Flores on Padres prospects in Fort Wayne

Jose Flores has shaped a struggling first half team into a powerful second half force, as the manager of the San Diego Padres Low-A Fort Wayne club. The youth has transformed from potential to production under his tutelage.

Jose, after spending a good portion of the year with this club– what is the feel of this team? What is the pulse of it? What is going to make it better? What is going to get you over the hump? We all believed that this team would start slow, getting used to the cold weather, where do we go from here?

Jose Flores: A lot of it has to do with finding consistency. We still have guys who we believe will hit. The likes of Everett Williams, Jonathan Galvez, and Edinson Rincon – all of whom really haven't found their consistency. At times, you think you start seeing that, and then they take a step back. For the most part, it is them finding their consistency to go out there and produce everyday. We are at the point where they are still learning and getting the feel of what a full season feels like and what travel is like at this league. Obviously, a lot of these guys were with me last year and every fifth day was off. Getting used to the constant grind of preparing themselves to play everyday. Understanding the game at this level. The majority of these guys were either with me or in Eugene and this is a matter of them getting used to it. What is going to get us over the hump will be those guys that I mentioned finding their swing and get it rolling consistently.

Do those kinds of things, i.e., travel, cold weather, do they become a mental barrier that they need to get over as well? You can get so much into head that that is why you are struggling, that you can't get out of it .

Jose Flores: It might have been that way. But for the most part, for the Latin kids who had never been around that kind of weather, it could have been a factor. For some it wasn't. For some, it was just another day for them. The guys that we expected it to be a factor, is wasn't and for those we expected it not be, it was. It was weird in that sense. For the most part, they responded well to the weather. It is matter of them getting more games, more innings, and more game situations under their belt.

You have had Galvez this last year and you have him this year. What has been his barrier to get over this year? He is not hitting like we are used to seeing him hit. He is being more aggressive than we have seen him in the past.

Jose Flores: He needs to use more of the field. He gets into a pattern where he wants to pull everything. He gets so focused at times, that he forgets about right field. It is very important for him that he play a little man's game: be able to bunt a run over, be able to hit and run. He is the type of guy who should be able to handle the bat more than what he has shown. I think a lot of it has to do with his inexperience, obviously, at this level. For him to be better, he needs to take a step back and look at the type of player he could be if he wants to progress and hopefully be a big league player. His walks are fine. He does put the ball in play. He needs to bunt a little more to get on base to manufacture some runs. He steals bases well and is second on the team in stolen bases. I think he will develop more if he understands the little man's game and becomes more consistent. Then think about driving the ball out of the yard, because he has enough pop for that, but he needs to manipulate the bat a bit better to get what he wants at the plate. Right now, he is struggling at bat because he has gotten away from attacking the right side of the field. With more reps he will come around eventually.

The Padres wanted to push the pace a little bit this year and be more aggressive as an organization. How has that gone and what are you seeing from the guys in that regard?

Jose Flores: We definitely have pushed the envelope as far as taking the extra base, stealing more bases, and being more aggressive on the offensive side of the game. In return that has also gotten us into some trouble with getting picked off. I think that is going to happen because we have stressed that approach this year. I think they are coming around and the last week and a half of games, we have really pushed that issue. I can see it more in the games, where they are taking that extra base or trying to steal more on their own as opposed to me giving them the steal sign. It is a work-in-progress and I think they are coming around.

Is that an "everyone has a green light" philosophy?

Jose Flores: We have our runners, so to speak. As a base stealer, back when I ran, I was a little more comfortable on a green light, as opposed to a steal sign, just because I don't have to think, "I have to go on this pitch" because I have the sign. I would rather, at this level, that they go when they feel comfortable. I do emphasize, always look for a count where it is more beneficial. Look for an off-speed pitch situation because that is going to give you a better chance of getting there and getting a better jump. They are starting to grasp that now.

Is there a correlation between guys getting either picked off or stealing when you give a sign as opposed to them taking it on their own?

Jose Flores: I have seen that their leads are bigger and they are giving it away to the opposing team. Sometimes when these guys want to steal (and these are the "green light" guys), they have an extra step and a half on their lead. If I am manager on the other team, I am looking at that. If the first two pitches, they have normal leads, and then they take that extra step and there are a lot of pick-offs at first because they take that extra step. Same things with the back door pick at second. They are getting themselves confused with the primary and secondary leads. For me, if you are not going to steal third, I think the primary lead is sufficient. Now what happens is if they want to steal third, they take a secondary lead when they do not need to. They are in the middle of not knowing exactly what lead is best for them. That is going back to being aggressive on the bases and also getting us in trouble. But that is going to happen until they start understanding what is comfortable for them.

Juan Oramas came two outs from a perfect game. What did you see in him?

Jose Flores: He is a very mature kid. He handles the pressure just fine. For him, when he pitched for us, he was a piggy back guy and came in and threw his 55 pitches, three innings. I did not think that going up to Lake Elsinore was going to be a problem for him. I wish I would have had him for a starter, because he would have shown me a little bit more what he could do. I only saw him for three innings at a time. He commands a strike down, he is not afraid, he challenges, and he shows no fear out there. He does not have a bad mound presence. If he gives up a hit, he just comes back and tries to get the next guy. He is a good competitor and what he did didn't surprise me - I just wish I had seen it personally. I like the kid. He works hard. He comes to work. He is somebody to really look at.

What do you think of Daniel Sarria?

Jose Flores: This is the first I have seen him. I like his stuff. He is the type of guy who can command his off-speed stuff. Last outing, he went five innings and threw his off-speed pitch at any time in the counts for strikes. It is seldom that you see that here at this level. It did not really surprise me, though. He has a sneaky fastball that keeps you off-balance. He also has the off-speed. He is the type of guy who is going to need the experience and the innings to see what he will be projected as. But for right now, he is a strike thrower and he is not afraid of contact which is a plus for him at this stage of his development.

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