In 28 games and 54 at bats with the Navegantes del Magallanes, in the Liga Venezual Beisbol Profesional this winter, twenty-three year old Washington Nationals' catcher Jesus Flores is currently, as of 12/23, batting .222 with 12 hits, 4 of them doubles, 2 HR's and 8 RBI's.
As a backup to Brian Schneider in Washington in '07, Flores managed a .244 AVG with 9 doubles, 4 HR's and 25 RBI's in 79 games and 180 AB's in his first pro season above A-ball. The previous year with the St, Lucie Mets, New York's Class A affiliate, Flores, then twenty-one, hit .264 with 32 doubles, 21 HR's and 69 RBI's, for the Gary Carter managed Mets while catching Met prospects like Brian Bannister, Mike Pelfrey, Phillip Humber, Alay Soler, and John Maine...
(ed. note- "Curiously, the two mlb.com articles I read...Bill Ladson's washington.nationals.mlb.com article, "Nats tab three in Rule 5 Draft", and newyork.mets.mlb.com's Bryan Hoch's article, "Mets lose pair, add one in Rule 5 Draft", both from 12/7/06 list Flores' stats for the '06 season in St. Lucie as, ".266 with 21 home runs and 70 RBIs in 120 games" in Mr. Ladson's article, and , "...batting .266 with 21 home runs and 70 RBIs in 120 games," in Mr. Hoch's article, so I checked myself with the stats I found at thebaseballcube.com and quoted above, which were .264 with 32 doubles, 21 HR's and 69 RBI's,...the St. Lucie Mets' site has it .266, 21, 70 as well...Is there a flaw in the CUBE???...here's the evidence...
St. Lucie Mets site:
Jesus Flores' 2006 stats at thebaseballcube.com:
...In his three Minor League seasons after the Mets signed Jesus Flores as an undrafted free agent out of Carupano, Venezuela, as a 19-21 year old catcher, Flores had combined to hit .256 with a total of 62 doubles, 33 HR's and 139 RBI's before the Mets left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft of 2006.
In Bill Ladson's article concerning the Nationals' Rule 5 selection of Flores entitled, "Nats tab three in Rule 5 Draft", Mr. Ladson writes that:
"Flores was drafted on Thursday under the
recommendation of manager Manny Acta, Minor League
manager John Stearns and Davey Johnson, who scouted
for the Nationals before the trade deadline."
...and Mr. Ladson quotes Nationals GM Jim Bowden, who says of the pick, ""Manny, Davey and John think of Flores as an everyday catcher in the big leagues someday." Mets GM Omar Minaya must have really felt it when former Mets' coach Manny (Acta), Manager Davey (Johnson), and pitcher/manager John ("Bad Dude" Stearns-who once started a bench-clearer by hitting the Expos' Gary Carter...), left the organization for DC and then combined to swipe Flores, who was considered by many to be the top catching prospect in the Mets' system.
Managed, or coached, by Gary Carter and Pat Corrales, mentored by Brian Schneider and Paul Lo Duca...Jesus Flores' higher education in baseball continues with the help of the knowledge collected over forty-six combined MLB season's worth of experience between all the catchers Flores' path has crossed.
In his first Spring Training in DC last season, Flores, knowing he'd be in an apprenticeship role behind Schneider, went out and hit .484 in with 15 hits in 31 AB's, 5 doubles, 2 HR's and 7 RBI's, and his play in the second half of the '07 campain seemingly convinced the Nationals that Schneider was expendable.
Knowing that Paul Lo Duca's only signed on for one season, and knowing that the Nationals are grooming him for the starting role...What do you expect of Flores in '08? Will Flores be with the Nationals as Bill Ladson speculated when Lo Duca was signed? Is there any other catcher in the organization being seriously considered? What will Jesus Flores do?
*Jesus Flores Links*
Jesus Flores' Winter League stats at mlb.com/milb:
newyork.mets.mlb.com's Bryan Hoch's article, "Mets lose pair, add one in Rule 5 Draft":
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Nats tab three in Rule 5 Draft":
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Nats sign backstop Lo Duca":