Made the team by pitching phenomenally in spring training. Now, nine times out of ten (at least) when a guy who’s never done anything before plays his way onto the roster in spring, he plays his way off it before summer. Flande is a guy with some ability who is working in a new role (lefthanded relief, after mostly being a starter in the minors) and it’s possible this represents a real change in his effectiveness. Heck, Jonny Venters was a minor league starter who’d never done anything until spring two years ago.
Signed out of the Dominican by the Phillies, Flande had some strong seasons early in his career, but all at a very low level that he was really too old for. He pitched well in High-A in 2009, but was treated rudely by AA later that year and in 2010, and was allowed to leave as a free agent. The Braves signed him and sent him to Gwinnett, where he was mediocre — 8-8 with a 4.01 ERA, and 6.8 strikeouts per nine.
It is difficult for me to see anyone with a strikeout rate that low — and it is typical of Flande’s performance in the American minors — as a real prospect. Then again, we come back to the change of role. (Venters’ strikeout rates in the minors were similar.) If Flande gets added velocity from pitching in short outings, perhaps he can up the strikeouts and be a contributor.