If the Pittsburgh Pirates held some sort of competition to find out who is the most athletic player in the system is, J.C. Flowers would absolutely be in the running for it.
He may also be one of the most versatile players in the system.
Last year in Altoona, the former Florida State Seminole did just about everything as a member of the pitching staff. Whether it be starting, closing, long relief, high-leverage situations, whatever it was, Flowers did it.
Now in Indianapolis he’s getting a chance to do that again, as just five appearances into the season he’s already seen playing time in the second inning, all the way to the eighth. His first two times out the bullpen were for a single inning, but with the Indians injury issues when it comes to pitching, as been slowly stretched out to cover longer stints.
When Kent Emanuel faltered in his start on Wednesday, it was Flowers that came out the bullpen in the second inning and got 10 outs in relief.
He allowed two runs on a home run in the third, but finished really strong, striking out the last five batters he faced.
Flowers has always been an interesting name to watch, due to his athleticism and wipe out slider (that’s logging a whiff rate of over 30% this season) as well as his overall versatility as a reliever.
He didn’t strike out many in Altoona, but has 11 in his first 10 innings this year in Triple-A. As the season wears on, if the injuries continue to mount, the Pirates may have to start looking at answers outside the 40-man to cover innings.
At the very least, if they continue to stretch him out, he may be able to cover a few starts in Indianapolis as the season drags on.
— Anthony Solometo got his first taste of First National Bank Field, and in true fashion, surrendered a home run. He also struck out a career high eight batters, and the broadcast mentioned him getting as high as 96 mph with the fastball.
— The top of the order for Altoona was mostly silent on Wednesday, with the first five hitters going a collective 1-for-16 on the day. Domingo Leyba was the lone player at the top of the order to get a hit for the Curve.
Mason Martin and Henry Davis have put together some decent at-bats this year, but haven’t seen the hits fall just yet on a consistent basis.
Daily Video Rundown
JP Massey was a name that was brought up by multiple people here on Pirates Prospects as a player to watch this year. Here’s the video from his first outing of the 2023 season for Bradenton.
Rodolfo Castro has done a great job filling in for Oneil Cruz, especially while facing left-handed pitching.
3-run BLAST for Castro! 💥 pic.twitter.com/LuhSHWJCpB
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 19, 2023
One of the Pirates big international signings, Shalin Polanco picked up his first extra-base hit for the Marauders on Wednesday.
Shalin Polanco with a double, his first extra base hit of the season #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/E8LGhTG9Hy
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) April 19, 2023
PIRATES PROSPECTS DAILY
By Tim Williams
In my daily column, I looked at three trends which might point to the Pirates being a good team.
Pirates Recap: Pirates Finish Coors Sweep With Blowout Win
Prospect Watch: Malcom Nunez Homers; Anthony Solometo Racks Up Strikeouts
**Ryan Palencer talked with top pitching prospect Quinn Priester, who feels his athleticism fuels his in-game adjustments on the mound.
**Yesterday, Anthony wrote about how the Pirates are getting more from Jack Suwinski by using him more strategically.
**On the injury front, Ji-Man Choi is expected to miss eight weeks. In the minors, Chris Owings and Abrahan Gutierrez both landed on the injured list.
There’s a major update in that Choi article on Rob Zastryzny. It turns out that the original statement was off by one word that makes a HUGE difference.
SONG OF THE DAY
Happy Holidays to all who celebrate.
Good video breakdown as always, AM.
Thank you for the video of Rodolfo Castro’s 3 RBI bomb against the Rockies. After a rough start, he has returned to the promise shown last year when called up. He and Bae have really secured the MI/Util positions. Marcano is another 23 year old who was brought up last year and is now a little more comfortable.
Tip of the cap to BC because ‘Cutch, Santana, and Joe have proven to be exc team players and positive support & leadership for the young Bucs.
Hard to believe, but Mason Martin is only 3 months older than Davis, and both are doing very well. Using OPS, Martin is #22 in the EL with an .859 OPS, and Davis is #25 with an .848 OPS. They both have enormous power, but the attention to detail at the plate has shown in their BB/K numbers – Davis 10 BB/8 K, and MM 10 BB/10 K. Martin has 4 EBH (2 HR) and 6 RBI while Davis has 3 EBH (2 HR) and 7 RBI. Not gaudy, but excellent team numbers.
Glad to see the Pirates finally decide to allow JC Flowers to be the standout RP he was at Fla St when he was drafted. He could probably be a part-time SP, but last year at AA he was “almost” a full time RP and had 31 appearances, 69 IP with a 2.88 ERA. Thanks to some key SP returns from trades, Keller turning the corner last year, and plenty of SP depth in the minors, we need Flowers, Dombkowski, etc. in the BP.
We need to get a go fund me page for Castro, buy him some jewelry. Kid practically looks naked!