Flores, Wheeler Shine In Double-A For Mets





Best Player: Shortstop Wilmer Flores saw his stock decline in 2011, when he flailed through a trying campaign with high Class A St. Lucie. His .309 on-base percentage attested to his struggle to adjust to the organization's emphasis on plate discipline, and Flores did not rank among the game's Top 100 Prospects heading into 2012 despite peaking at No. 47 three years earlier.

Flores delivered on some of his promise this season as he shifted to third base. The 21-year-old mastered the Florida State League to earn a promotion to Double-A Binghamton in the second half. He batted a composite .300/.349/.479 in 493 at-bats and established career highs for homers (18), slugging, OPS (.827) and walks (38).

Best Pitcher: Righthander Zack Wheeler joined the organization last July as the prized prospect acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran, and the 22-year-old lived up to his billing by dominating at Double-A and reaching Triple-A Buffalo in August. Between the two stops he struck out 148 and walked 59 in 149 innings and went 12-8, 3.26 in 25 starts.

Wheeler ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the game at midseason, and at times he toyed with Eastern League hitters, wielding a fastball that touches the upper 90s and a wipeout slider. He indicated an improved feel for his changeup during the summer.

Keep An Eye On: Team officials raved about 21-year-old righthander Rafael Montero's propensity for throwing strikes all season long. And why not? He mastered the two Class A levels, going 11-5, 2.36 in 20 starts with 110 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 122 innings. He notched a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with St. Lucie.

Montero commands a low-90s fastball with a breaking ball and changeup that showed improvement this season, team officials said. Because of his lean, 6-foot stature, many believe he may wind up in the bullpen down the road, but he's a member of a group of Mets pop-up pitching prospects, such as righthanders Jake DeGrom, Cory Mazzoni, Domingo Tapia and Gabriel Ynoa, who have helped improve the system's standing.

METAMORPHOSES

• The list of September callups included the following prospects from Triple-A: second baseman Jordany Valdespin, third baseman Zach Lutz and righthanders Jeurys Familia, Collin McHugh, Jenrry Mejia and Elvin Ramirez.

• Center fielder Matt den Dekker batted .274/.321/.458 with 17 homers at the highest levels of the system but didn't earn a callup because the Mets did not yet want to add him to the 40-man roster.