Flores was signed as an international free agent in October 2007.
In late January 2007, Baseball America ranked Flores as the 17th overall Mets prospect, adding: "should grow into his body and become a force with the bat ... ..internal comparisons to Miguel Cabrera for his present pull power and ability to use the whole field."
Flores played most of the 2008 season for K-Port, played one game for Savannah, and finished the year with Brooklyn. His combined stats were: .307/.347/.468/.815, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs, in 68 games. Flores won the Sterling Award as the top Met player for the 2008 Kingsport team.
In February 2008, Baseball Prospectus named Florez a 3-star prospect, and ranked him as th 4th overall Mets prospect.
Also in February 2008, Rotoworld ranked Flores as the #15 Mets prospect.
In March 2008, Baseball America wrote: Ten prospects to watch out for in 2008: Wilmer Flores, SS - Since Omar Minaya took over as general manager, the Mets have been extremely active on the Latin American scouting front. Flores is the latest high-profile prospect to join the system and the Mets are very excited about what he can do, especially after a strong showing at instructs. Flores is lean and tall and his best tool is undoubtedly his bat, drawing comparisons to a Miguel Cabrera when he first began his pro career. He'll stay at shortstop for now, but there's a chance he'll grow out of the position and end up at third. It's up in the air where he'll begin the year and the Mets will use Spring Training to determine if he's ready to go to Savannah on Opening Day or if having him stick around in extended spring training makes more sense
Baseball America printed their “Hot 10” prospects on 6/27: No. 10 WILMER FLORES, SS - METS - Team: Rookie-level Kingsport (Appalachian) Age: 16 - Why He's Here: .400/.417/.578, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 0 BB, 7 SO - The Scoop: Flores is a 16 year old playing in a league where the average age is more than 20, and he has been arguably the best player in the league for the first week and a half. After belting a home run in his professional debut, Flores has continued his steady production. Enduring the loss of manager Nick Leyva, who also served as his Flores' translator, could have been a hitch in the road for Flores, who had grown close to Leyva, but the teenager's makeup impressed observers in Kingsport as he kept up his steady production under new leadership. The only knock on Flores is his defense, which at times can be shaky. He made three errors in a game on Tuesday night, but played the next two games error-free. Flores' hitting is his best present tool and he showed it on Thursday night, going 4-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs.
In late July 2008, ProjectProspect updated their “top 25 non-top 100 prospects” and guess who made the list: #10 Wilmer Flores SS What a way to start a career: .360 BA, .640 SLG, 5 HR in 75 AB
Also in late July 2008, ProjectProspect.com updated their top 10 Mets prospect list and Flores was ranked 6th
In August 2008, NYBaseballDigest wrote: Wilmer Flores was the top International Free Agent signed by Omar Minaya in the 2007 season. He was signed for roughly $800,000 in comparison to some other “top level” talent that got bonuses in excess of a million dollars, or like Michel Inoa who received over $4 million. Flores is quickly emerging as a premium talent, even being mentioned by Minaya in an article about the importance of Pedro Martinez and how his signing led to guys like Flores and Fernando Martinez signing. Flores just turned 17 years of age at the beginning of August. He was expected to be brought to the US for this season, but it was widely expected he’d play in the Gulf Coast League where he’d still be young, as the average age of a player in the GCL is roughly 18-19. But instead, the Mets decided to push Flores and see what he could do in Kingsport against competition with an average age of 21-22.
Flores has responded. He has played in 53 games thus far, and is sporting a .332 batting average to go with 8 home runs and 40 RBI. His on-base percentage is at .374, while his OPS(on base+slugging) is hovering near .900 at .897. He also has 12 doubles, and 3 triples to go with his 8 home runs to make 23 extra base hits in 53 games. He will need to work on his plate discipline, as he only has 11 walks, with 25 strike outs.
Flores gets a lot of comparisons to Miguel Cabrera by scouts. Cabrera also was signed as a 16 year old out of the International Free Agent market for what was at the time the biggest bonus given to an international free agent at roughly $1.6 million. Cabrera came state side for his 16 year old/17 year old season, and played in the aforementioned Gulf Coast League with the average age of 18-19. Comparatively speaking he played against younger, and more raw talent than Flores has experienced in the Appalachian League.
Cabrera played in 57 games, hitting .260 with a .344 on base percentage, and had an OPS of .696. He hit 2 home runs, and drove in 22 runs with 10 doubles, and 2 triples. He struck out 46 times, while walking 23. It’s early to deem Flores the next superstar, or the next Miguel Cabrera, but statistically speaking based on age/level, he’s more than comparable. They both played the shorstop position at the 16/17 age. Flores is expected to outgrow short, and possibly be a third baseman, or a first baseman, or even a left fielder long term. Ironically those are the three positions Cabrera has played.
