Antoni Flores Fills A Void In Boston's System
For years, the Red Sox had an impressive pipeline of up-the-middle players who served as the engine of an eventual 2018 World Series champion.
Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vazquez all became essential parts of the 2018 title team, while prospects such as Yoan Moncada and Manuel Margot became key trade chips that supported that core.
While most of Boston's prospect depth in 2019 resides on the corners, highlighted by third basemen Bobby Dalbec and Michael Chavis and 2018 first-rounder Triston Casas—the Red Sox aren't without intriguing shortstops.
None is more attention-grabbing than 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Antoni Flores. He excelled in a brief stint in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .347/.439/.510 in 13 games to earn a quick promotion to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. While minor injuries limited him to two games in the GCL, his across-the-board skill stood out.
"Offensively, he’s advanced," assistant general manager Eddie Romero said. "He had a great feel (during the scouting process) for the zone, great feel for hitting. It’s advanced. He knew what to do. He had a good approach with two strikes. He used the whole field.
"Defensively, he’s got sure hands. We think there’s a pretty good chance that he stays at short, even with added size.”
If the righthanded-hitting Flores, who signed in 2017, can continue to add strength to his 6-foot-1 frame to complement an approach that already shows solid bat-to-ball impact and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight) in his debut, he has a chance to emerge quickly for an organization with few standout middle-of-the-field prospects.
Dominican Summer League Top 20 Prospects Entering 2019
Ben Badler breaks down the potential sleepers and breakout prospects coming over from the DSL.
— The Red Sox reconfigured their pitching oversight. Longtime pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel will serve as the organization's pitching coordinator/logistics, overseeing pitcher availability, promotions and fundamentals.
— Dave Bush will serve as the coordinator for performance, using data to offer instruction on pitch development, usage and strategy, working chiefly with pitchers in the upper levels while also spending time in the big leagues. Bush will be assisted in the lower minors by former Red Sox minor league pitcher Shawn Haviland.