Jesus Flores was not supposed to be the Nationals catcher with the most playing time on the season, but injuries to, well, almost every catcher in the organization allowed Flores to be that guy in between Wilson Ramos going down with an injury and the acquisition of Kurt Suzuki.
2012 Projection (ZiPS): .226/.266/.366, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 73 games (243 AB)
2012 Actual: .213/.248/.329, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 83 games (277 AB)
As you can see, Flores was pushed into action a little more than was initially thought but still had a backup workload except for a brief spell when he was the every day catcher. Flores’s best action in his career came in part-time duty (29 games) in 2009. Many believe Flores being a Rule-V pick forced him into the Majors earlier than he should have been with his development. He missed the entire 2010 season stemming from a September 2009 injury of a torn labrum. Ever since then, his power has been sapped and seems to have hurt him at the plate.
In the field, Flores has also been affected by the injury. Prior to the injury, he threw out 30.9% of potential base stealers in the Major Leagues. After the injury, he has only thrown out 16.3%. Some of that may be small sample size, some of that may be his continued recovery but it doesn’t bode well if you have a backup catcher who has trouble throwing people out and at the plate.
Flores is still young (27) who could bounce back and the Nationals hope he does. He isn’t looked to for a big role but with so many Nationals catchers getting time at the major league level, Flores may be in trouble if his shoulder forces him to continue to struggle. Add that to the fact that both Ramos and Suzuki should be in Nationals uniforms by the start of next season.
Season Highlight: Flores had a hard season at the plate for the most part but on May 27, he had 2 RBI singles – including the go ahead run – in a 7-2 win against the Atlanta Braves for his most productive game of the season at the plate.