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Prospect Profile: Tyler Flowers

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Tyler Flowers was drafted by the Braves in the 33rd round in 2005, a draft-and-follow pick out of Chipola Junior College. He signed in 2006, hit .279/.373/.465 for Danville in the Appalachian League, then tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. I didn't put him in the 2007 book, but would have rated him a Grade C prospect, a guy with offensive potential but a big question mark over his head. How would he do without the juice?

Flowers missed much of the first half of 2007 due to his suspension, but when he came back he played well for Rome in the Sally League, hitting .298/.378/.488 with 34 doubles, 12 homers, 49 walks, and 74 strikeouts in 389 at-bats. Defensive reviews were mixed. A knee injury kept him at first base much of the season, but Braves officials were optimistic about his defense long-term. I gave him a Grade C+ in the 2008 book but noting that he "had some breakout potential."

2008 was a strong season: he hit .288/.427/.494 with 17 homers, 98 walks, and 102 strikeouts for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. Obviously I love the walks, and his strikeouts aren't out of bounds for a young power hitter. His overall production was quite impressive at +27 percent OPS compared to league. He was consistent from month to month, until a massive August hot streak (.355/.474/.671) ended his season on a positive note. He did show a strong platoon split, 1.042 OPS against lefties, .885 against right-handers, but I'm not overly worried about that. On defense, he threw out 28% of runners attempting to steal. He also made 12 errors and allowed 11 passed balls, so he's got some work to do polishing up the defensive skills.

Flowers will move to Double-A in 2009. I'd rate him a Grade B prospect at a minimum right now, and am considering a Grade B+.