Yesterday as I was laying in bed I was thinking about the Nats - not out of the ordinary, but don't tell my fiancee that... And as I was laying there I was wondering about who exactly Jesus Flores is as a player. Is he going to be the 2009 starter that hit .301 or is he going to be the player that was confounded by injuries?
Jesus Flores fascinates me. The guy just doesn't have the word quit in his vocabulary. In 2007 he was drafted by the Nationals from the Mets in the Rule V (five) Draft and, improbably, stayed with the team the entire season. Even more incredible is the fact that he was able to register a 0.6 WAR in just 79 games despite the fact that the previous year he had only made it to High-A Port St. Lucie. He hit .266 in 2006 at High-A and he hit .244 in 2007 in the Majors. Insanity.
It's around this time that GM Jim Bowden realized that he found something special, a catcher with a serious learning curve. And things would only get better as he successfully split-time with Johnny Estrada and Wil Nieves in 2008.
2009 would end up being the turning point in Jesus Flores career. He started the season on a tear and hit .311 in his first 26 games until a rogue foul ball hit him in the right shoulder.
Flores would make it back to the majors in September for 3 ABs but all told he missed the rest of the 2009 season and the entire 2010 season with a stress fracture in his shoulder (which Rizzo said would be fine in no more than three months).
Despite the fact that he was the starting Catcher when he was injured, Flores found himself has the third wheel in the Nationals organization. Finally healthy, he was in Syracuse trying to scrape the Big Leagues yet again, blocked by Ramos and Pudge. His numbers were less than stellar (.234/.252/.378) but he was brought up to the Majors anyway come July, because really, every team needs three catchers on their 25 man...
His numbers in 2011 were merely a shadow of his former self - .209/.253/.314, yep, that's a slugging of .314. He was out-slugged by two National League pitchers; Daniel Hudson .369 and Yovani Gallardo .324.
I, as a baseball fan, hope that Jesus Flores can reclaim the magic that made him a future star in 2009. This will definitely be one of the stories that we will be following this spring, which Flores is going to show up to camp; a healthy one or a shell of his former self.
The Spring Awaits!!