Earned Run Average (Reliever)
J.C. Flowers is one of the more interesting prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system. Drafted in 2019, the right-hander didn’t become a pitcher until his final season at Florida State. Flowers has bounced between the rotation and bullpen but only made two starts the entire 2022 season, where he pitched well in a long relief role.
In total, he pitched 68.2 innings in just 33 total games. He had a 2.88 ERA and 1.18 WHIP but a less impressive 4.12 FIP. He had a solid 8.4% walk rate and 0.79 HR/9; however, he only struck out 21.8% of the batters he faced, the primary reason his FIP was so high. But Flowers did pitch for the strikeout from June onward.
In the last 38 innings of 20222, Flowers had a 27.3% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate, and .47 HR/9. He still had a sub-3.00 ERA at 2.31 but a much better-looking 3.31 FIP. On top of that, opponents couldn’t touch Flowers. They managed just a .184 batting average against and had a 1.03 WHIP.
Where Flowers ends up, in the long run, is still up for debate. Altoona pitched him three or more innings in a third of his outings and fewer than two innings in just 12 of his appearances. Flowers has one of the best sliders in minor league baseball and arguably the best breaking ball among all Pirates pitching prospects. If you were to ask me, he should start 2023 in Indy’s rotation, but it’s still up in the air as to if he’ll be a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher in the major leagues.