St. Louis Cardinals: The rise of Cardinals prospect Jack Flaherty
St. Louis Cardinals fans are pleased to see player after player rise through the farm system and make their way to the Major Leagues. This season is no different and Cardinal fans have another name to watch in 2017.
Coming into his start yesterday against Colorado Springs, St. Louis Cardinals prospect, 21-year-old Jack Flaherty has been about as impressive as a pitcher can. Through thirteen starts, Flaherty posted a 1.66 ERA, while striking out eighty-five batters in 81.1 innings.
In yesterday’s start he continued his dominant ways by tossing six scoreless innings and punching out ten batters in a dominant win by the Memphis Redbirds.
Since his promotion to AAA, Flaherty has not shown any signs of struggle. For most pitchers growing pains would be expected. An increased talent level and the stress to perform may cause growing pains. This has not been the case for Flaherty who has continued his breakout 2017 with continued success.
After being drafted 34th overall by the Cardinals in 2014, Flaherty has been extremely effective. There were bumps in the road, but Flaherty has responded well to each piece of adversity thrown his way. In a shortened first season with rookie ball GCL Cardinals, Flaherty fired a 1.59 ERA in eight appearances.
He followed that up with an impressive stint in low-A with the Peoria Chiefs, posting a 2.84 ERA in 18 starts.
After spending 2016 at high-A Palm Beach, it would have asked a lot for fans to expect Flaherty to already be in AAA. His 3.56 ERA while playing for Palm Beach was the highest in his minor league career. There was always hope for a future for Flaherty, but now the future has never been brighter.
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Prior to the start of the 2017 season both MLB.com and Baseball America left Flaherty off their top-100 prospect rankings. Keith Law was the only one to have Flaherty in his top-100, placing him at 89th.
This is obviously something Cardinal fans can expect to change. Flaherty should shoot up prospect rankings when they are next released.
The question for Flaherty is, where does he fit in? The Cardinals rotation is not an easy one to crack. If the Cardinals choose to not resign Lance Lynn in the off-season there will be a spot open.
Unfortunately for Flaherty, that spot is more than likely already penciled in for Alex Reyes when he returns. The next questions are: How much longer will Adam Wainwright choose to pitch, and are the Cardinals willing to leave Michael Wacha in the rotation?
The only obvious thing for Flaherty to work on is his pitch count, which goes directly with allowing walks. In his start yesterday, Flaherty allowed four walks. For a young pitcher, this isn’t too terribly concerning. Pitchers, especially young ones, may struggle with command at times.
Next: Wong to the DL; DeJong recalled
Regardless of what happens going forward, Flaherty has a very bright future ahead of him. Cardinal fans, if you didn’t know the name before today, remember it. This kid will be a star, and he is only getting started.