To compare, Flores has hit for a higher average, hit more home runs, drove in more runs, reach base at a higher clip, and OPS significantly higher. He has more doubles, more triples, struck out almost half as many times as Cabrera, but also has walked less. Flores ranked 10th on my Mets Top 10 prospect list back in July, I imagine end of the season list he will be much higher. Flores is very much a prospect to keep an eye on for the long term.
Flores played most of the 2008 season for K-Port, played one game for Savannah, and finished the year with Brooklyn. His combined stats were: .307/.347/.468/.815, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs, in 68 games.
Flores won the Sterling Award as the top Met player for the 2008 Kingsport team.
In October 2008, From Kevin Czerwinski/MiLB.com:
It's not as if what Wilmer Flores was doing this season was without precedent. After all, Elvis Andrus played in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues as a 16-year-old in 2005, while Carlos Triunfel played in the Midwest and California Leagues last year just after turning 17. Yet it still remains remarkable that someone so young could do so much so far from home at such a young age. Flores split the 2008 season between the Appalachian and New York-Penn Leagues. He didn't turn 17 until August, yet for much of his time in Kingsport, his batting average hovered around .340. Only a late-season slump -- he had three hits in his final 25 at-bats -- brought his average down to a still-impressive .310. The Venezuelan native also spent a day with Savannah of the Class A South Atlantic League (he went 2-for-5) and finished up the season by spending two weeks with Brooklyn, where he hit .267 in 30 at-bats. Overall, Flores -- who missed a week in July with a strained oblique muscle -- hit .307 with eight homers, 42 RBIs and a .347 on-base percentage this season. Now, he's down in Port St. Lucie participating in the Mets' Florida Instructional League program, doing even more to prepare for what New York is hoping will be a big Sally League season in 2009. "He's a very impressive young player," said Adam Wogan, New York's director of Minor League operations. "He's a very talented player and he's making great strides. He certainly is an impressive individual." Flores, though young, has never played as much ball as he did this season. While some may be fearful that he's worn down by this point in the year, Wogan and the Mets aren't concerned. They won't work the kid until he drops in Florida but they also aren't planning to let him skate through camp. Wogan said that New York's Instructional League program is a bit different than it was a few years back. He said there is much more focus on the mental side of the game and more attention is paid to intra-squad games. With that in mind, the Mets have targeted a program for Flores and all their prospects. "His individual play will be based on specific areas rather than game activity," Wogan said. "There might be guys who signed later and aren't quite as far along that it might be more important for them to get into games than it is in Wilmer's case. But we're certainly not worried or concerned that it's too much for him."
Toby Hyde on: #2 - SS Wilmer Flores - Why Ranked Here: Flores is ranked here because he can hit, and really hit. His bat, says scouts, could well be an All-Star level piece of lumber. In an Appalachian Leauge season which he began at the tender age of 16, Flores had an extra base hit once every 6.9 at bats. Flores rolled through the Appalachian League while playing against players two, three, four even five years his senior. Flores, who committed 21 errors in 68 games in 2008, is not a good defender at shortstop, nor is he likely to stay at the position as he grows and fills out. Observers who saw him play regularly in Kingsport used words like “awkward” when describing his work at shortstop. At 6’3”, and still growing, Flores is unusually tall for a shortstop. There were only three SS in the top twenty VORP for their position, Hanley Ramirez, Derek Jeter and Ben Zobrist, listed at 6’3” in 2008. Generally speaking advanced fielding metrics consider the first two below average, if not well below average and Zobrist a strong defender. No MLB starting SS is listed as tall as 6’4”, a height Flores might well reach if he continues to grow. Should Flores reach the Majors at 6’4”, he would be the tallest SS in baseball. It’s not impossible for Flores to stay at short, but succeeding there would be unusual for a player his height. At age 17 in 2009, the Mets will certainly give Flores the opportunity to improve at short even if his MLB position lies in at an infield or outfield corner, where his bat might be good enough to make him a star. 2008: Flores finished fourth in the Appalachian League in total bases. All three players above him had at least three years on him. After crushing to a .331/.363/.554 mark through the season’s first two months, Flores slowed down in August, hitting a more pedestrian .278/.336/.392 in 24 games with Kingsport. The Mets promoted him to Savannah for one day on August 27th, before moving him to Brooklyn, where he had just one extra base hit in his eight games in the NYP. Projected 2009 Start: Savannah
February 2009: MYOB on: - Wilmer Flores SS - He will probably get too thick to play shortstop but he’s got the stick to fit at third. He is often compared to Miguel Cabrera, though he should be better defensively. For Kingsport he was the youngest player in the league and still hit .310 with eight homeruns and a .490 slugging. His bat speed is special. Flores signed for $750,000 out of Venezuela.
