This is the ninth and final installment of my continuing review of my pre-season ranking of the Mets Top 41 prospects. Part 1 (36-41) is here, part 2 (31-35) is here, part 3 (26-30) is here, part 4 (21-25) is here, part 5 (16-20) is here, part 6 (11-15 is here), part 7 (6-10) is here and part eight (3-5) is here.
Stock: holding, but injured
Martinez did what he was supposed to do as the organization's top prospect in his minor league time in 2009: he earned his way onto a big league roster decimated by injuries. Martinez got off to slow start, hitting .233/.288/.411 in April, but that turned into a .337/.378/.663 May that convinced the Mets to call him up on May 26th, the same day the team placed Ryan Church and Jose Reyes on the disabled list.
It's worth noting that even while putting together the best XBH% and HR% of his career at AAA in 2009, Martinez's walk rate was the lowest it had been since 2006. Big league pitchers were able to exploit his aggressive approach and made him look like a 20-year-old. And that's still one of Martinez's greatest strengths: he's still extraordinarily young for a player with 100 MLB PA.
Of course, 2009 marks the fourth season in a row in which he has lost significant time to injury. Martinez is recuperating from surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee. Are the recurring injuries a concern? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. He might return in September depending on his rehab, and the shape of the Mets.
On May 11th, the 17-year-old Flores was hitting .243/.293/.280. Citing fatigue, the Mets sat the youngster for nine days to give him a chance to rest. Since May 20th, Flores has hit .293/.325/.390, extremely strong numbers for a player of his age in a full-season league.
He's earned strong scouting reports for his feel for hitting and his mature approach. However, some of the power he displayed in the Appalachian League last year is still in the hills as his XBH% has dropped as the level of play has risen. This development must be viewed through the prism of his youth. The power should come back.
However, at this point, he's a player without a position. No one thinks he can stay at SS when he reaches the big leagues. If his destination is to be an outfield corner or 1B, he'll have to hit a ton, and hit for power to be an impact guy. There's no reason yet to think he can't do that, but he's still years away.