Tyler Flowers is hitting .207/.313/.429/.742 with 19 BB / 55 K in 140 AB / 163 PA and a .273 BABIP. Scott Merkin looks at the situation:
When Flowers joined the White Sox, the story was about a Major League-ready hitter who needed work behind the plate. Flash-forward two springs, and Williams told MLB.com how Flowers had progressed nicely in the catching department but needed to make changes in the mechanics of his swing in order to show he was an everyday catcher.
Those changes were implemented by Flowers. But with all due respect to the organization, Flowers wants to somewhat return to a more familiar style that made him previously successful.
“At the point where I’ve tried doing it their way this last month, sadly enough the numbers speak for themselves, and that way doesn’t totally work,” Flowers said. “I have to go back to the old me. I have to go back to my style of hitting, while implementing the little things Walk [White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker] and Kenny talked about.
“I’m about being a little more aggressive. I haven’t been happy with not driving balls anywhere, especially to right field. I’m not driving them like I can and why Kenny traded for me. I’ve lost that since spring. It has even been frustrating in batting practice. But I think I found where that piece was missing. I’m pumped up to get my game going and get my timing back and get rolling.”
Here’s Merkin’s article on the Spring Training changes:
So, what happened to Flowers’ hitting strength? It was no less than general manager Ken Williams who made that claim of Flowers being ready to hit Major League pitching shortly after picking him up from Atlanta, and it was Williams who said Monday that Flowers would have not only hit but hit with some impact in the big leagues if he had maintained the same approach Williams witnessed in the 2008 Arizona Fall League.
According to Williams, Flowers’ approach at the plate had changed when he was called up to the Majors last September and was exaggerated more this spring. The 24-year-old moved his hands behind his right shoulder, creating for a much longer swing, while adding a twist of the upper body and opening up his hips and leading with his hips.
“It was a double combination of bad,” Williams said. “Tyler had them more in a traditional place with a traditional load. Walk has talked to him about it. I talked to him about it. I have the greatest frame of reference to see him.
“I do see signs of him now getting his hands away from his body a little bit. He’s showing a shorter swing. His short swing is still very powerful. He’s better able to handle all the pitches when he does this. I’m encouraged by him at this stage.”
Walker thought Flowers’ previous hitting instructors weren’t up to MLB standards:
“There are some things mechanically he needs to clean up, but that’s what Triple-A is for,” Walker said. “I still believe he’s got a chance. I don’t think he’s that far off, and I love his talent.”
“That happens sometimes when guys go home and they work with their own individual hitting instructors and they aren’t necessarily qualified instructors to teach Major Leaguers how to hit Major League pitchers,” Williams said. “He and Walk talked about it and worked very diligently to try to correct those mistakes.”