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Monday, December 5, 2022

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

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

+ 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.

+ posts

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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joesolo6181

Why don’t you introduce the crowd to some Thin Lizzy?

Tim Williams

I don’t go back that far with music too often. Jailbreak was released recently by my record club. I didn’t pick it up, but might in the future. The Boys are Back in Town is an amazing song.

joesolo6181

It was said that they produced the greatest live album of all time. Two lead guitarists was revolutionary. They were the original Irish breakout band. Far ahead of U2, probably making it possible for them to reach super stardom. As you can tell I am a big fan. If they could of stayed away from drugs there is no telling how big they would have been.

AdministrativeSky236

Ok, I have decided the offseason is already too long and I am ready to get hurt again. Bring on the 2023 season and whatever pain that accompany it

PirateRican21

I have already watched “all” the 2022 wins in the MLB.TV condensed version. Looking forward the WBC.

leefieux

I’m already ready for warm weather.

AdministrativeSky236

Does baseball or warmth help seasonal affect stuff more? We may never know lol

leefieux

Yes.

leefieux

I was digging that song until she started to sing. No doubt I am not a fan of No Doubt.

Can Flowers become a good middle reliever for us?

The Gunner

I’m pretty sure Flowers will get a tryout at some point in 2023 – that will give us a good idea if he can be a contributor in Pittsburgh

roberto

I appreciate your homage to Bob Prince. He was an important part of my youth. But why was he called The Gunner?

The Gunner

The Gunner was our generation’s “Professor of Baseball.” And, my avatar also pays homage to The Great One

leefieux

His rapid fire speaking. Jim ‘The Possum’ Woods gave him that nickname. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Prince

Btw, Lou, aka, Gunner Prince is a great guy!

The Gunner

Are you trying to talk to Lou Marone?

Last edited 11 days ago by The Gunner
leefieux

The LH math teacher:) 🙂

The Gunner

Marone had a nice season for the Bucs after he was recalled in 1969. Arm problems deraited what could have possibly been a productive career.

leefieux

Yep! Broke my heart, since I was a lefty who loved math!

Tim Williams

That’s a classic 90s sound.

leefieux

Yep! Never cared for it, tho. The 90s was pretty much of a dead period for me in music.

PirateRican21

If he keeps that ground ball rate I will say yes. Surprise he does get more K, but if he ever increase that and maintain the ground ball rate then he could be more than middle relief.

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