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Tyler Flowers is deserving of an All-Star selection

The Braves catcher has been one of the best in the National League at his position offensively, and has improved his defense from last season. Get this man to Miami.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

When the Braves signed Tyler Flowers to a two-year, $5 million deal in December 2015, the baseball world reacted about as indifferently as is humanly possible in this industry. Flowers had been a passable player in Chicago as a member of the White Sox, but he had never shown much feel for hitting aside from occasional power. Fast-forward to the middle of the 2017 season, and not only will you find a Tyler Flowers who has a feel for hitting, you will find a Tyler Flowers who should be representing the National League in the All-Star Game.

This season has been one of constant sorrow turmoil for the Atlanta Braves, with the injury to Freddie Freeman, the struggles of Dansby Swanson, the total collapse of Bartolo Colon, and the list goes on. The team has been up-and-down with hot and cold streaks that have been both encouraging and infuriating, but in the midst of all the inconsistency, there have been a select few Braves who have been reliable contributors throughout. Tyler Flowers has been one of those few, and without his considerable improvement at the plate this season, the Braves could be in a very different situation as the month of June comes to a close.

It has been well-documented that Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has spent countless hours working with Flowers on his swing, and if the results to this point are any indication, those hours of work are paying huge dividends. Flowers currently owns a batting line of .331/.426/.473 with six homers, 25 RBI, and 27 runs scored. In a lineup that has been without its best player for over a month, Flowers has helped to stabilize the Atlanta offense and keep them producing at a high level in the absence of Freeman. While having a breakout season at the plate Flowers has also found a way to improve his performance behind it, throwing out 19% of attempted base stealers, which is a marked improvement over his dismal 5% caught stealing percentage last season. He certainly has room to continue improving, but the uptick this season indicates that he has made strides in the right direction already.

Aiding Flowers in his pursuit of an All-Star nod is the relative lack of competition among National League catchers. Aside from Buster Posey of the Giants, who is clearly the best catcher in the NL, Flowers has a legitimate case against every other challenger. JT Realmuto of the Marlins has put together a very good season, currently hitting .285/.345/.452 with seven homers and 30 RBI, but his statistics have been compiled in 70 more at-bats than Flowers. Another challenger, Yasmani Grandal of the Dodgers, has nine homers and 29 RBI, but he is hitting .263/.315/.448. The rate statistics favor Flowers in both of these cases, and despite having considerably less at-bats, Flowers has put up similar counting statistics.

He may not be the sexy choice like some of the larger market names or a recent top prospect like Realmuto, but Tyler Flowers has had an excellent season to this point. His improvements at the plate should give the Braves real hope that they have their catching situation resolved at least through the 2018 season, as the team has a $4 million club option that will almost certainly be exercised. But regardless of his contract situation or his relative obscurity around the game, Flowers belongs in Miami for the All-Star Game. The Braves have their catcher, and now he just needs to be recognized for the player he has become.

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