Kendry Flores isn't necessarily a name known outside those who closely follow the South Atlantic League or the Giants farm system.
After his performance Wednesday afternoon, even the casual fan might want to start paying attention.
The 21-year-old right-hander struck out a career high 15 batters, walked none and allowed one earned run on five hits over eight innings as Class A Augusta bested Lexington, 2-1, in 12 frames at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Flores, who has a fastball in the lower-to-mid 90s along with a cutter, a curveball and a changeup, struck out the side in the third and sixth innings and struck out a pair of Legends in the second, fourth and fifth. He only allowed one hit through the game's first six frames -- a leadoff triple by Bubba Starling in the second -- before the Legends managed three straight knocks in the seventh, punctuated by 2013 first-round pick Hunter Dozier's RBI single. Flores' day ended when he struck out Terrance Gore to end the eighth.
The 15 punchouts represent the second-highest total in the Minor Leagues this season. Top Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle struck out 16 for Double-A Reading on April 22 and remains at the top spot in that category. Anibal Sanchez fanned 17 for the Tigers four days later for what has stood as the high mark in the Major Leagues since.
Wednesday's gem marked the fourth time this season that Flores has hit double-digits in strikeouts with all four occasions coming in his last 10 starts. He has been particularly effective in July and August, going 4-1 with a 1.46 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 62 strikeouts and four walks in eight starts (55 2/3 innings).
On the season, Flores is 9-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts (135 2/3 innings). His 134 strikeouts rank third in the South Atlantic League behind West Virginia's Tyler Glasnow (147) and Delmarva's Parker Bridwell (138) while his 7.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio (134/14) is tops among the circuit's starters.
The right-hander was signed out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 17. He played each of the last two seasons with Class A A Short-Season Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League but hadn't posted an ERA lower than 4.46 in either campaign.
Top Minor League Strikeout Performances of 2013
|April 22||Jesse Biddle||Reading (PHI)||16|
|Aug. 21||Kendry Flores||Augusta (SF)||15|
|Aug. 9||Andrew Barbosa||Visalia (ARI)||14|
|Aug. 16||Parker Bridwell||Delmarva (BAL)||14|
|April 4||Tony Cingrani||Louisville (CIN)||14|
|Aug. 9||Tanner Peters||Stockton (OAK)||14|
The GreenJackets eventually won Wednesday's contest when Eliezer Zambrano drove in Alberto Robles in the top of the 12th.
Legends starter Christian Binford allowed one run on six hits over seven innings for a strong outing but, like Flores, did not factor into the decision.