First Half Suprises No. 1: Pedro Florimon

With the full-season All-Star games complete, takes a look at the top five prospect surprises of the first half of the 2009 season. Inside, ITO completes the list with a shortstop that burst onto the scene in Frederick.

SS Pedro Florimon, Jr, Age 22, Non-Drafted FA

Frederick pre-All Star: .271 AVG, .342 OBP, .491 SLG, .832 OPS, 12 SB

Frederick 2009 Total: .250 AVG, .322 OBP, .421 SLG, .743 OPS, 21 SB

The first half of the season for Pedro Florimon completely exceeded any expectations placed on him. He was hitting the ball from both sides of the plate with authority to all parts of the field. Florimon had not hit above .250 since his professional debut in Bluefield in 2006. In fact, he hit .197 in 2007 and .223 in 2008. His overall average, though in a tailspin, is still solid.

The power, though, has come from, seemingly, out of nowhere. He has 13 home runs in his career and eight of them have come this year. He is also just eight doubles short of his 2008 and 2007 totals combined. The highlight of the season was a May in which Florimon hit for a .320 AVG, .400 OBP, .667 SLG and a 1.067 OPS. He mashed five of his home runs and collected 14 extra base hits in 75 at-bats in 20 games.

His speed has also played a major factor in his big 2009 campaign, hitting four of his eight career triples and stealing a career high 21 bags.

Getting out of Delmarva also does not hurt. Many prospects that come through the system have had struggles hitting in Perdue Stadium and some are going through that right now (the Shorebirds are hitting .262 on the road this year and .247 at home). While his home average of .233 this year is pretty bad, it beats his .207 and .192 home averages while with Delmarva.

One indication that his average was going to fall could have been his lack of contact. He has struck out 87 times in 328 at-bats to 35 walks. The left-right splits for this are also interesting, as he has struck out just 26 times from the right side of the plate (22 percent of the time) to 61 times from the left side (28 percent of the time).

Florimon's first half has inserted him into the discussion as a legitimate shortstop prospect in a system that is certainly in need of one. Aside from Robert Andino, Blake Davis is the closest to Major League ready. If Florimon gets a promotion to Bowie for 2010, he will be just 23 years old and within shouting distance of the Orioles.

The next thing he will need to improve on is his defense. His .942 fielding percentage and 4.39 range factor will need to prove. Whether it is fair or not to compare him to a gold glove shortstop in Cesar Izturis, he is well behind the .978 fielding percentage and 4.77 RF.

The bottom line is, there are games where he looks smooth and others where he gets lazy with his throws. Arm strength and speed is not a problem, it is more on the accuracy side. Improving the footwork and making strong throws to first every time should improve this. 24 errors is a lot for a full season, and he has just played 89 games so far.

While the second half has not been as successful as the first, things are definitely looking up for Florimon. The slender shortstop has definitely made his name heard and there will be all kinds of new expectations for him in the future.

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