Chicago White Sox: Is It Time for Josh Phegley to Replace Tyler Flowers?

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2013

Josh Phegley has earned the right to be on the White Sox 25-man roster.
Josh Phegley has earned the right to be on the White Sox 25-man roster.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers has some competition for playing time, and his name is Josh Phegley.

Phegley, 25, has earned the right for a promotion to the White Sox’s 25-man roster. On the flip side, Flowers has played himself out of a starting role.

It is a matter of both performance and circumstance.

Following Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, Flowers is hitting .182 and has struck out 25 times in only 66 at-bats. It has looked worse than the numbers suggest.

His production to this point was epitomized on Wednesday night when he grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning.

The White Sox only scored one run as a result. With an offense that struggles to score, it could have proved disastrous.

To be fair, Flowers did have a single and scored ahead of Alejandro De Aza’s two-run homer, but went hitless in his other three at-bats.

While Flowers hit some very big home runs during the opening week of the season, his ability to contribute offensively is just too inconsistent. And far too often, he fails to deliver when the White Sox need him most.

Phegley, meanwhile, is hitting .294 and has four home runs, 11 RBI and an OPS of .922. He is playing some incredible baseball for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights.

What he is doing in the minor leagues this season is a continuation of a very strong spring. In Glendale, he hit .360 and had an OBP of .400 prior to being reassigned.

Phegley is also an exceptional defensive backstop. Last season, he won the Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove Award, in large part because he nailed 46 percent of all would-be base stealers.

To the converse, Flowers has struggled in that category this year. He has only thrown out four runners in 19 stolen-base attempts. It is not all on him, but he has been off on throws often and his release seems to have slowed.

The circumstance I mentioned earlier regards salary.

Unlike Adam Dunn and Jeff Keppinger—who are just as unproductive at the plate—Flowers only earns $510,000. The other two have salaries of $15 million and $3.5 million, respectively.

In essence, Flowers is cheap enough for the White Sox to demote to backup catcher.

It is a full month into a very disappointing 2013 season, and Flowers has been given ample opportunity. The road to redemption is a long one for the former member of the Atlanta Braves.

He would need to hit .275 over the course of his next 300 at-bats, for example, just to get his average up .228. The way he has been swinging the bat, .275 seems highly unrealistic.

Phegley, a 2009 first-round draft pick for the White Sox, has earned a right to get a shot.

Give it to him.


*Statistics courtesy of provided the salary information.


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