12. Antoni Flores (Shortstop)
Antoni Flores got his first taste of Short-A last season. Admittedly, things didn’t go all that well when it comes to stats.
Flores appeared in 55 games for Lowell. In those games, the right-handed hitter posted a .193 batting average with four doubles and one triple. However, it was also a season in which he was just 18 the entire time.
Flores has all the tools to be a great player. He could easily be above-average in every category. While he hasn’t shown it much yet, Flores has a great bat that can go for average as well as pretty decent pop.
He’s also got solid speed that should help him in the field, as well as make him a threat on the base paths. No, he won’t steal 30-plus bases but he could get you 15-20 any given season.
Finally, there’s the defense. Flores is a shortstop and he looks naturally gifted there. He has a great arm and good instincts. His speed gives him a good range as well and combining that with the arm should make for some impressive plays.
Something that might make Flores harder for fans to get excited about is how far away he is. The shortstop clearly still has a lot of polishing to do. Due to that, he won’t be making the majors anytime soon. In fact, unless he does something drastic, he won’t even be flirting with the Majors for quite some time.
This is actually a good thing though. Flores has the potential to be a great shortstop in the future. Xander Bogaerts is there now though. Boston just signed him to a nice extension and with the ridiculous production, he put up last year it was clearly a great move.
That being said, in three or four years things could change. Bogaerts will still be great with the bat, but he’s already an average fielder. At that point, Boston might want him more for the bat than the glove. Maybe Flores takes over the fielding duties while Bogaerts hits the designated hitter role.
It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox not wanting Flores in the lineup full-time in a few years, so something will have to give. For now, just be patient.