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Pirates Prospects Daily: J.C. Flowers Was a Super Utility Pitcher For Altoona

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When it comes to position players, the more roles you can fill, the better chance you have of finding a permanent spot on the major league roster.

If there is a super-utility role for pitchers, then you could say that 2019 fourth round pick J.C. Flowers filled that role on the Altoona Curve pitching staff.

You needed a starter? Flowers started 13 games in 2021, and filled in two more times this past season. He allowed one run in five innings, striking out six in those two starts.

Flowers was used as a starter, long reliever, set-up guy, and even closer — he picked up three of his four professional saves in 2022 — and did well in almost every role he was given.

The righty finished with a 7-6 record, logging 68.2 innings while holding opponents to a .223 average. He struck out less than a batter an inning (21.8 K%), but kept hitters off the bases by limiting free passes (8.4 BB%).

Using one of the better sliders in the system, Flowers generated almost two ground balls per fly ball (1.96 GB/FB). Overall, he generated ground balls at a 56.8% rate.

For as good a season as Flowers had, it could have been better if not for a rough start to the year. The chart below shows Flowers in April, versus the rest of the 2022 season.

April Rest of Season
4.05 ERA 2.60
4.39 FIP 3.92
19.4% K% 22.4%
11.3% BB% 7.6%
.278 Opponents Average .208
69.4% Left on Base% 80.4%

Flowers got off to a slow start in April, but was great the rest of the season. He was especially good in an eighth inning role. In the 16 times he pitched in the eighth inning, Flowers didn’t allow a run, while giving up only six hits, and striking out 12.

While Flowers doesn’t get the kind of swing and miss you would generally look for in relievers, his high ground ball rate and ability to pitch in different roles could make him a strong option out of the bullpen, even at the major league level.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**The Kevin Newman trade opens the backup middle infield role going into the 2023 season. I have to wonder if the Pirates will opt to go with internal options, and maybe a few lower cost minor league free agents. Diego Castillo is one of those middle infield options. In this week’s Pirates Winter Report, John Dreker writes about Castillo’s work in Venezuela this offseason.

**MLB Pipeline released their Top 30 prospects from the Arizona Fall League. The Pirates had three prospects rank among the list.

**The Pirates almost have their own farm team in Australia. On Friday, there were six Pirates prospects in the lineup for Sydney. John Dreker wrote about that in the latest winter league recap.

**Missed yesterday? I wrote about what I think is next for the Pirates this offseason.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

This week’s Pirates Winter Report by John Dreker gives some really good insight as to the pitching talent in each level. The “Around the World” feature is my favorite, giving a look at the Pirates prospects throughout each league.

Pirates Winter Report: Diego Castillo Gains Some Needed Versatility in Venezuela

Ethan Hullihen will have his latest Pirates Business update on Sunday at noon.

Pirates Discussion

If you missed it from Friday, check out the latest Pirates Discussion from Jeff Reed.

Weekly Pirates Discussion: Where the 40-Man Roster Stands After Rule 5

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Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
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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