Prior to the 2010 season, the widespread belief was that it would be A.J. Pierzynski’s last with the Chicago White Sox, as Tyler Flowers was expected to succeed him as the team’s starting catcher. 

It was a fair assumption, considering he was coming off a year having hit .297 with 15 HR in 353 AB between Double-A and Triple-A.

One year later, the idea that it is a foregone conclusion that Flowers will inherit the job is almost laughable. 

Still one of the bright young catching prospects in the game, he suffered from a miserable season at Triple-A:

346 At Bats
.220 Batting Average (76 Hits)
16 Home Runs
53 RBI
43 Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.334 On Base Percentage
.434 Slugging Percentage
.287 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The problem was the strikeouts, which have to be a major concern.  In 2010, Flowers posted a strikeout rate of 35.0% against Triple-A pitching.  The scary thing is that in the Major Leagues, you would actually expect that number to increase.

Unfortunately his struggles last season did not come out of left field.  In 2009 he actually posted a 30.6% strikeout rate. 

While it may be a little bit on the higher side, there’s little reason to think that he’s not going to strike out a significant number of times.  It is fairly simply, when you strike out that much, it’s impossible to post a good average.

Before you point to his 2009 success, realize that he posted a .391 BABIP that season.  There’s no way he’s replicating that mark.

He does have a good eye at the plate, posting a 13.7% walk rate in 2010 and a 16.0% mark in 2009.  Clearly, that’s not enough, however.

He has decent power and in a full season he could hit 20+ home runs, which certainly would bring him value, but as nothing more than a low-end option.  When you value him, think of a Rod Barajas type:

  • 2009 – .226, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 43 R
  • 2010 – .240, 17 HR, 47 RBI, 39 R

Yes, he has the potential to hit a few more home runs, but the average and runs scored could be just as bad.  In other words, don’t buy into the hype. 

Even if he is still handed full-time catching duties for the White Sox, his value will only lie in two-catcher formats.

What are your thoughts of Flowers?  Could he be usable in all formats?  Do you even think he’s handed the White Sox job?

Make sure to check out our other Prospect Reports as we wrap up 2010 and head towards 2011:


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