Jack Flaherty

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Jack Rafe Flaherty

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jack Flaherty was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals and scout Mike Dibiase as the 34th overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. He had gone 23-0 with a 0.63 ERA his last two years in high school and won Gatorade Player of the Year for California as a senior. He was 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA for Team USA when they won the 2013 World Junior Championship, beating Italy but struggling against Venezuela. He was 2 for 11 with a walk and a run, playing the corner infield as well.

He was a compensation pick for the New York Yankees signing outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Flaherty was 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 22 2/3 innings for the GCL Cardinals his first year, posting a 0.971 WHIP while striking out 28 batters. In 2015, he was 9-3 with a 2.94 mark for the Peoria Chiefs, again averaging more than a strikeout per inning. He began 2016 with the High A Palm Beach Cardinals. He was a member of the United States team in the 2017 Futures Game.

Agfter making his debut with the Cardinals when rosters expanded in September of 2017, he recorded his first career win on May 20, 2018, 5-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies. He struck out 13 batters in that game. He went 8-9 with a solid 3.34 ERA in 28 starts for the Cardinals, giving him a solid rookie season to build upon. He started slowly in 2019 as he was just 4-6, 4.64 in 18 first-half starts, but he was outstanding in the second half. In August, he went 4-1 with an 0.71 ERA in 6 starts while striking out 47 batters in 38 innings to be named the National League Pitcher of the Month. He won the award for a second time in September, when he was 3-1, 0.82 in 6 starts. His outstanding pitching down the stretch was one of the main reasons the Cards were able to pull off a division title. He finished the season at 11-8, 2.75 in 33 starts, with 231 strikeouts in 196 1/3 innings. He led the league in both WHIP (0.968) and fewest hits per 9 innings (6.2). He got his first taste of the postseason that year, winning a game against the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series, although he was charged with a loss in his two other starts.

In 2020, he was limited to 9 starts in the Coronavirus-shortened season, going 4-3, 4.91. His peripheral numbers were much better than that, however, as he gave up just 33 hits in 40 1/3 innings, while striking out 49 batters. He returned to the postseason and pitched well in his only start, which came against the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the Wild Card Series on October 2nd. He gave up just 1 run in 6 innings, while striking out 8 batters, but his teammates were unable to generate any offense against a parade of 9 Padres pitchers and he was charged with a 4-0 loss. He then started the 2021 season red hot. On May 7th, he pitched 7 scoreless innings and hit his first career homer in a 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. That improved his record on the year to 6-0 after 7 starts, with an ERA of 2.83. On May 19th, he improved to 8-0 with an 8-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He joined Bob Gibson in 1965 as the only two pitchers in Cardinals history to win 8 times in their first 9 starts of a season. However, he was soon beset by health issues, missing all of June and July after losing his last two starts in May. While he notched his 9th win on August 13th with six shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals, he made just two more starts before missing another month of action and only pitched 2 1/3 innings in September. He did not appear in the postseason as the Cards lost the Wild Card Game to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His final record was 9-2, 3.22 in 17 games. He again struggled with his health in 2022, making just 9 appearances and finishing at 2-1, 4.25, with 22 walks in 36 innings. His problems during these two frustrating seasons stemmed from oblique and right shoulder injuries - nothing overly serious, but enough to send him repeatedly back for stints on the injured list.

Injuries got the best of him again in 2022 as he pitched only 9 times, going 2-1, 4.25 in 36 innings. He was not available for the postseason. He had an unusual pitching line on his first start of the 2023 season against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1st. In five innings, he did not allow any hits or runs - but walked seven batters and also hit another with a pitch. He was credited with his team's 4-1 win. The Cardinals had a very disappointing first half, falling out of contention early even while playing in one of the weakest divisions in the majors, and as a result were sellers at the trading deadline. Flaherty was 7-6, 4.43 in 20 starts on August 1st when he was sent to a contender, the Baltimore Orioles, in return for three players: IF Cesar Prieto and Ps Drew Rom and Zack Showalter. He made his first start for his new team on August 3rd, holding the Blue Jays to one run over six innings in a 6-1 win. However, he was inconsistent in his 9 games with the Orioles, going 1-3, 6.75, for an overall record of 8-9, 4.99 in 29 games (27 starts) and 144 1/3 innings. In the postseason, he was used only in relief giving up 1 run in 2 innings in an 11-8 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 2 of the Division Series. His acquisition by the Orioles was only a rental as he became a free agent after the season, and on December 14th it was reported that he had come to an agreement with the Detroit Tigers on a one-year contract for 2024.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2019)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jason Beck: "Tigers add Flaherty to rotation on 1-year deal", mlb.com, December 14, 2023. [1]
  • John Denton: "Flaherty eyes bounceback with offseason work: Cards' 27-year-old star aiming for standout 2023 and to win big for Wainwright", mlb.com, January 16, 2023. [2]
  • John Denton: "Flaherty is Cardinals' biggest X-factor in '23", mlb.com, February 18, 2023. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Jack Flaherty, baseball's hottest pitcher, leads Cardinals into NLDS against Braves", USA Today, October 2, 2019. [4]
  • Jake Rill: "O's bolster rotation by acquiring Flaherty from Cardinals", mlb.com, August 1, 2023. [5]
  • Jake Rill: "Flaherty's historic O's debut secures series win over Blue Jays", mlb.com, August 3, 2023. [6]
  • Andrew Simon: "Where does Flaherty's insane 2nd half rank? Cardinals righty has 0.76 ERA since break", mlb.com, September 12, 2019. [7]

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