Ht: 6'4" Wt: 170
Acquired: 2016 Draft, 7th round, 206th overall - University of Southern California
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #25 - 2017 Preseason
- In-person report with embedded video, May 2017
- VIDEOS from May 2017:
- Interview, May 2017
- In-person report with video, April 2018
- All FutureSox articles tagged Bernardo Flores
- #20 Prospect in the Pioneer League, Baseball America, 2016
- Carolina League All Star, 2018
- White Sox Pitching Prospect of the Month, June 2018
While he was overshadowed by the performances of some fellow 2016 draftees, Flores certainly impressed in his first short season as a professional. He was drafted as a young college junior, just 20 years old when selected. In college, the lefty pitched mostly out of the bullpen for the Trojans and only had 8 starts between his sophomore and junior campaigns. Despite adequate-enough peripherals in the PAC-10, Flores didn't have a lot of success over his collegiate career that yielded a career 5.34 ERA in the NCAA. Flores finished his time at USC on a somber note with a 6.70 ERA and a WHIP just a shade under 1.6. He didn't suffer any major injuries while at USC, but didn't even eclipse the 100 inning mark as a collegiate performer. More important than his strong initial results, Flores brought plenty of positive reports from evaluators with one scout clocking his velocity as high as 97.
Regardless of track record, the White Sox liked Flores enough to sign him for $200,000 ($214,900 slot) in the 7th round. After a quick tune-up stint in Arizona, Flores was assigned to the Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer League which is never a good draw for a pitcher. Although the majority of this lefty's experience was out the bullpen, the White Sox set him up in the rotation where he made 12 starts.. The southpaw threw 59 innings that resulted in a 3.66 ERA ERA and a 3.8 K/BB ratio. In 2017, Flores was successful in 14 starts with Kannapolis (3.35 ERA, 1.5 BB/9, 8.1 K/9) before being promoted to Winston-Salem, where he was young for the league and his numbers all fell back a bit. Here in 2018, he's made significant developmental strides (see the In-Person report linked above) and the numbers show it. After 12 starts with the Dash compiling a 2.55 ERA, he was promoted to AA Birmingham in June and has been doing well in his first six starts there.
Flores had sat 91-94 during his starts in Great Falls. However, Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs cited velocity fluctuations as a reason for Flores' college struggles - and we are seeing that as a pro as well (see the detailed report from 2017). Despite the inconsistent velo, Longenhagen was bullish enough on the lefty to rank him 15th overall in the 2016-2017 offseason in a vastly improved White Sox farm system. Our looks at him in early 2017 showed similarly erratic velocity, ranging from 87 to 93 with the heater. In 2018, the velo range has tightened, though it still centers in the low 90's.
Flores uses his lanky 6'4" frame to get good angle on his pitches and it's been a point of emphasis for the lefty in his side work with the White Sox. The now 22-year-old features a strong change-up, a cutter and a curveball that varies in shape, usage and success rate. The change-up is the pitch that will typically get the highest grades from evaluators. While the speed variance between his fastball and change-up isn't much, Flores gets big movement on the pitch that mirrors a screwball at its best. The progression of his curveball will be important moving forward if Flores wants to stay as a starter moving through the organization. When he's on top of it, it has a 12-6 rotation but the pitch has typically shown a bit more lateral movement since he's been on the scouting radar. In 2018 he's added a low 80's slider to his repertoire as well. The fastball seems to be the biggest question mark, but has improved quite a bit. Still development to be done here, but things are tracking nicely right now.
Major League Outlook: 4th/5th starter or multi-inning reliever
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