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Boston Red Sox prospect Daniel Flores has died at the age of 17. Flores, a switch-hitting catcher from Venezuela, died from complications during a cancer treatment, the Red Sox announced Wednesday.
“Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel’s tragic passing,” Boston President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “To see the life of a young man with so much promise cut short is extremely saddening for all of us. On behalf of the Red Sox organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Daniel’s family.”
Hours before the team statement, WEII.com’s Rob Bradford reported that Flores was dealing with a “serious medical condition.” The report said that Flores was recently in Boston to “address the situation,” and his family declined to comment on the exact diagnosis due to HIPAA laws. The Red Sox statement listed that condition as being cancer.
Flores is widely regarded as the Red Sox’s top catching prospect and signed a contract with the team July 2 as part of their international free agent signing class. His contract included a $3.1 million signing bonus.
At a news conference following the signing in Caracas, Venezuela, Flores said he intended on having a very long career in the MLB.
“Salvador Pérez is my idol,” he said, as reported by El Nacional. “I hope I can have the constancy to play between 15 and 20 years in Major League Baseball. I hope I can get to the Hall of Fame.”
Flores was ranked as a the No. 2 prospect of all the MLB international signings over the summer by both MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America. He was recently ranked by Mass Live as being the No. 5 prospect in the Red Sox’s farm system.
Flores described his journey to the MLB at the press conference, expressing gratitude to his family for encouraging him to stick with what he loved.
“This is something incredible and satisfying, thank God and my mother, my whole family, I have always been advised and instilled the word ‘excellence,” he said at the news conference. “You always have to look for perfection because if you do, you can get to that, to excellence. Since I left Porlamar I always knew that this is what I wanted, although I do not deny that it was difficult to leave my family.”
Flores’ scouting profile on SoxProspects.com says that he offered “elite defense across the board — quickness, footwork, glove arm — and had a ‘solid’ bat with above-average power.”
During an August interview with Mass Live, Red Sox Assistant General Manager Eddie Romero compared him to Gary Sanchez, who the New York Yankees signed as an international free agent in 2009.
“Our area scout in the Caracas area was on him very early,” Romero said to the publication. “You could tell right away that he was going to be one of the higher-profile guys to come out of Venezuela and probably overall in the international market.”