Red Sox catching prospect Daniel Flores died Wednesday due to complications from treatment for cancer at the age of 17, the Red Sox announced. He had been hospitalized in Boston receiving treatment.
“Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel’s tragic passing,” Red Sox 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.”
The Red Sox signed the highly regarded, switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela this summer to a signing bonus of $3.1 million. He spent the summer at the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic and spent time this fall in Fort Myers, Fla., working with Red Sox instructors in advance of his anticipated professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2018.
Evaluators raved about Flores’s remarkable defensive abilities, with several industry sources describing him as one of the most – if not the most – advanced defensive catchers they’d ever seen at his age.
That ability, coupled with what was seen as solid to above-average offensive ability, suggested a player with elite potential. On top of that, team officials raved about his leadership, makeup, and commitment to excel, commending his unusual maturity.
Just last week, several evaluators who’d seen him play in Fort Myers pegged him as one of the top three to five prospects in the Red Sox system.
“To me, he’s a future superstar,” said one scout. “He has a chance to be a perennial All-Star.”
Days later, members of the Red Sox organization who’d grown close to Flores through the scouting process and his first days as a professional ballplayer were reeling while trying to process their grief. According to a major league source, he’d been receiving treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital after his recent diagnosis with the disease.
“Every member of our organization who got to know Daniel absolutely loved him,” assistant GM Eddie Romero said in a statement. “He was energetic, hard-working, and genuinely selfless, always with a smile on his face. He cared for his teammates and was a natural leader.
“I’m at a loss for words today. Daniel was an impressive young man with limitless potential, and his life was cut far too short. My condolences go out to Daniel’s mother and sister. Though with us for a short time, Daniel will always be a part of the Red Sox family.”
Flores’s agent, Cesar Suarez, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Flores and Salas families as we mourn the loss of this young man. There are no words to express how deeply saddened I am that his life was cut so short.”