My World Of Baseball listed the top Venezuelan born prospects and has Flores as number two: 2. Wilmer Flores SS (Mets) - As Wilmer develops he may end up looking more like Miguel Cabrera, which would make a stay at shortstop unlikely. As a below average runner who lacks first step quickness his best position may be third base or an outfield corner. Unlike Alcides, there is no question that Wilmer will have a powerful bat, but unlike Alcides his defensive tools are not suited for shortstop. The Mets will keep him there until he shows he becomes a liability at the position. As his bat develops don’t be surprised to see 30 homerun power.
In March 2009, Rotoworld ranked the Mets Top 10 Prospect:
2. Wilmer Flores - SS - DOB: 08/06/91 - ETA: 2013
.310/.352/.490, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 28/12 K/BB, 2 SB in 245 AB (R Kingsport)
.267/.290/.300, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 7/1 K/BB, 0 SB in 30 AB (SS-A Brooklyn)
.400/.400/.400, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2/0 K/BB, 0 SB in 5 AB (A- Savannah)
For Flores to hold his own as a 16-year-old in the Appy League would have been quite an accomplishment. However, the native of Venezuela was actually one of the circuit's better players, amassing an 842 OPS in 245 at-bats before a couple of brief stints at higher levels. Seen as a future 30-homer guy, Flores has supplanted Martinez in having the greatest offensive upside in the Mets' system. He's not going to last at shortstop, and his most obvious landing spot, third base, is likely out as an option with David Wright entrenched. However, it's something the Mets won't have to worry about for a few years yet.
Project Prospect updated their top 200 prospect list in March 2009:
#48 Wilmer Flores SS Went .310/.351/.490 with .356 wOBA in 265 R-ball PA; puts ball in play: 4.5% BB, 10.6% K
New York Mets Top 5 - by Brett Sullivan - March 26, 2009
Wilmer Flores – Not many 17-year-olds who have the type of season that Wilmer Flores did in 2008. The Venezuelan was one of the Appalachian League’s best hitters, putting up a .375 wOBA over 245 PA. He combined legit power (.180 isoP, 8 HR) with the ability to make tons of contact (10.6 K%) at the level. But in what we’ve seen so far, Flores can stand to be more patient at the plate (4.5 BB%). Though he was overmatched during a 32 plate appearance stint in short-season ball, the current shortstop displayed just about everything else you are looking for from a potential star. He’s likely to outgrow shortstop. Still several years away from the bigs, Flores could hit his way up the Mets' chain rapidly and become a household name at some point.
In 2009, Flores played the entire season for Savannah: .264/.305/.332/.637 in 488-AB, only 13 errors.
1-1-10 Forecast: - We never know if the 16-year old bonus babies are going to make out until three, sometimes four, years later. Most don’t, and, frankly, the string is still out on Flores. He had an okay season in A-ball… yeah, I know, he’s old three years old… still, there’s no rush here, what with Miquel Tejada in line to step in if Jose Reyes goes down (or away). I wish they’d play him again in Savannah, but he’s probably on his way to Florida.
I wrote on Feb 10: - Wilmer Flores – everybody on the Mets are still excitied about this kid… me too… he definitely looks like he has what it takes to make it big time. Watch for the Mets to move him to Lucy this spring and take his time with him. There’s no rush since I’m sure Jose Reyes is going nowhere soon. Look for Flores to graduate to Queens in 2013.
4-15-10: - SS- A-Savannah: The 18-year old prospect is repeating A-ball this year, which tends to tell me that the Mets have big, long range plans for Wilmer. As usual, he's starting the season off with less pop, but his .333 batting average after 30-AB leads the team in hitting. I stil look for him to be converted to either right field or first base in the future, but probably not this year.
4-28-10: - Wilmer Flores – SS – A-Savannah – the 18-year old Flores is off to his best professional start. This is his third pro-season and he’s still three years away from the legal drinking age. More important, is the fact that his pop has come around these past couple of weeks, especially on the last road trip. Stats for the season: .338/.384/.525/.909
5-5-10: - SS Wilmer Flores – A-Savannah – 19/yrs. old – Flores went over 100 at bats on Tuesday and has impressed once again at the A level: .327/.376/.535/.911. He especially has stepped up power wise in the last month and seems to be primed for the next level. The only shortstop prospect ahead of him is Reese Havens, who’s playing second base lately. If you live around the Savannah area, get a game in quick. Flores won’t be around long.
