2018 SSS Top Prospect rank: 28
SSS rank among all left-handed starting pitchers in the system: 3
Flores spent his first season with USC as a reliever, but he was the Trojans swingman during his sophomore and junior seasons. After a respectable sophomore season, he struggled mightily in his junior year by posting a 6.70 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 41 2⁄3 innings, allowing 50 hits and 16 walks while striking out 36. Despite the results, the White Sox did their due diligence and drafted him in the seventh round in 2016, signing him to a $200,000 bonus.
Flores finished 2016 with the AZL Sox and Great Falls, where he combined to post a nifty 3.46 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 65 innings, allowing 67 hits (.270 OBA) and just 12 walks (4.5%) while fanning 52 hitters (19.6%). In 2017, Flores pitched a combined 118 1⁄3 innings for both Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, allowing just 116 hits (.257 OBA) and 32 walks (6.5%) while striking out 103 hitters (20.8%).
In 2018 with Winston-Salem and Birmingham, Flores combined to produce a 2.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over a career high 156 innings, ceding 154 hits (.261 OBA) and 31 walks (4.9%) while striking out 105 (16.5%).
Flores has been the model of consistency, despite the fact that his velocity has dropped from 96 mph to the low 90s. His repertoire includes an above-average changeup that still needs some refinement (righties hit .285 against him this year), a tight curveball, and an effective cutter. Flores is more pitcher than thrower, and with his ability to minimize walks (1.99 BB/9) and keep the ball down (1.49 GO/AO), he may be the closest thing to Mark Buehrle that the White Sox have in its vaunted system.
Though Flores split his time (and results) evenly between Winston-Salem and Birmingham last year, he returned to Birmingham for 2019 in part due to a logjam in Charlotte to begin the year. With the Barons, he’s been a victim of the weak-hitting Birminghamers, going 2-5 in the early going but with a dazzling 2.70 ERA and 0.992 WHIP. It is absolutely not out of the question that, at least for a midsummer spot start, Flores bypasses Charlotte entirely for a major league debut in 2019.
Take a look!
Bernardo Flores. This is a way back field since Twitter keeps suggesting my location is the gift shop pic.twitter.com/YMXYUFdr3g— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 17, 2019
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