Daniel Flores, a 17-year-old catcher who signed with the Boston Red Sox in July when the international amateur signing window opened, died Wednesday due to complications stemming from cancer treatment, the team announced.
Flores was signed out of Venezuela and was classified as the second-best prospect available, according to MLB.com. Flores was receiving treatments in Boston when he died.
"Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel's tragic passing," Dave Dombrowski, Boston's president of baseball operations, 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."
A switch-hitter, the 6-foot-1 Flores said during a July news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, that Salvador Perez was his idol, according to El Nacional.
"I hope I can have the [consistency] to play between 15 and 20 years in major league baseball. I hope I can get to the Hall of Fame."
Although he was several years away from the majors, Flores was already being hailed by scouts for his defense behind the plate, especially his arm strength and quick release. It's likely he would have ranked among the Red Sox's top five prospects by most projections heading into next season.
Manny Padron, one of Flores' coaches, told Hardball Scoop in July that the player was very mature for his age.
"He is a catcher with a great projection. He has a great ability with his glove," Padron told Hardball Scoop. "In the offense, he shows a lot of power in the right side and a lot of ability in the left side. He will improve -- he always does -- in every aspect of the game. But we are happy of his behavior in and off the field."
Flores signed for $3.1 million, according to Baseball America, which made him the third-highest-paid Venezuela prospect ever, according to MLB.com.
"Every member of our organization who got to know Daniel absolutely loved him. He was energetic, hard-working, and genuinely selfless, always with a smile on his face," said Eddie Romero, Boston's senior vice president/assistant GM. "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."
The team said it would have no further comment at this time out of respect for Flores' family.