Tyler Flowers that is! In our first Hot Pickup of the season, we have chosen a catcher who has been in the majors for part of the past four years, and who now enters his fifth season as the White Sox starting catcher. He was a distant 33rd round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2005 draft and hasn’t seen much playing time with Chicago until this year.
He is barely owned in most leagues but we suspect that will change over the next several days or once managers get familiar with his potential as a Sleeper candidate. Flowers hasn’t found it easy getting substantial playing time as the ever durable A.J. Pierzynski has seen the majority of action behind the plate since Flowers’ arrival in the bigs.
Not one to hit for average, even in the minors, Flowers has impressed with his propensity for hitting the long ball and hitting rockets at that. His home runs last year averaged 420 feet!! Although a limited sample, Flowers has had 280 career at bats for the White Sox and has belted 14 homers for an average of about 1 HR for every 20 ABs. Already this year, in just 7 at bats, Flowers has crushed two home runs; one off of Ervin Santana and the other off Jamie Shields. We realize it’s only been three games, but in deeper leagues, how many catchers are still out there on waivers that can garner you 20-25 home runs?
Flowers does have batting averages below the Mendoza line, .205 in the majors and .244 in Triple-A, but his home run potential will more than make up for the low averages. He is available in around 85% of leagues but we will guarantee you that it will be a lot lower by this time next week. Good news travels quickly around fantasy leagues so grab him if available. We predict he will be among the leaders in home runs by a catcher by season’s end.