Best Player: Shortstop Wilmer Flores spent the first half of the season with low Class A Savannah, batting .278/.342/.433 with seven home runs in 277 at-bats. While those numbers may not scream star prospect, consider that the 18-year-old was doing it against much more experienced players. Some observers even wondered if his struggles might have been due to boredom with the level. Upon a promotion to high Class A St. Lucie, Flores started 15-for-32 (.469).
"There's a lot to like," farm director Adam Wogan said. "He's in better shape, stronger, far more agile this year. He looks like he's grown. He's 6-foot-3 and maturing. It's translated into every part of his game."
"Carlos Beltran played with him for St. Lucie during his rehab and he raved about his maturity as a hitter. He has the ability to put the barrel on the ball, and he's done it with increased power. He's got a great idea of the strike zone. He doesn't chase pitches. He doesn't swing and miss, but he hits it hard."
Biggest Leap Forward: A year ago, 22-year-old righthander Josh Stinson was an off-the-radar reliever in Class A. This season he has found success with Double-A Binghamton—but in a different role.
"He pitched his way into the Binghamton rotation," Wogan said. In 18 relief outings, Stinson struck out 26 in 39 innings and held opponents to a .237 average. Improbably, he was even better in six starts, going 2-0, 2.84 with 20 strikeouts and a .190 opponent average.
Biggest Disappointment: "Brad Holt, no question," one club official said. Though no one seems quite sure how it happened. "His fastball is still there. The velocity is good. He just lost something. His command hasn't been there, and he doesn't seem to know how to get it back."
A supplemental first-round pick in 2008, Holt tumbled from Binghamton (10.20 ERA in 10 games) down to St. Lucie, where he ran up a 5.00 ERA in his first two starts. The 23-year-old's strikeout-to-walk ratio continued to deteriorate, falling to 32-to-29 over 39 innings this season.
• Fourth-round pick Cory Vaughn, son of former big league slugger Greg, signed quickly and jumped out to an early lead in the short-season New York-Penn League with four home runs through 13 games.
• In his first extensive experience since signing out of the Dominican for $600,000 two years ago, third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez had cracked three home runs in his first nine games for Rookie-level Kingsport.