For the first time since we left the top four of our community prospect rankings, we have a position player prospect to discuss. It was another relatively unexciting vote for the ninth spot on our top 20 list, with there being a clear favorite and that favorite snagging the vast majority of the vote. Taking the number nine spot is a young shortstop with little experience, as Antoni Flores gets the nod after receiving 20 of 34 votes (59 percent).
Flores may be one of the younger players who is on the conscience of Red Sox prospect-followers, and he hardly has any professional experience at all. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been on the minds of many for a while, because that has been the case since before he signed with the team. As is wont to happen with an top international amateur signee, we were all pretty sure Flores was going to sign with the Red Sox on July 2 of 2017 as soon as it could be made official. It’s very rare these things are a surprise. This was the first time in a few years the Red Sox were able to make an sort of splash on this market as well after incurring penalties both for exceeding the cap then manipulating bonuses to circumvent their previous penalties. The organization has obviously had success in this market in the past, so getting back into it was a big deal. Daniel Flores was the biggest name they signed that summer, but as we know the young catcher would tragically pass away later that winter. He wasn’t even number two, at least in terms of money, as that title went to Danny Diaz. The number three prospect of the class, out of Venezuela, was Antoni, who signed for $1.4 million.
Just like virtually every other July 2 signing, Flores wouldn’t make his professional debut until the following summer. He was one of the most anticipated players to take the field in short-season ball last season, starting the year in the Dominican Summer League. Diaz was the big bat, but people were excited to see what the team could get from the more well-rounded Flores. Unfortunately, the young shortstop didn’t quite get a chance to get going. He did play in 13 games in the DSL and looked great in that time, hitting .347/.439/.510 and earning him a promotion to the States and the GCL in short order. That is when his season hit a snag. Flores dealt with “general soreness” and then suffered a hamstring injury, limiting him to only two games down at the complex.
So, we didn’t really get a great chance to see him in action against other professional competition, but scouts have their reports from before he signed as well as some views in his small sample on the field in games plus performances in workouts. It’s hard to say there is a lot of agreement on any player this far away and this inexperienced, but there is plenty of excitement around him. Most of the Red Sox’ talent on the position player side of things is on the corners, but Flores is a legitimate shortstop who should be able to stick at the position. There is some concern he might grow out of it, but most people don’t expect that to happen any time soon, if at all. At the plate, Flores doesn’t really have a standout tool, but he is solid across the board including with his approach at the plate.
The coming season is going to be a fascinating one for Flores. It’s one thing to have scouts talking up your potential, but it’s quite another to actually perform on the field. The shortstop hasn’t really had a chance to do the latter just yet, but that will hopefully change in 2019. We’ll almost certainly have to wait a while until we see him in action, as pushing an 18-year-old to full-season ball with his lack of experience would be extremely aggressive. Presumably he’ll hang out in extended for the first couple months of the season and then head up to Lowell for short-season ball after the draft. Maybe he’ll get a taste of Greenville late in the summer if he impresses at the complex and then performs well with the Spinners, but this season is about getting his feet wet as a professional and showing the scouts they weren’t wrong to heap this early praise on him.
Here is our full list to this point.
- Michael Chavis
- Darwinzon Hernandez
- Triston Casas
- Bobby Dalbec
- Jay Groome
- Tanner Houck
- Durbin Feltman
- Bryan Mata
- Antoni Flores
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number ten. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...