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Saturday, November 26, 2022

J.C. Flowers: Athleticism Allows Righty To Be A Quick Study On The Mound

ALTOONA, Pa. – When a team drafts a college player, they are usually hoping to get someone more advanced at their position than if they took a high schooler.

So, when the Pittsburgh Pirates took JC Flowers in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, they were hoping his super athleticism would make up for the fact he didn’t pitch at Florida State until his junior year.

In fairness, based on how Flowers played that year, it didn’t seem like there was much he wasn’t capable of. He became the first player in Florida State’s storied history to record double digits in home runs, saves, and stolen bases in the same season.

Flowers hit a home run and recorded a save in the same game four times in 2019. That had only happened two other times in Seminole history, with Buster Posey and Mike McGee each doing it once.

Fast forward to 2021 and not only was Flowers focusing on pitching but he was also starting for the Pirates High-A team. Overall he struck out 92 batters in 78.2 combined innings between Bradenton and Greensboro, posting a 3.78 ERA.

Entering 2022, he finds himself again in the middle of a staff filled with a lot of the Pirates top pitching prospects, all of which he admitted have pitched longer than him. Flowers relishes that opportunity to pick their brains when he gets the chance.

“I think for me I just try to get different mindsets of the game,” Flowers told Pirates Prospects. “I feel we all view the game of baseball in a different way. I know those guys have been pitching longer than I have. I just try to pick their brains a little bit, and try to see what I can use from their viewpoint.”

Flowers didn’t get off to the best start this season, allowing 15 hits and seven walks in 13.1 innings during the first month of the season. 

As the season has continued, Flowers has gotten stronger, and now in the midst of a two-month stretch where he’s allowed just five earned runs over his previous 24.2 innings pitched. Where the strikeouts were hard to come by early on, he’s averaging more than one per inning in July and August.

Part of that is recognizing what is working, and what isn’t, just like he did heading into the season when it comes to his pitch arsenal.

“Last year I threw a curveball, but I don’t throw it anymore,” Flowers said. “I just stuck with the slider and change.”

The curveball was starting to look like a slider, so Flowers just went with the slider alone.

Flowers’ slider grades out as one of the best pitches in the system, with FanGraphs giving it a ‘70’ for its future grade. Having a breaking ball like that can put any player on the fast track to the major leagues, which could come soon with Flowers being Rule 5 eligible come this offseason.

For now, Flowers is succeeding as a key member of the Curve’s bullpen, all the while soaking in the experience he has been getting from both playing and his teammates.

“I think the more I go being a pitcher, I’m learning more and more about the game,” Flowers said. “Even from other guys, like Carmen [Mlodzinski] and Quinn [Priester] and Kyle Nicolas, I just try to learn stuff from them and just try to help my game as a pitcher.”

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

ALTOONA CURVE PITCHERS

By Anthony Murphy

Williams: Scouting Talent, Scouting People

Quinn Priester: Confidence Paves Path To Success On The Mound

Kyle Nicolas: Attacks Hitters Base Off ‘Feel’ On The Mound

Maintaining Focus on the Mound is Key To The Highest Level

Luis Ortiz: Focus On ‘Filling Zone’, Force Hitters To Cheat On Fastball

Tahnaj Thomas: Bullpen Role Helping Focus On Throwing Strikes

J.C. Flowers: Athleticism Allows Righty To Be A Quick Study On The Mound

ALTOONA CURVE HITTERS

By Tim Williams

Williams: Exquisite Corpse

Endy Rodriguez is Looking Like the Best Prospect in the Pirates System

Liover Peguero Needs to Control His Talent

Jon Nunnally Discusses the Hitting Development Approach in Altoona

Why is Nick Gonzales Struggling to Make Contact?

Blake Sabol: A Prospect Development Story

Aaron Shackelford: “It’s definitely been a growing season, mentally”

+ posts

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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mpg43952

Hope he’s still taking BP, guy like him could hit on a rest day.

ricramer

Looking for him to part of the Pirates bullpen sometime next season.

emjayinTN

If he did not have 68 IP already, I would be wondering why we do not allow him to take some calls to the Bullpen at AAA or MLB.

roberto

Mostly roster management issues I think, but maybe there’s still stuff he needs to work on at AA. Check back after September 1.

roberto

I quote from FG: If Flowers isn’t the best athlete in the system, he’s at least in the running.

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