Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jean Segura is high on several Baseball people's charts, including Abe Flores

By David Saltzer—AngelsWin Columnist

Abe Flores is the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Abe to discuss many of the players and teams throughout the Angels’ organization. Today we are presenting our second part of our interview with Abe in which we discuss many of the hitters throughout the Angels’ organization. As is always the case, there were many more players that we wanted to discuss than we had time to cover. As fans, we need to recognize that such depth is a good thing. Not only does it leave us wanting more, it gives us the confidence to realize that the Angels are well-set for now and for the future.

AngelsWin.com: In Trout and Grichuk we drafted two power outfielders. How are they progressing? Can you compare them?

Abe Flores: I think that they are two types of different kinds of guys. I would consider Trout to be maybe more of a potential 5-tool guy who plays in the middle of the diamond whereas Grichuk is a corner outfielder. Grichuk tends to be a power bat but Trout can beat you in a lot of different ways.

AngelsWin.com: Trout did flash a lot of speed as well.

Abe Flores: Yes. He’s a plus-plus runner. A base-stealer. He’s physical. As he continues to mature, physically mature, he could end up being a real impact player.

AngelsWin.com: Do you still see Trout’s future in centerfield?

Abe Flores: Yes. He could. If he gets bigger and more physical he could move off to a corner, but he definitely has the speed and range to play center.

AngelsWin.com: Mallard was an unusual pick this year. It was the second time we drafted him.

Abe Flores: At this point it is all bat. He needs to get himself as fit as he can to increase his mobility and enhance his defense. He has to really get more functional on defense to really have value. He’s got bat speed and he’s got recognition—he’s got some juice in that bat. Definitely once he gets himself into that batter’s box he’s a presence.

AngelsWin.com: Baird had a tremendous season and ended up being a batting champ. How do you see his power projecting?

Abe Flores: It comes down the road. He’s more of a line-drive straight gap kind of power but it may come. But I am going to say this very conservatively. He can turn on balls because his game is based on using the whole field—making hard contact. He is a big physical kind of guy. I don’t want him jerking balls out or losing plate coverage to do that. We don’t want to take away one of his strengths and that is basically plate coverage.

AngelsWin.com: If you were to compare him to someone in the major leagues, who would you compare him to?

Abe Flores: He’s kind of a bigger J.T. Snow. He is pretty good on defense. We are definitely going to try him at 3rd [base] which probably doesn’t require as much power as 1st[base]. He is pretty nifty and has good feet and a strong accurate arm. He just doesn’t have a lot of experience playing 3rd base.

AngelsWin.com: How would moving Baird to 3rd base affect someone like Michael Wing?

Abe Flores: Michael Wing is versatile—he can play lots of spots. He can play 2nd, 3rd, and short. It just adds to his versatility. He’s going to be a guy who ends up being versatile and play a lot of spots.

AngelsWin.com: What can you tell us about Carlos Ramirez?

Abe Flores: He’s a good catch-and-throw guy. He handles a staff well. He can lead in two languages—bilingual. Interesting guy—there’s some bat there, there’s some power. Interesting guy. Good pick. Like him.

AngelsWin.com: What about Jean Segura?

Abe Flores: One of our better minor league players. He has the potential to be another 5-tool guy. He’s missed parts of 2 seasons—one with a very significant leg injury. This year, with a broken pinky which also knocked him out of Instruction League. That was the frustrating part. But an exciting guy—built like a Raul Mondesi and plays 2nd base—physical.

AngelsWin.com: That’s not a typical body build for a 2nd baseman.

Abe Flores: This guy can run. This guy can move. We need to keep him healthy to get his reps in—get his work out and keep developing him. He has the chance to be something pretty good.

AngelsWin.com: What can you tell us about Alexi Amarista?

Abe Flores: Minor League Player of the Year. In some ways, a 5-tool guy. That’s how Bill Mosiello our manager [at Cedar Rapids] describes him—as a 5-tool guy. We’re going to give a little bit of a loose definition to power. We’re talking doubles power. Not over the fence type power. For a smaller guy, he can drive the ball and he can beat you in a lot of different ways. He’s a solid defender with a plus arm. He isn’t just a second baseman. He can also play the outfield. He can go into centerfield, he can play second. A catalyst. A really tough competitor.

AngelsWin.com: How would you compare him to Jean Segura, who you also described as a 5-tool player?

Abe Flores: Segura would probably have at this point more power and a better runner, remarkably. He is a physical guy.