SS Wilmer Flores: Wilmer is dominating during his second year at Savannah. He currently is batting second in the league with a .343 batting average. This is a kid with a. 946 OPS and he doesn’t turn 19 until August. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him first hand for two years and this is the real deal. Expect him to be switched to right field next year and it’s going to very difficult to keep this kid in the minors past the 2012 season.
5-24-10: - Wilmer Flores – 3B – A – this is Flores’ second year in Savannah and he definitely looks ready to move on: .330/.388/.520/.907 in 179-AB. He also is leading the team in home runs, with five. The problem with any movement is the fact that St. Lucie gave their shortstop job to 19-year old Wilfredo Tovar, who is holding his own at the A+ level. Yes, Flores is scheduled to eventually be moved to the outfield, but that won’t happen until winter ball. Neither Flores or Tovar would hold their own at the AA level, so my guess is, even though Wilmer deserves the promotion, he probably is going nowhere.
5-7-11: - Question: Just what do the Mets do with Wilmer Flores? Flores turns 20-years old this August. He’s already playing his fourth season in the Mets organization and is currently hitting .284/.315/.362/.677 for Lucy. The pop still hasn’t come and he only has one home run this year with 19 runs batted in (116-AB). He’s leading his team in errors (guess what other infielder he’s tied with?) and no one has ever projected him as a future shortstop in Queens. Additionally, his lack of foot speed (this guy is really slow) doesn’t project him as an outfielder in CitiField.
That leaves first base and no one is moving Ike Davis, right? The Mets seem to have a bunch of infield prospects playing the wrong position. 3B Jefry Marte is projected as a future corner outfielder. 3B Aderlin Rodriguez isn’t thought of as the future replacement for David Wright. Only SS Wilfredo Tovar is projected to stay in the infield, but he weighs around twelve pounds and makes Ruben Tejada look like Miquel Tejada. Normally, I would say use this guy as trade bait to an AL team, but a .362 slugging percentage isn’t going to earn him a DH slot. No… enough with second base.
5-24-11: - Wilmer Flores needed a good day. He went into Tuesday’s game hitting only .167 in the past ten games and his slugging percentage was down to a mere .365. Then came a double, a home run, and five RBIs and hopefully it will be the start of something good.
5-27-11: - Dan Valis - http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/05/the-invisible-top-prospect-wilmer-flores.html - The question remains about when Flores could become a regular contributor to a franchise that badly needs a bright spot. He doesn’t have a set position and since he is still so young (something we’ve heard before i.e Fernando Martinez), he has plenty of time to establish himself as a future Major Leaguer and not another bust. He hasn’t had ridiculously high expectations thrust upon him like other top prospects early into their careers and he is progressing at a steady rate. He’s not a guy who we’ll see this season, or a guy who will necessarily dominate the Majors quickly, but he’s a kid who works at his own pace and that has gotten him to top prospect status rather quickly. As long as there are distractions in the franchise, and sadly there probably will be, Wilmer Flores looks like a guy who can come up and surprise a lot of fans. Let’s just hope there will be some other big pieces to couple with this youngster in the near future so the Mets, and their fans, have something to look forward to.
6-5-11: - It’s time for us to take a deeper look at SS Wilmer Flores and see how he is… err… progressing this season. In his defense, he’s still only 19-years old, which translates to a college freshman, or sophomore. However, let’s look deeper. The one true stat teams look for progress from the kids is OPS. Here’s what Wilmer has done: 2008 K-Port: .842… 2009 Gnats: .637… 2010 Sav/Lucy: .751… 2011 Lucy: .679. I’m going to keep saying this until someone important reads it. Leave the kid in Lucy through the 2012 season and give him time to lose his baby fat. At the same time, bump Robbie Shields ahead of him, which is where he’s supposed to be in the first place.
7-28-11: - http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2011/index.jsp - Scouting report: Flores, just 19 for most of the 2011 season, can flat-out hit. He makes good, consistent contact and does not strike out much. He's starting to grow into his power, as evidenced by the jump in extra-base hits a year ago. He doesn't run well, and the lack of speed likely means he won't be a shortstop long-term. If the bat continues to develop as it seems it might, it's quite possible he'll hit enough to be a big league third baseman in the future