Flores Becoming A Complete Player

Written off by many critics after struggling in the South Atlantic League a year ago, despite breaking his hand, Jesus Flores is proving all of critics wrong with St. Lucie this season. Becoming a more complete player, Flores credits Gary Carter and his coaching staff for the marked improvements to his game.

"I felt really good going into big league camp last year," Jesus Flores told InsidePitchMagazine.com through the help of a translator, "but when I got that injury, I felt I had such a setback. I wasn't where I wanted to be. What I've been able to do this year is what I wanted for last season. All I can do is build on what I've done now and look forward to the future."

Breaking his hand in the final Spring Training game against the Washington Nationals a year ago, Flores struggled upon returning to the Hagerstown Suns in May, hitting just .216 with seven home runs in 82 games.

"In a way it did effect me most of the year," Flores said of his broken hand in 2005. "[The injury] made me very timid behind the plate, especially blocking balls. There were times I was afraid and there were times where there was some pain. Now I'm strong and healthy. I don't feel any pain in the hand anymore and so far I'm doing well."

Doing "well", as Flores puts it, might be one of the bigger understatements this year. After going 5-5 with two more home runs in a double-header against Palm Beach on Tuesday night, he is now hitting .266 with 31 doubles and 19 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.

"Everything's going great so far this year," Flores admitted. "I've had some great coaches that have helped me very, very much. I just thank God that I've been staying healthy. So far everything is going great. I'm just happy that I have a great coach like Gary Carter to help me. He's a former catcher and he helps me out a lot."

One of the rising managerial stars in the game, former Met great Gary Carter has helped turn Jesus Flores into a leader on the field and he helped him ignite that inner-fire within him to become a better overall player.

"Gary's trying to instill in me to be a leader on the field," said the 21-year old catcher, "just to be an overall strong leader. He's making me a strong-willed person and to be an intelligent catcher."

"He's taught me to work my very best with the pitchers, to learn the pitchers - their strengths as well as their weaknesses - so I can call a better game. Overall he's just taught me to be more intelligent and be a leader in the clubhouse as well as out on the field."

While the offensive stats he has put up are clear evidence of his turnaround, Flores believes he has made bigger strides in his defensive game.

"Throwing out base runners," Flores listed as the area where he believes he has improved the most. "I've really gotten strong with that as well as blocking balls in the dirt. That was one of my main concerns coming into this year and I've done very well at throwing out base runners."

In fact, finally healthy and not timid behind the plate, Flores believes he is right where he wants to be on the defensive side of the ball.

"Defensively I feel like I'm doing very well," said the Venezuelan native. "I'm right where I want to be. But as a hitter, I think I need to be a lot more disciplined so that I can be able to establish myself as a guy who can take more base on balls. Overall I want better patience at the plate and that's my main concern. Right now I'm having trouble with the breaking ball."

With just 27 walks and striking out an alarming 123 times in just 117 games, learning to be more selective at the plate has been the mantra for Jesus Flores and the Mets this season.

But while that remains a focus, many can't help but look at his 50 extra-base hits this season and get excited about Flores' future.

"If you look at most of my hits, they've all been either doubles or home runs," Flores said of his .476 slugging percentage. "If you'd like to categorize me as a power hitter, then that's what I see myself as. I'm here to drive in runs. Power is a big part of my game now and that's something I need to work on even more."

While the power numbers have been impressive and even though he has become a more complete player behind the plate as well, it is Flores' noticeably increased passion for the game that might be the biggest difference in his game.

As much as he has accomplished with the St. Lucie Mets this season, Flores now has an insatiable desire to keep improving - a hallmark trait of his manager Gary Carter.

"From what I've learned all of this year, I just want to keep on learning. I want to ready myself for next year. That's where I want to be next year, either the double-A or even the triple-A level. All I can do is keep on continuing what I've been doing, keep learning, and taking as much as I can from what the coaches teach me."

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I felt really good going into big league camp last year,\" Jesus Flores told InsidePitchMagazine.com through the help of a translator, \"but when I got that injury, I felt I had such a setback. I wasn't where I wanted to be. What I've been able to do this year is what I wanted for last season. All I can do is build on what I've done now and look forward to the future.\"
\r\n
\r\nBreaking his hand in the final Spring Training game against the Washington Nationals a year ago, Flores struggled upon returning to the Hagerstown Suns in May, hitting just .216 with seven home runs in 82 games.
\r\n
\r\n\"In a way it did effect me most of the year,\" Flores said of his broken hand in 2005. \"[The injury] made me very timid behind the plate, especially blocking balls. There were times I was afraid and there were times where there was some pain. Now I'm strong and healthy. I don't feel any pain in the hand anymore and so far I'm doing well.\"
\r\n
\r\nDoing \"well\", as Flores puts it, might be one of the bigger understatements this year. After going 5-5 with two more home runs in a double-header against Palm Beach on Tuesday night, he is now hitting .266 with 31 doubles and 19 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything's going great so far this year,\" Flores admitted. \"I've had some great coaches that have helped me very, very much. I just thank God that I've been staying healthy. So far everything is going great. I'm just happy that I have a great coach like Gary Carter to help me. He's a former catcher and he helps me out a lot.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of the rising managerial stars in the game, former Met great Gary Carter has helped turn Jesus Flores into a leader on the field and he helped him ignite that inner-fire within him to become a better overall player.
\r\n
\r\n\"Gary's trying to instill in me to be a leader on the field,\" said the 21-year old catcher, \"just to be an overall strong leader. He's making me a strong-willed person and to be an intelligent catcher.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's taught me to work my very best with the pitchers, to learn the pitchers - their strengths as well as their weaknesses - so I can call a better game. Overall he's just taught me to be more intelligent and be a leader in the clubhouse as well as out on the field.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the offensive stats he has put up are clear evidence of his turnaround, Flores believes he has made bigger strides in his defensive game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Throwing out base runners,\" Flores listed as the area where he believes he has improved the most. \"I've really gotten strong with that as well as blocking balls in the dirt. That was one of my main concerns coming into this year and I've done very well at throwing out base runners.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, finally healthy and not timid behind the plate, Flores believes he is right where he wants to be on the defensive side of the ball.
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively I feel like I'm doing very well,\" said the Venezuelan native. \"I'm right where I want to be. But as a hitter, I think I need to be a lot more disciplined so that I can be able to establish myself as a guy who can take more base on balls. Overall I want better patience at the plate and that's my main concern. Right now I'm having trouble with the breaking ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith just 27 walks and striking out an alarming 123 times in just 117 games, learning to be more selective at the plate has been the mantra for Jesus Flores and the Mets this season.
\r\n
\r\nBut while that remains a focus, many can't help but look at his 50 extra-base hits this season and get excited about Flores' future.
\r\n
\r\n\"If you look at most of my hits, they've all been either doubles or home runs,\" Flores said of his .476 slugging percentage. \"If you'd like to categorize me as a power hitter, then that's what I see myself as. I'm here to drive in runs. Power is a big part of my game now and that's something I need to work on even more.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the power numbers have been impressive and even though he has become a more complete player behind the plate as well, it is Flores' noticeably increased passion for the game that might be the biggest difference in his game.
\r\n
\r\nAs much as he has accomplished with the St. Lucie Mets this season, Flores now has an insatiable desire to keep improving - a hallmark trait of his manager Gary Carter.
\r\n
\r\n\"From what I've learned all of this year, I just want to keep on learning. I want to ready myself for next year. That's where I want to be next year, either the double-A or even the triple-A level. All I can do is keep on continuing what I've been doing, keep learning, and taking as much as I can from what the coaches teach me.\"
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