2. Jack Flaherty, 2019 – 196.1 IP, 2.75 ERA, 155 ERA+, 0.968 WHIP, 6.2 H/9, 2.5 BB/9, 10.6 K/9, 6.0 bWAR
If you weren’t worried about Jack after watching him post a 4.90 ERA in his first 17 starts, then you were much more optimistic than most. Following a stellar rookie season, Flaherty couldn’t keep the ball in the yard. He was allowing home runs left and right and didn’t look like the same guy we saw the last year.
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Then, the magic happened. Over his next 16 starts, from July 7th to the end of the year, he posted a monstrous 0.93 ERA in 106.1 IP. Every single time he took the mound, fans just had to pray the offense had enough juice to score just a couple runs because you knew the pitching was going to be lockdown. He ended up leading the NL in WHIP and H/9.
As a younger fan myself, watching Jack work every fifth game was the best display of pitching I’ve seen in my (relatively) short time watching the game. He was masterful day in and day out. It was almost surprising when he actually did give up a run on the mound. He’ll be a Cy Young contender for many years to come.