpas and Aaron Hathaway, and a good offensive catcher in Michael Jacobs, Flores is the complete package. He can do it all and with a lot more coaching ahead of him, it is downright scary how good he'll be in his prime. The Ivan Rodriguez comparisons also extend to his offensive potential as well as Flores projects to be a starting catcher who will hit in the heart of the order. The skills are there. The rest is up to Flores.

ETA. 2008. Flores is so advanced offensively and defensively, the Mets are going to be tempted to challenge him immediately. Flores should be the Opening Day catcher for the Hagerstown Suns in low-A ball in 2005 and if he progresses like he should, he should be on a timetable that has him reaching the Majors by 2008. With All-Star type talent, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Flores could make a meteoric rise through the system much like David Wright and Jose Reyes.

Catchers

2004 Team

Michael Jacobs

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Joe Hietpas

AA - Binghamton Mets

Zach Clements A - St. Lucie Mets
Brandon Wilson A - St. Lucie Mets
Yunir Garcia A - Capital City Bombers
Jimmy Anderson A - Capital City Bombers
Aaron Hathaway A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Danilo Reynoso A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Stacy Bennett A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Rafael Arroyo R - Kingsport Mets
Luis Santanta R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Flores R - GCL Mets


Comments

The drafting of Aaron Hathaway and the emergence of Jesus Flores made Justin Huber more expendable in the Mets' eyes this past season. Huber was a nice catcher with decent upside offensively but they already had a guy like that in Michael Jacobs. With the likes of Joe Hietpas, Hathaway, and Flores, the Mets already have three catching prospects that project to be everyday catchers down the road. The Mets also have a few other good catching prospects that project be good reserve catchers, giving the Mets' farm system excellent depth at this position.

1) Michael Jacobs - Jacobs, who had a coming out party offensively in 2003, missed most of the 2004 season with a torn labrum that effected his hitting more than his throwing. Jacobs has good power and an excellent eye at the plate. Like Huber, he needs to work on his defense behind the plate and may continue splitting time between first base and catching duties to get his bat in the lineup.

2) Joe Hietpas - Hietpas is one of the best defensive catchers, not only in the Mets' farm system, but in all of professional baseball. He continually amazes coaches and scouts alike for his defensive prowess and turned even more heads in the Arizona Fall League this past season. He has more offensive potential than he's shown thus far and is ready to prove it at the plate. Hietpas just needs the consistent at-bats to showcase his skills.

3) Zachary Clements - Like Hietpas, Clements is loved by the organization for his ability to call a game and for his defensive skills. He too just needs the consistent at-bats to better himself offensively. He hit .313 for St. Lucie this past season and has shown decent pop in his bat. Clements has good speed for a catcher, showing excellent athleticism behind the plate and on the base paths.

4) Brandon Wilson - Wilson is strong defensively but he's progressed a little more slowly offensively. He has a strong arm and blocks balls well behind the plate. He's going to find a hard time finding enough at-bats with other catchers garnering more interest for their offensive potential.

5) Yunir Garcia - 2004 was Garcia's breakout season offensively. He had always shown great defensive ability in the past and the Mets were waiting for his bat to catch up. Garcia clubbed 10 home runs for the Bombers this past season while showing good selectivity at the plate. He has an excellent chance of becoming a reserve catcher in the Majors someday.

6) Jimmy Anderson - Anderson fits in the same mold as Clements and Hietpas, an excellent catcher defensively that has not put it all together offensively. He's going to have to put up the solid numbers to overtake the likes of Hietpas, Hathaway, Clements, and Flores in the fight for consistent at-bats.

7) Aaron Hathaway - Despite just 39 professional games under his belt, Hathaway has already make a name for himself as a shutdown catcher. He has one of the fastest releases among all the Mets' catching prospects and a very accurate arm. He has a good eye at the plate and good gap power. His presence has deepen an already crowded stock of catching prospects.

8) Danilo Reynoso - Like Brandon Wilson, Reynoso has a tough task ahead of him. He's going to have put up good numbers despite not getting very many at-bats if he's to take away opportunities from the catching prospects ahead of him on the depth chart.

9) Stacey Bennett - Bennett has more offensive potential than he's shown in his short career thus far. He does have the ability to play other positions and he just may need to move to another position and it appears unlikely he's going to play ahead of the likes of Hathaway, Garcia, and Flores.

10) Rafael Arroyo - Arroyo, like most of the Mets' catching prospects, is solid defensively. He's a little too small to put up with the rigors of everyday catching duties. At 5'8" and 175 lbs, his size may be his one downfall.

11) Luis Santana - He's the lower-level version of Wilson and Reynoso, meaning he's going to have a hard time finding consistent at-bats, enough to make his mark offensively.

12) Jesus Flores - He's the catching prospect in the Mets' system that has the highest upside. He can catch, throw, hit for power and average, and a whole lot more. He has plus tools in all areas except run well. It's still way early but he has the look of a Pudge Rodriguez, offensively and defensively. He has all the tools. He just needs to go out and prove it.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories