Tyler Flowers showed overall improvement
Jul 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers (21) hits an RBI single in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 season for Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was his best season since playing in his first major league game in 2009.
Flowers didn’t really have a “full season” in the majors as a starter until the ’13 season, but that season was very bad for the former 33rd round draft choice by the Atlanta Braves.
Sep 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Jake Petricka (52) and catcher Tyler Flowers (21) celebrate with teammates after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Chicago won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
In ’13, Flowers batted just .195 in 84 games (256 at-bats), but those numbers were vastly improved in ’14 where the catcher batted .241 in 407 at-bats.
Those at-bats saw Flowers having 98 hits, including 16 doubles, one triple and 15 home runs, a five home run improvement compared to the previous season.
Flowers did have an on-base percentage of .297 and his WAR (wins above replacement) was 2.3 in ’14, so it isn’t like he wasn’t an important part of the White Sox this past season.
What I wish from Flowers was more consistency.
A right-handed batter, Flowers batted .218 in the first half of the season with 102 strikeouts and 26 RBIs in his first 79 games.
After wearing some Oakley glasses, Flowers’ game turned around. In the final 49 games Flowers batted like many of us hoped he would, with a .280 average, that included nine doubles, one triple and 10 home runs.
In that second half of the season, Flowers also collected 24 RBIs and a .553 slugging percentage. The first half of the season for Flowers, his slugging percentage was .304, and that’s a big difference.
That second half of the season saw maybe Flowers’ best moment as a White Sox player on Sept. 9 against the Oakland Athletics, where he tied the game at 4-4 with a two-out solo home run in the 9th inning. Then he hit the game-winning solo homer in the 12th inning with one out.
The month of April was great for Flowers, with a .354 batting average and .398 on-base percentage. From there he batted .208 in May, and in June his batting average was .129 in 21 games.
That improved in July with a .269 average for the month, followed with a .213 average in August and he ended the season by batting .268 in a month where he played in 13 games.
With all of that said, I think the White Sox will bring Flowers back again for the ’14 season, mostly for the reason that they have issues elsewhere that need better improvement other than catcher.
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I’m not saying Flowers’ starting job is 100-percent safe, but he’ll no less than be on the roster in ’15. What I hope is the improvement we saw in the second half of the season stays with him in ’14. If I were to bet on it, I say Flowers is the White Sox starting catcher on Opening Day.
The months to watch for Flowers are May-July because that will set the tone for his season. With the improvement of the final 49 games he played with this past season, then add that with the great start of the ’14 season he had in April, maybe that combines into a productive overall season for the White Sox catcher in ’15.
If it doesn’t, that might be the final straw of inconstancy for the White Sox before they start looking elsewhere.