Jose Flores on Fort Wayne (2010) Prospects

Jose Flores managed the Fort Wayne Tin Caps in 2010 and had some great reports on many of the prospects he managed. Here is a look at a few of the top players.

We all know Nathan Freiman has power but what else did he bring to the table each night?

Jose Flores: He's got different tempos that he brought to the table. His stature – he can intimidate some people with his size. He knows the game a little bit and knows what he's doing. Obviously, he's got the power and he's only going to get better with more games under his belt and understanding how they're trying to pitch him. But like I said, he still has a way to go.

How has Jonathan Galvez matured through the season? It is probably one of the areas that needed improvement coming into professional baseball.

Jose Flores: He's matured and prepared himself for a long season. He's matured in what it takes to get ready for the long season. He got better toward the end of the season as far as fielding went. He started to understand more of how they were pitching him. He did well in the second half of the season. He's young but with more reps and what he needs to do to get better he'll find it. It's just a matter of him understanding it instead of trying to play – I think what he tries to do is emulate a lot of the Big League players. He doesn't understand that he's different than they are. He needs to come into his own to understand the type of player that he's going to be in the future. A lot of times I see him imitate these Big League players, and his game sometimes revolves around that.

What were your impressions of Jedd Gyorko?

Jose Flores: He's an interesting player. I don't know what's in store for him as far as position goes. I know he can field and has decent range. Good reactions at third. He will hit. He wore down a little towards the end of the season, but he's a hitter and will hit at every level he plays. He just needs to touch up on a few things. He's getting them away in instructional league, but overall position is going to be a question – whether he'll be an everyday third baseman or an everyday second baseman. A lot has to do with his body and how, in the next few years, his body will react whether he's going to gain or lose some weight. That's the only question I have as far as he goes is his position.

Jason Hagerty came on during the second half of the season. What changed?

Jose Flores: To me, that was the most impressive thing. The kid just finally understood what they were trying to do with him. He started to be a little more patient and started to recognize how they were pitching him. He's a tremendous worker. He has a future in this game either being a #2 guy or maybe even a #1 guy for a lower tier team. He just started to be a little more patient and understood what he needed to do offensively to put himself on the map the way he did.

Rymer Liriano struggled with you before going to Eugene. What does he need to do to improve to reach the potential he has?

Jose Flores: He needs to slow the game down a little bit. During the time he was with me, the game was a little too fast for him. He wants to do more than what he was capable of. He needs to understand that he needs to learn the game a little more as opposed to trying to fly by and think that you can do everything on your abilities. There are a lot more things within the game that he needs to understand so that everything can come together. Again, I think he has great ability and tremendous talent. He just needs to work on being consistent with it and understand what they're trying to do with him and understand situations in the game whether he's on the offensive or defensive side of it.

Daniel Meeley kind of came out of nowhere and performed well. What did you see from Daniel?

Jose Flores: He's like a sleeper. He came in very quietly, hit 300, didn't show much power, but as baseball people know, the power comes later. He did put the ball into play. He handled himself quite well making the jump right away from college ball to lower A ball. He didn't seem fazed. He does have a tendency to chase a little bit, but with more at bats and understanding the pro side of the game he'll hit a little bit. I'm not sure how much bigger he'll get in terms of physical appearance, but he was a surprise for a lot of us in Ft. Wayne.

Edinson Rincon lost a little bit of the patience that saw him do so well in Eugene. What was the difference between him in 2009 and what you saw in 2010?

Jose Flores: I didn't see him much in 2009. You see the numbers he had in 2009. In 2010, like I've mentioned before, I think Eddy's going to hit no matter where he plays. He still does have a tendency to chase pitches and swing too hard at times. I don't see Eddy being a Big League third baseman. I think a position change for him is on the horizon. He's very mature, if not the most mature Latin kid we have, and his determination is through the roof as far as wanting to get better and wanting to succeed in this game. It's only going to come with more reps. Obviously, Eddy's not 21 years old yet and once he understands location and how to pitch he has a bright future.

Jeudy Valdez started to come into his own as a player but still appears to put too much pressure on himself. Is that an accurate assessment?

Jose Flores: Yeah, he tries too much sometimes. He presses and he needs to mature and know how to separate his offense from his defense. A lot of times during the season he would take his defense out there because his offense was struggling and he would make mental mistakes like that defensively. He's another one who looks way too far in advance instead of seeing where he is right now and what he needs to do to develop to get better to get to the next level. For a lot of these young Latin kids they look too far ahead of their careers to what they need to improve on for the next season or the next level or the next year. He was clutch for us the whole season because he was a mentor for a lot of these younger kids we had this year. The good thing about Jeudy is that he works at it. As quiet as he might be, he likes to get better each and every day. He just needs to mature a little bit more and understand the game, how it's played, and how he should go about it.

Everett Williams is a little bit of a bad boy. Does he need to learn some humility to reach his vast potential?

