No Slowing Wilmer Flores in St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - There was a lot of anticipation around Wilmer Flores at the start of the season. So far, the 18-year-old shortstop is backing it up with a very strong season. Flores recently made his debut in the Florida State League and has not missed a beat. Inside Pitch caught up Flores to talk about his season, his development, and even got his opinion on the Cliff Lee talk.

Wilmer Flores is a welcomed addition to the St. Lucie club this season. Since arriving he's hitting .396 through his first 12 games. When asked how he's maintained his success from Savannah to Port St. Lucie, the shortstop showed he's been taking notes on the opposing pitchers.

"The pitchers at this level love to throw breaking balls and off speed stuff. They love to use changeups and sliders, but still rely on their fastballs too. You have to make adjustments, but still be patient and have a good understanding of what's coming next," Flores explained.

The Mets aren't only impressed with Flores bat; his glove has also turned some heads as well. Playing shortstop at any level of professional baseball requires a ridiculously quick reaction time and superior leadership skills. Flores knows what it takes and makes a point of constant improvement.

"It's hard playing shortstop. You have to be a leader, know what's going on, and can't fall asleep or be in a fog. You have to have good reaction time every time and it's something you always have to practice," he explained.

"I get more out of fielding batting practice than I do hitting sometimes because of the ground balls. I think working on groundballs is a constant thing that any shortstop has to keep up with," he continued.

Flores knows there is still some serious work to put in before he can move on to the next level.

"I always have to work on having quick feet. You really can't shift your weight around too much because you never know when a line drive or hard grounder is coming your way."

"Nobody is perfect; A-Rod still has to work on everything every day. You can't get complacent and you need to strive to be better at everything," Flores said.

Looking at his stats since the move from Savannah to St. Lucie, the transition has been without hiccups for Flores, but it's also given him some optical illusions.

"In Savannah it's actually hotter than here, but the stadiums are bigger and it seems like the fields are bigger too. I know they aren't, but it just seems that way when you're out there playing in some of them," he quoted with a smile.

A huge part of improvement for these young players is to be comfortable with the staff and their surrounding teammates. Flores has had an advantage by having teammate Jordany Valdespin around him for the past several seasons. This friendship has become very beneficial for both players as they critique each other's game on an almost daily basis.

"I love playing with Jordany, he always watches my back and we act like coaches for each other. We've played together for awhile and it's good to have someone who will tell you if you're doing something wrong and knowing that person has watched you for awhile. We work really well together; it's a lot of fun playing with him and I hope it continues for awhile," Flores exclaimed.

Wilmer's actual coaches, Edgar Alfonso and Jose Carreno, have told the shortstop his continued improvement on defense is what will get him called up to the next level.

"The coaches have said to really focus on working and getting better on defense, they seem happy with my offensive production and my swing," he said.

"That has really helped me stay focused on one thing instead of trying to improve several areas, and struggling to improve any of them."

The idea of getting called up has become a bit of a reality for Flores on the heels of some trade rumors from ESPN. A possible trade between the Mets and Seattle Mariners could send Flores west in a deal involving Mariners ace, Cliff Lee. When asked about the situation Wilmer showed some true professionalism.

"They just told me that and I didn't know until just now. Its one of those things that you can't do anything about, but if they trade me I'll make the best of anywhere I go," Flores outlined. "I mean it's exciting to hear my name on ESPN, but I really want to stay with the Mets. I really like it here and I've done well being here."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nWilmer Flores is a welcomed addition to the St. Lucie club this season. Since arriving he's hitting .396 through his first 12 games. When asked how he's maintained his success from Savannah to Port St. Lucie, the shortstop showed he's been taking notes on the opposing pitchers.
\r\n
\r\n\"The pitchers at this level love to throw breaking balls and off speed stuff. They love to use changeups and sliders, but still rely on their fastballs too. You have to make adjustments, but still be patient and have a good understanding of what's coming next,\" Flores explained.
\r\n
\r\nThe Mets aren't only impressed with Flores bat; his glove has also turned some heads as well. Playing shortstop at any level of professional baseball requires a ridiculously quick reaction time and superior leadership skills. Flores knows what it takes and makes a point of constant improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's hard playing shortstop. You have to be a leader, know what's going on, and can't fall asleep or be in a fog. You have to have good reaction time every time and it's something you always have to practice,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"I get more out of fielding batting practice than I do hitting sometimes because of the ground balls. I think working on groundballs is a constant thing that any shortstop has to keep up with,\" he continued.
\r\n
\r\nFlores knows there is still some serious work to put in before he can move on to the next level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I always have to work on having quick feet. You really can't shift your weight around too much because you never know when a line drive or hard grounder is coming your way.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Nobody is perfect; A-Rod still has to work on everything every day. You can't get complacent and you need to strive to be better at everything,\" Flores said.
\r\n
\r\nLooking at his stats since the move from Savannah to St. Lucie, the transition has been without hiccups for Flores, but it's also given him some optical illusions.
\r\n
\r\n\"In Savannah it's actually hotter than here, but the stadiums are bigger and it seems like the fields are bigger too. I know they aren't, but it just seems that way when you're out there playing in some of them,\" he quoted with a smile.
\r\n
\r\nA huge part of improvement for these young players is to be comfortable with the staff and their surrounding teammates. Flores has had an advantage by having teammate Jordany Valdespin around him for the past several seasons. This friendship has become very beneficial for both players as they critique each other's game on an almost daily basis.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n\"I love playing with Jordany, he always watches my back and we act like coaches for each other. We've played together for awhile and it's good to have someone who will tell you if you're doing something wrong and knowing that person has watched you for awhile. We work really well together; it's a lot of fun playing with him and I hope it continues for awhile,\" Flores exclaimed.
\r\n
\r\nWilmer's actual coaches, Edgar Alfonso and Jose Carreno, have told the shortstop his continued improvement on defense is what will get him called up to the next level.
\r\n
\r\n\"The coaches have said to really focus on working and getting better on defense, they seem happy with my offensive production and my swing,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"That has really helped me stay focused on one thing instead of trying to improve several areas, and struggling to improve any of them.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe idea of getting called up has become a bit of a reality for Flores on the heels of some trade rumors from ESPN. A possible trade between the Mets and Seattle Mariners could send Flores west in a deal involving Mariners ace, Cliff Lee. When asked about the situation Wilmer showed some true professionalism.
\r\n
\r\n\"They just told me that and I didn't know until just now. Its one of those things that you can't do anything about, but if they trade me I'll make the best of anywhere I go,\" Flores outlined. \"I mean it's exciting to hear my name on ESPN, but I really want to stay with the Mets. I really like it here and I've done well being here.\"
\r\n
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