AngelsWin.com: How would you compare them defensively?

Abe Flores: I would probably give the nod to Alexi. But there still is some upside to Segura. It’s one of those where we’ll see how he develops. We just haven’t had a lot of opportunity to keep him on the field over the last couple of years.

AngelsWin.com: What is going on with Roberto Lopez and Gabriel Jacobo?

Abe Flores: The situation with Lopez was injuries. He didn’t break from camp. Rusty funk. Just trying to get his rhythm back at home plate. But still, at the end of the day, this guy drives in runs. This guy is a run producer. A very steady guy. You know what your going to get everyday on the field.

Abe Flores: Gabe Jacobo I think was basically a snowball effect. He just kept pressing. Things didn’t come as easy to him as they did the year before and just tried to get things back on track.

AngelsWin.com: What can we expect from both of them next year?

Abe Flores: I think that both of them have a true chance of being at Rancho and get better and more productive. I liked Jacobo’s improvement in Instruction League. It was encouraging. There were some swing flaws that Todd Takayoshi (our Minor League Field Coordinator and Hitting Instructor) helped iron out. He just helped him iron out some flaws in his swing to make it a little bit freer and looser.

AngelsWin.com: Do you think that the power will continue to develop?

Abe Flores: We think it can.

AngelsWin.com: And the same for Lopez?

Abe Flores: Yes. Lopez is more of a gap-to-gap type guy. And Jacobo would be a little bit more power.

AngelsWin.com: Could you compare Jeremy Moore and Clay Fuller?

Abe Flores: Jeremy Moore has some power in his bat. He can play all 3 outfield spots probably better in the corners. He does have some power. He can drive the ball over the fence. But for him, it’s about frequency of contact and being a tougher out to get the maximum value. He has continued to improve every single year. He started out with us as being like a “toolsy” type player and his skills have continued to improve every single year.

AngelsWin.com: Fuller showed more patience at the plate, but otherwise posted very similar numbers. How would you describe him?

Abe Flores: Another guy with a tale of two cities. Patience at the plate, but yet, struck out too many times. He should be a tougher out for who he is and what he is. We need more offensive production out of him. The guy can play all 3 outfield spots. He can play centerfield. Good defender, but basically consistency to his offense—he needs to improve that. He knows that and understands that. He’s just got to get it done.

AngelsWin.com: A lot of our fans haven’t been to many of our minor league fields. But, Arkansas is quite cavernous. Some fans who only follow the stats might question the drop in power from someone like Trumbo at Arkansas, especially the drop in home runs. Can you describe the field to help put the numbers in perspective?

Abe Flores: It’s really deep down the lines and deep in the alleys. It’s a monster bomb to hit it over the centerfield fence. I’d describe it like old Busch stadium. It is definitely a pitcher’s ballpark. If somebody hits it out of that ballpark, it’s loud.

AngelsWin.com: So, you’re not at all worried when you see some drop in homeruns.

Abe Flores: No. In fact, if we ever have a homerun leader in the Texas League in that ballpark, you better look out. I’m telling you.

AngelsWin.com: How did the move to the outfield go for Trumbo? Is that his future?

Abe Flores: The people that evaluate him say that he was okay. So it is a work in progress.

AngelsWin.com: Is it going to continue?

Abe Flores: Yes. It will definitely continue. Any versatility helps. Anyone who has seen our major league club knows that Mike [Scioscia] thrives from versatility.

AngelsWin.com: Is Bourjos still on track to be a future leadoff hitter?

Abe Flores: Yes. Strikeouts continue to be a little bit of a concern, but he continues to improve his strike zone discipline. What has really blossomed is his base running—and he still has a way to go on that. But he is continuing to improve that. Being more aggressive on the bases and stealing more bases. Statistically, if you look at it, it might be a bit misleading because the amount of stolen bases are high. But, his efficiency has improved, especially as he moves onto Triple-A and to the big leagues. Plus-plus runner. Plus-plus defender. Can make that Willie Mays type catch that will astound you. That kind of range. That kind of body control. Those kind of jumps. He’s just a really good athlete.

AngelsWin.com: What can you tell us about Pettit?

Abe Flores: When he’s doing his thing he’s hitting the ball hard in all 4 quadrants. Steady defender. Not a flashy player. Just a good baseball player. I think that kind of encapsulates who he really is. A good, solid baseball player.

AngelsWin.com: Once again thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today.

Abe Flores: You are welcome.

Look for part 3 (the pitching) on Wednesday.
Love to hear what you think!


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