Jose Flores: Yeah, obviously with all the hype he had through his high school career, being drafted, and playing his first full season of pro ball, he expected more and got a taste of knowing it's not as easy as he thought it was going to be. Even though he couldn't stay healthy enough to be that everyday guy that we expected him to be, there are some good things in there that I can see in his career if his work ethic gets better he can have a career in this game. It's just a matter of maturing and being around the right people and wanting to get better each and every day.

Jose DePaula had two bad outings yet still posted great numbers. Is this someone that can move fast?

Jose Flores: To me, as good as DePaula is now I think he's going to get better. I don't think he's the type of guy right now per se who's going to move very quickly. I think he's going to need to stay at each level to understand what the game is about. There are times when he pitches that I question whether or not he knows the situation of the game or how big the game is. Does he know we just gave up 5 runs? There are certain things about DePaula's demeanor that I question and that being he shows no emotion out on the field. I'm not sure if that has to do with maturity, which I'm thinking it does, and just understanding how to use his stuff a little bit better.

Pedro Hernandez seems to lack confidence at times. What does he need to do to be successful?

Jose Flores: Confidence with him is huge. He's got the stuff for a lefty and for the velocity that comes out. He just needs to trust his stuff and learn how to use it more effectively than what he showed. There were periods of time during the season where you think "Wow, that was a pretty good outing." What I saw from him either coming from relief, and maybe more as a starter, right after that fourth inning he starts to lose focus and concentration, and a lot of his starts didn't last through five. A lot of that has to do with his lack of focus and command and trusting his stuff. The times he did get hit you can see his mound presence not be what it was at the beginning. Obviously, confidence with him is huge.

Matt Lollis was dominant from day one for you. What does he do so well?

Jose Flores: He has a bulldog mentality. He wants the ball and believes that whoever's in that box he's going to get him out. That's the kind of attitude that we'd like all our pitchers to have. What he did so well was that he attacked the strike zone. If you hit them you hit them, if you don't …he let his defense work for him. He didn't pile up a bunch of strike outs. He did have some strike outs behind him but what's effective about him is that he pitches to contact and let's his defense work for him and to me that's huge for a young kid like that to understand what pitching a contact is like they were preaching during spring training.

Miles Mikolas seemed to find himself in a relief role. What did you see from Miles?

Jose Flores: I love that kid. He's another one that wants the ball. He came into his own and found his niche in the bullpen. He was very effective again pitching the contact. He's only a 2 pitch pitcher – fastball and curveball – and he gets them out. There's nothing different – here it is. It's either fastball or curveball. I think he has a future somewhere in the middle, as opposed to the back, of the game. He flourished. He did well. He has command of all his pitches. At times that he didn't he was relying on his curveball more than his fastball.

Stiven Osuna started a lot last year but also seemed more at ease in relief. Is he better suited for the bullpen or as a starter?

Jose Flores: He's a bullpen guy for me. He's also in the likes of Hernandez where his confidence gets in the way sometimes. He pitches away from contact and doesn't trust his stuff at times. He's not a pitcher where he's going to blow people away. He needs to be able to pitch for contact and trust his stuff. For me towards the back end after his injury he came back that way and was pitching for contact and trusting his stuff and working his pitches effectively. I think he needs to continue that to be successful because he's not a guy who's going to strike people out.

Joshua Spence came to you late and performed well. What did you see out of Josh?

Jose Flores: He has a lot of pitches. When he first came in he told me he had about seven pitches. He's an older guy out of Arizona State. Two strikes and we all questioned how much of that he's going to get away with at the upper levels. He's got good command of his changeups. He's got a great pickoff move. Again, two strikes and has different arm angles when he wants to throw certain pitches. I don't see him overpowering anybody. He's going to be a finesse guy who has to use location to be successful.

Jerry Sullivan seemed to struggle in July when his innings were cut. What areas need improvement with Jerry?

Jose Flores: He needs to not be so stubborn. He thinks that he knows a lot. I think he feels like he doesn't need any help. That's the impression we got as the staff. He needs to be able to take constructive criticism. He's got the stuff. He's got a great arm; he knows what he's doing; he pitches to contact. He's got a bulldog mentality. He likes to go after guys; he wants the ball all the time, and he doesn't like to be taken out. He's got all those things working for him, but he needs to be open to suggestions to get better.

Michael Watt had more conviction in his pitches this season. As a lefty, does he have enough to compete at the higher levels?

Jose Flores: When he's on, he's fun to watch. When he starts to get hit or starts missing his pitches he gets erratic and loses it on the mound. He's got the stuff to get hitters out. I don't know how far he'll get with his confidence. His confidence is also something that works against him sometimes. But he's got the stuff. From the left side, he's got a good fastball. He moves the ball around well. At times he shows good location on both sides of the plate. It all depends on his frame of mind and how he adjusts to the levels as he goes on.

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