Jecksson Flores is a guy that we’ve been getting a lot of questions about recently. He has been in the Royals system for eight years after signing as a 16-year-old from Venezuela back in 2010. Flores made his debut in the Royals system in the Dominican Summer League during the 2011 season. Flores made his debut in the United States for the 2013 Arizona team. He spent two years in Idaho Falls before the Royals moved Flores to Lexington in 2016. Last year he played at Wilmington and this year Flores is in Northwest Arkansas where he made the Texas League All Star team and started at third base for the North team.
Flores has been a slow developer which is not uncommon for many Latin players. He is now 24 and been a vital part of the 2018 NWA Naturals. Flores is a player that brings the energy. He is smaller at 5’11” and just 145 lbs. So far this year Flores has started at 3B, SS, 2B, LF, CF, and DH. Most of those starts have come at third base but with the trade for Kelvin Gutierrez who is now at third, Nicky Lopez being promoted with Erick Mejia moving to short, Flores looks like the everyday second baseman for the Naturals. He hits all over the lineup but primarily hits in on base positions.
This utility/on base role has started to become his identity. Flores is a truly versatile player who is a spark plug personality that can get on base with a little bit of pop. He gets excited for himself and his teammates bringing some energy when he gets on base. Flores can pull the fastball out of the park but that is not what he is looking to do. His approach is to get on base anyway he can. Flores will shoot the ball the other way or look to drive a ball if the opposing pitcher makes a mistake. Once he is on base, he can steal the next base.
At the start of the 2018 season, Flores was considered a utility guy who would probably be an organizational player for the Royals. He would play until he was 29 maybe getting to Omaha and make a pretty decent living playing baseball. But now Flores has learned to just hit. Whether it was the tough hitting environment at Wilmington that forced him to learn contact skills or just finally some physical maturity, Flores has torn the cover off the ball at NWA and is currently hitting .338. That’s higher than Nicky Lopez who was the team leader.
Jecksson is in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak. This is the third time this season in which one of his hit streaks has reached 13 games. May 3-17, Flores put together a 13-game hit streak in which he hit .354. May 29 – June 13, Flores hit .444 over a 15-game hitting streak. June 15 to today, Flores is hitting .365 in a 13-game hit streak that should continue. Keep in mind that Flores has faced Michael Baez (43 on Baseball America’s top 100 list), Corbin Martin (80), and Logan Allen (85) over the last 5 games and is hitting .550 in that time span.
One amazing thing about Jecksson’s season is that his home and road splits are nearly identical. He has 114 at bats both at home and on the road. At home he has 39 hits, on the road he has 38. At home he has 7 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 home runs. One the road he has 7 doubles, no triples, and 3 home runs. At home he has walked 7 times and struck out 16 times. On the road he has walked 7 times and struck out 14 times. At home he has scored 20 runs, on the road he has scored 19. That’s really amazing stuff. The biggest differential in his counting stats at home and on the road? At home Flores has been hit by 1 pitch, on the road he has been hit by 5. There you have it. The almost perfect model of consistency.
I’ve seen Flores hit a lot of balls hard through the left side or up the middle on the ground. He also will hit the ball hard in the air to all fields. I’ve seen him spray a ground ball or two through the 3/4 hole on the right side. I’ve seen line drives into both gaps and I’ve seen him pull two home runs down the left field line on inside fastballs. Flores only weakness may be opposite field power.
Flores wasn’t a top 100 guy in the Royals system coming into the year. We didn’t rank him in our mid-season prospect list but it seems we have missed on Flores. Utility guys who can hit and run do well sticking on teams, especially in the National League. If Jecksson continues to hit like this, he will move quickly up the Royals prospect list and make the move to Omaha soon. Flores could push to make the big league team next year if the bat is real, especially with the Royals propensity for guys who play multiple positions.