Flores Peaking At The Right Time

Flores has hit .292 over his last 51 games

TRENTON, NJ - One of the best all-around hitters in the Yankees organization has also been one of the hottest hitters lately. In his last 34 games, including the playoffs, Thunder outfielder Ramon Flores has hit .316 with 17 RBIs and 14 extra base hits. He's been a guy who has come through in the clutch and been a significant reason why the team has been heating up recently.

"Oh man, he's playing like gangbusters out there," Thunder Manager Tony Franklin said about his starting left fielder. "I think Flores has been pretty steady all year.

"I don't think the [season] batting average right now is indicative of how I think he is going to hit at the Major League level. I think he's going to be a far better hitter than what his average indicates. He's just pretty good."

A significant reason for Flores' outburst this late in the season was an adjustment he made to his batting stance and swing not too long ago. To him, his swings are a lot more pure and crisp when he steps to the plate.

"I've been making adjustments and working on things mechanically," Flores said with the help of a translator. "I've been getting a little bit lower in my stance and in my swing. I have been working with my hands too, but it's more of using my lower body.

"The thing that I realized is when I was using my legs more, I put a good swing on the ball in a count where I can make better contact. That's what I needed to do, and I've been happy with it."

One thing that Trenton hitting coach Justin Turner has been preaching to Flores is to drive the ball more and hit for a little more power. While some young hitters may take that advice and force themselves to hit better, Flores is a smart hitter at the plate and knew exactly what he needed to do.

"He's doing a much better job of staying on his legs, and we want him to try and drive the baseball," Turner said. "It's kind of a thin line that you walk with a young kid and you try to get him to think about power, but he's made nice adjustments, especially in the month of August.

"He's been blazing hot for us down the stretch. Some adjustments didn't really take anything away from his hitting ability, just helping him impact the ball a little more."

Earlier in the season, Flores was a bit frustrated with his season because he was only hitting in the .240s for the majority of the season and wasn't having the success that he expected out of himself.

At this point though, he's very happy with the adjustments he's made, he feels blessed to have played a full and healthy season, and feels that all he's learned throughout the year can be a positive learning experience moving forward in his young career.

"My swing is more [fluid] and the hands and I feel like it's been better going into the strike zone," Flores said. "That will be one thing that I can focus on to take forward with me for the rest of my career.

"With all the work that I've put in throughout the season, the results at the end of the year and to complete a season being fully healthy is something that makes me very happy. Everything added together satisfies me with how I have been."

At only 21 years old, turning 22 before next season, he is a guy who stands out in Franklin's eyes as a guy who can make an impact at the Major League level.

"When you pay attention to what he can do and what he brings, you like this guy, but you've got to watch him," Franklin said. "You've got to be with him and appreciate what he does day in and day out.

"I wouldn't doubt that he can be in the Major Leagues by [next season]. I think when he establishes himself as a Major League hitter, he's going to get in a lot of hitters counts and when he does that, he's going to be hitting well."

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