Is Wilmer Flores the Rodney Dangerfield of Prospects?
NOTE: this is a post by Matt Himelfarb
Project Prospect released their top 100 prospect list yesterday. The list included six Mets, ranked as followed:
42: Reese Havens
48: Matt Harvey
53: Fernando Martinez
83: Jenrry Mejia
94: Brad Emaus
100: Wilmer Flores
Yup, you read that right. Brad Emaus is more valuable than Wilmer Flores. Also, according to Project Prospect, MySpace is way cooler than Facebook, Godfather Three puts one and two to shame, and Dane Cook isn’t a total douche (okay, I made that part up).
When I first saw the rankings yesterday afternoon, it appeared to me as a subtle cry for attention. And by subtle cry of attention, I mean that annoying freshman girl who acts dumber than she actually is. The one who is so beautiful and whom you would love to hook up with, until the moment she starts talking.
Upon reflection, however, I softened my stance a bit. I figured Adam decided that, on the off chance Flores flops ala Alex Escobar, and Emaus becomes a decent starting second baseman, prospect junkies like myself will anoint Adam the grand poohbah of the prospect ranking industry – or at least right after Keith Law steps down.
Upon even further reflection, though, I decided I’d give Adam the benefit of the doubt. On the few occasions I’ve talked to him, he has been a genuinely nice dude. His approach is, to say the least, unique, and let’s face it, the prospect ranking industry is plagued by the group-think mentality, where people think they are making a statement ranking someone’s number-three guy number six.
So I give Adam credit for bucking conventional wisdom. Also, Adam’s been consistent with his rankings and his approach (he ranked Fernando Martinez the tenth best prospect in all of baseball last year, and he slipped to just 53rd this year). That being said, however, I disagree strongly with the rationale behind his ranking.
Anyways, feeling slightly obnoxious, I decided to post my rebuttal by participating in the chat they hosted last night, under the pseudonym “Wilmer Flores” (I know). Here’s how it went:
Wilmer Flores (7:29): How the hell am I rated lower than Brad Emaus?
Adam Foster (7:33): Ha!
Because you lack patience, haven’t shown much game power and probably are going to end up at third base.
Emaus is near big-league-ready. He’s an outstanding contact hitter with patience and some pop, though he’s also a third baseman in my mind — and Flores is also a great contact hitter.
I think people see a teenager in full-season ball and think sky’s-the-limit upside too much. And patience really should be weighted just as heavily as traditional tools. Most scouts know that, too. There are people with a lot of say in the prospect industry who put next to no weight into the value of patience.
Wilmer Flores (9:04): Considering I already make excellent contact, the WORST CASE scenario is that I become Brad Emaus, whose minor league track record indicates he will never slug above .450 in the big leagues. The only thing the dude has on me is walks, but I’m like 18. When Emaus was 21 in the NYPL, he only walked 7.9% of the time. My 7.6% BB rate in Savannah is nothing to scoff at, yet you act like I’m Yuniesky Betancourt or Jordany Valdespin. Plus, I never strike out.
Lincoln Hamilton (9:06): That 7.6 BB was for half a season and looks like a total outlier given that for the rest of your career you’ve been a 3.0-4.5% BB guy (which is Yuniesky territory).
Adam Foster (9:07): “but I’m like 18” made me laugh 🙂
Adam Foster (9:08): And good Jordany Valdespin reference.
Lincoln Hamilton (9:08): We don’t expect Emaus to be much of a power hitter, but he’s a doubles/gap power guy with legit plus patience.
Wilmer Flores (9:08): While I might not show much game power, you can’t ignore my awesome bat speed. Power is often the last tool to develop anyways.
Lincoln Hamilton (9:08): Thanks for joining the chat Wilmer. Players have a tendency to overrate their own ability. Ask Michael Young
So what do you all think?
By the way, you can also read more about Wilmer Flores from yours truly.