- Full name Jesus Miguel Flores
- Born 10/26/1984 in Carupano, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Rafael Osio Perez
- Debut 04/04/2007
Organization Prospect Rankings
After floundering in a 2005 season marred by a broken thumb, Flores rebounded to show why the Mets were so high on him after his breakout 2004. He tied for the high Class A Florida State League lead in home runs while finishing fourth in extra-base hits and slugging. The Nationals grabbed him in December in the major league Rule 5 draft. Flores is the rare power-hitting catcher who is also an asset defensively. He has a pull approach, so most of his power is to left field, though he will drive some balls to center. His arm is above-average and it plays up because of his quick release. With pop times consistently in the 1.85-1.95-second range, Flores can control the running game, and he threw out 39 percent of basestealers last season. He has an athletic frame and good lateral range that helps him block balls in the dirt. Because of his pull approach, Flores sometimes opens up his front side too early, which makes him susceptible to sliders away, and he needs better plate discipline. In the past he has been hard on himself when he was not hitting and let it affect his defense, but he has gotten better at channeling his emotions. He can get lazy behind the plate and is a slow runner. Catchers with his blend of power and defense are tough to find, but he's not ready to jump from Class A to the majors. If the Nationals can't work out a trade with the Mets, they can't send him to the minors without putting him through waivers and then offering him back to New York for half his $50,000 draft price. A year on Washington's big league bench would hurt his development.
Flores had a breakthrough year in his U.S. debut in 2004, but his encore was basically a lost season. Flores broke his thumb in a big league exhibition game and missed the first month of the season. He didn't get many at-bats in spring training, so he never got into a groove in low Class A. He flashed some power but little else as he continually got himself out by expanding his strike zone. The Mets see him as an offensive-minded catcher, though he holds his own behind the plate and gunned down 40 percent of basestealers in 2005. Flores is extremely hard on himself and seemed to get frustrated by his lack of success, particularly after he had established himself as the best catching prospect in the system. The Mets believe his struggles were a result of his thumb injury, but he still needs to develop his pitch-recognition skills at the plate to avoid chasing pitches out of the zone. He likely will return to low Class A unless he has a huge spring training.
Flores' bat came alive in his first season in the United States. After posting a .233 average in two seasons in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League, he batted .320 over here. He also continued to provide stellar defense, leading Gulf Coast League regulars by throwing out 44 percent of basestealers. Though he's just 20, Flores already rivals veteran Joe Hietpas as the organization's best defensive catcher. He handles pitchers well, blocks pitches with aplomb and has solid footwork. His arm may be his best tool, as he consistently shows 1.9-2.0-second pop times from glove to second base. At the plate, he has a solid swing and already uses the entire field with average power. Despite his strong year, Flores' bat isn't nearly as advanced as his defensive skills. He struggles with breaking balls because he doesn't identify them well. He moves well for a catcher, but his speed still grades out as below-average. Flores could be the all-around catcher the Mets have been searching for. He's ticketed for Brooklyn in 2005.
Minor League Top Prospects
Flores already is regarded as the best defensive catcher in the Mets system. He led GCL regulars by throwing out 44 percent of basestealers and surprised with his bat, earning all-star honors. He had batted just .244 in two seasons in the Rookie-level Venezuelan and Dominican summer leagues. "If he can learn to hit a breaking ball, he will be a big league catcher," Butler said. "He blocks balls well, can throw out runners and can call a game."