Wilmer Flores wanted to see Wilmer Flores at Comerica Park this week.
It could not be, but the Venezuelan infielder of the Giants does not lose hope of seeing his younger brother, also called Wilmer Flores, on a Major League field soon.
“I was really waiting for this day,” said the eldest of the Flores this week during the series between Gigantes and Tigres, an organization in which his brother is the third best prospect. “You never know if something happens and they call you. I also don’t know when I’ll be back in Detroit. It would have been cool to see it here, but at some point they will upload it.”
It is a unique situation, but it goes beyond a name. The two brothers, born 10 years apart, have a different middle name, as well as another brother who is also named Wilmer. But while Wilmer Alejandro Flores is a veteran Major League Baseball player who signed with the Mets as a 16-year-old in 2007, Wilmer De Jesús Flores had to wait for his chance and even played college baseball in the United States to catch the attention of the scouts.
“In Latin America, when you are 17 or 18 years old, basically you are already old,” explained the elder Flores. “They love you when you’re like 14 or 15 years old. I think when he was 14 he got injured, or they didn’t like how he dropped the ball.”
“There are a lot of talented guys like him, but they are already 17, 18 years old and they don’t get the opportunity. Fortunately, he had me and we brought him here so they could see him here. And he capitalized on that.”
The opportunity presented itself at Arizona Western College, a community college in Yuma, Arizona. Veteran former Puerto Rican catcher Bengie Molina played one season there before signing the pro. Sergio Romo also saw action in that team. Flores pitched just 11 2/3 innings in six games for Arizona Western in 2020, walking 12 and striking out 16 batters before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season. But his powerful arm caught the attention of Joey Lathrop, a Tigers scout, who recommended that they sign him.
The 2020 Draft lasted just five rounds, but teams could sign an unlimited number of players after that for a $20,000 bonus. Wilmer De Jesús Flores was one of the players who agreed with the Tigers, a signing that he now looks like a bargain.
After debuting last year in the minors, Wilmer De Jesús has a 2.95 ERA this year between Strong Class-A and Double-A, with 109 strikeouts, just 17 walks and a WHIP of 0.97 in 85.1 innings. He has pitched 21 games, 20 of them as a starter.
“I do not know how scouting. I don’t even know pitching,” said the Giants right-handed hitter. “He has worked hard. You can ask anyone who has played with it. He is a worker “.
The elder Flores confessed that he didn’t get many chances to see his brother pitching in college, or even last year in the minors. He is obviously busy with his own career. Now that young Flores has quickly advanced through the Tigers’ farm system, he watches as many games as he can on the Internet when he has time. He sees it as a fan, not a talent evaluator.
“Every time we talk I ask him how he feels and if he’s healthy, if the arm is okay,” he said. “He takes care of the rest. I don’t need to tell you anything about pitching, because I really don’t know about it. I’m sure he has good coaches there, and with his attitude, he learns fast”.
“He’s definitely smarter than me,” Flores revealed.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a healthy sibling rivalry. While the eldest Flores is known as “Catire” because he had blonde hair when he was a child, his younger brother is called “Chiquito.” Although only because of his age.
“It’s the little brother,” the older one laughed. “He measures like 6-4, 6-5 (1.95 meters). But yeah, he’s the little guy.”
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There could soon be two Wilmer Flores in MLB (yes, seriously)