Can Tyler Flowers fend off the White Sox catching depth?
Aug 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers (21) hits a home run against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
If there is anything that can be said for the Chicago White Sox, it’s they have a lot of catching depth for the 2015 season, but I ask this … will any of these catchers be the starting catcher next season for the Good Guys, or will they look elsewhere?
I ask this because none of the five catchers on the White Sox 40-man roster are All-Star caliber thus far in their career, so with the moves they’ve made so far this season, maybe they have one more big move left in their hand.
Aug 7, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers (21) looks to an umpire following a balk call for the Seattle Mariners during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Currently the starting catcher is Tyler Flowers, who has had an up-and-down career thus far since becoming the full-time starting catcher in ’13 for the White Sox, but the best way I can describe his play thus far in one word is inconsistent.
With the additions the White Sox have made so far in the offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go out and acquire another catcher either via free agency or by trade.
Besides Flowers, who batted .241 in 127 games last season (16 doubles, 15 home runs), the White Sox also have Adrian Nieto, Keavan Smith, Rob Brantley and George Kottaras.
I don’t see any of those four taking over for Flowers as the starting catcher, due to the fact the White Sox are keen on Flowers and really want him to be the catcher for the franchise for a very long time, as he outlasted his .195 average in ’13 and thus far is still the starting catcher in December.
Flowers can call a good game (plus he had a .991 fielding percentage), and I think he can work well with this pitching staff. I’ll continue to question his bat, but there is one thing with Flowers … the sports glasses.
Yes, the sports glasses, I said.
After the All-Star break (48 games) Flowers began wearing the sports glasses, and his average dramatically improved. Here are his numbers from pre- and post-All-Star break, with his pre-All-Star numbers in parentheses (remember, Flowers had 257 pre-All-Star break and 150 at-bats after the All-Star break):
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• Batting Average: 280 (.218)
• Hits: 42 in 48 games (56 in 79 games)
• Home Runs: 10 (5)
• RBI: 24 (26)
• Strikeouts: 57 (102)
• On-base percentage: .337 (.273)
• Walks: 7 (18)
• Slugging Percentage: .553 (.304)
Then there is what is considered clutch numbers, and with two outs and runners in scoring position, Flowers in 48 at-bats batted .229 with 11 hits, 14 RBIs and one home run.
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So with those numbers post-All-Star break, that gives me hope Flowers can keep those type of numbers and even improve on them next season.
Like I wrote earlier … I don’t think any of the other catchers on the White Sox roster will be able to surpass Flowers as the starting catcher, but those four will most likely battle to be the backup on the main roster for ’15.
If nothing else, like I’ve said before … competition can be a very good thing, and for the White Sox, they need the competition to prove they belong as part of this rebuild.