If Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers wasn’t already feeling the pressure to produce in his first year as the team’s everyday catcher, he certainly is now.
According to two team sources, the White Sox have designated catcher Hector Gimenez for assignment following their 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles Thursday afternoon. The Sox will replace Gimenez with their 2009 first-round draft pick Josh Phegley, who some believe has the ability to become the face of the franchise.
With a .316 AVG, 14 HR and 40 RBI in 60 games played at Triple-A Charlotte, it’s easy to see why so many believe Phegley has the talent to become a special player for the Pale Hose. His outstanding season has one member of Chicago’s front office calling him the best player in the International League this season.
Phegley’s year hasn’t just been recognized by the White Sox. The 25-year-old catcher was selected to play in both the International League All-Star game and the Futures Game.
Although Phegley’s promotion brings hope of a future star on the South Side, it also brings some unusual catcher controversy. With Flowers struggling from the plate —.208 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 70 K— manager Robin Ventura will have to decide what’s best for the team. Should he let Flowers continue to start on a regular basis and see if he can finally begin to put up respectable numbers, or should he give Phegley equal playing time and find out if he can transfer his stellar numbers from Triple-A to the Major League level?
My guess is Ventura will still use Flowers as his everyday backstop, but Phegley will get plenty of opportunities as a backup to compete for the starting role. However, if Phegley can make an impact when given the chance, I don’t believe Ventura will have another other option but to bench the once highly touted Flowers and hand the job over to Phegley.
The White Sox will wait till Friday to officially announce Phegley’s promotion, and he should make his much-anticipated Major League debut sometime this weekend.