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Even the most casual Braves fans have probably heard the names Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer this year. Whether for good or bad, those two as well as a few others have received quite a bit of media attention this season. One name many have not seen is Tyler Flowers and although the catcher/first baseman has a fairly modest .259/.407/.427 line for Myrtle Beach this season, he deserves quite a bit more attention than he has gotten.
Flowers prospect status has always been dependent upon his power. After coming back from surgery last year, Flowers slugged nearly .500 with 48 extra-base hits for Rome. Without looking at anything but the numbers, the 22-year olds .427 slugging percentage seems incredibly disappointing. As with all power-hitting prospects who unfortunately find their way into Myrtle Beach, the home/away splits can tell a very different story than overall numbers. Seven of Flowers nine home runs have come away from the homer-killing winds of Myrtle Beach in only 21 more plate appearances. His .345 home SLG really puts a damper on his overall stats, but if he was playing his home games in a more neutral park, wed probably see an OPS closer to his .920 away mark. That would certainly have him on the prospect map.
One thing that has been impressive regardless of where Flowers has played is his plate discipline. Though he has always been known to have an advanced knowledge of the strike zone, Flowers has really taken it to a new level this year. Through 70 games Flowers has more walks (58) than strikeouts (57) and though the strikeout total seems high, it only projects to about 115 in 600 plate appearances with 117 walks. His walk total may not be as exciting as the power, but combine the two and youve got a prospect who should excite more than just Billy Beane.
What does his future hold? Thats a question that is certainly up in the air and beyond just the strikeout rate. By all accounts he was a pretty good defensive catcher when he was drafted, despite his rather large stature. His knee surgery last season really took a toll on his defense however, and it seems more and more likely that hell end up at first base rather than behind the plate. Wherever he ends up on the diamond, Flowers is a prospect you should definitely be paying attention to. A promotion to Mississippi seems likely in the next couple of months and after that, we might really be able to see his talent show up in the stats.