PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Only a few dozen fans filtered into Tradition Field for the Mets' intrasquad game Friday, but Wilmer Flores managed to make a big impression on most of them.
Flores hit a three-run homer off LaTroy Hawkins in the third inning of a five-inning game, leading his squad to a 6-2 victory.
"I saw him three years ago, and you saw it then when he was a tall, skinny kid and was growing into his body -- the bat potential was huge," manager Terry Collins said. "You saw big power back then, even though he was a skinny guy. When his bat's ready, he'll play in the big leagues. I don't know what position yet, but he'll play in the big leagues."
In the intrasquad game Flores played second base, and that is where he figures to see regular work this year at Double-A Binghamton. Flores will also spend plenty of time at third base -- but with David Wright under contract through 2020, his quickest path to the Majors is at second.
If he performs as well this summer as he did last year, hitting .300 with 18 home runs over two levels of the Minors, Flores could crack Triple-A Las Vegas sometime in the middle of the year. That would put him on track to reach the Majors as soon as 2014.
"Everybody in the Minor League just raves about him offensively," Collins said.