Tigers Prospect Profile: Brian Flynn

Yet another Wichita State product that the Tigers snagged, Brian Flynn stands as a big, opposing left-hander who excelled in his debut season with the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Brian Flynn
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-8
Weight: 240
Born: 4/19/1990
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Background
Flynn was a product of the vaunted Owasso (Okla.) High School baseball program that produced current Tigers prospect Matt Hoffman and former Tigers prospect Dallas Trahern, among a litany of other good prospects.

As a freshman at Wichita State – after turning down the Red Sox in the 18th round of the draft – Flynn posted a 4.98 ERA and 2-5 record working as the Shockers primary mid-week starter. He struck out 59 batters in 56 innings and big things were expected of him in 2010.

Unfortunately, Flynn became the first player under head coach Gene Stephenson's tenure to be declared academically ineligible for a season. He missed the entire 2010 campaign but righted himself and returned to the field for the 2011 season.

As a redshirt sophomore, Flynn appeared in 20 games (11 starts) and posted a 4.63 ERA and 6-4 record. He fanned 77 batters in 83 2/3 innings while allowing 79 hits and walking 39.

The Tigers sent Flynn to West Michigan after he signed for $125,000 in the 7th round of the 2011 draft. He went 7-2 down the stretch for the Whitecaps, helping the team come within just a game of the Midwest League playoffs. He finished his pro debut with a 3.46 ERA in 67 2/3 innings with 58 hits allowed, 23 walks and 57 strikeouts.

Scouting Report
Flynn has an extra large body that gives him an imposing presence when standing on the mound. He towers over opposing hitters and generates outstanding downward angle to the plate with his fastball.

There's a lot of variety in Flynn's fastball, and not necessarily in a good way. During the first and second inning of his starts, he can routinely get up to 91-92 mph out of the windup. From the stretch, his peak velocity dips to 88-89 mph, and he loses even more after the second inning. In the latter innings of many starts, scouts reported seeing him work in the 86-88 range.

Command of the fastball comes and goes for Flynn, but when he can locate down in the zone he can be extremely tough to elevate because of his outstanding angle to the plate.

Flynn will also throw a change-up and a slider during his starts, though neither shows much on a regular basis. His slider will flash as an average pitch occasionally with some solid downward action, while his change-up will show as average more frequently and it can be a weapon to help deter right-handed hitters.

The nuances of pitching are still a bit of a mystery to Flynn. He doesn't have a reliable pickoff move that can deceive runners and as a result, he struggles to help his catcher control the running game. He is awkward getting off the mound and will require significant work in fielding his position and knowing his responsibilities as a defender.

Because of his youth and inexperience as a pro, some scouts still dream on Flynn's huge frame and the flashes of quality stuff. There is a faint window where he could become a solid 4th or 5th starter. There exists another cadre of scouts that firmly believe Flynn is a reliever right now and in the future and he would be better served spending his developmental time focusing there.

In the end, Flynn is likely a situational reliever or possibly a 6th or 7th inning guy. His stuff may show better in shorter stints and he may have an opportunity to accentuate his best attributes.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

AVG

A

West Michigan

7-2

3.46

13

13

0

57

23

67.2

.235


Health Record
Flynn has not had significant injury throughout his college or pro career. As mentioned, he saw no game action in 2010 at Wichita State, and as a result, his arm may be fresher than your typical three-year college pitcher.

The Future
With almost 70 innings as a starter in A-ball this summer, Flynn is primed for a shot at the Lakeland rotation in 2012. Unlike many college pitchers, Flynn should not be expected to fly through the system from this point forward. There will likely be significant developmental time required for him to even approach his modest ceiling.

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