St. Louis Cardinals: Taking a look at Jack Flaherty’s Cy Young chances

Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals - (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals - (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the 2021 season now well underway, it’s time for an early look at some end-of-season award contenders. Where does St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty stand in the Cy Young race?

Yes, it’s May. Early May to be more exact. It is still too early to get a good sense of how the playoff races will shake out or which players will stake the best claims for the season awards. That said, it is easy to see the players who are standing out. One such player is St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty. The Cy Young race in the National League should be interesting.

Before I start to talk about Jack Flaherty and his chances in the Cy Young hunt, let me say that at this time he is not the favorite. That would be none other than Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets ace. deGrom currently leads in ERA and WHIP, but he was scratched from a start this week against the St. Louis Cardinals. If deGrom misses time or goes through a rough patch this season, Flaherty could squeeze his way into the picture.

Jack Flaherty currently leads the major leagues with five wins. His spotless 5-0 record through six starts thus far into the 2021 season has solidified his already strong grip as the ace of the Cardinals starting rotation.

For people who don’t like to use wins as a good metric, let’s look at how Flaherty stacks up in the other areas. His WHIP is just over one, at 1.02. Opponents are hitting a weak .203 against him.

There are some other great pitchers in the National League, with examples like Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish enjoying strong starts to their season as well. Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler have been pitching well for the surprising Philadephia Phillies. The Milwaukee Brewers have a two-headed attack at the top of their rotation with Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. The bottom line, there are a lot of great pitchers in the league.

The St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation is not as strong as some other teams, but Jack Flaherty is just about as good of a number one starter as most others. The Cardinals seem positioned to be in the playoff hunt all season, so Flaherty will have the benefit of being in the spotlight for a playoff push.

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Overall, Flaherty’s numbers are right on par with the others. Like I said earlier, it’s really deGrom’s to lose. But Jack Flaherty has done what many expected him to do and that is shoulder his way next to the best pitchers in baseball.

So, where does Flaherty stand right now early in the Cy Young race? After Jacob deGrom I would be inclined to say he has as good a claim to the Cy Young as the others. Even if you were to set aside the league-leading win total (which I certainly wouldn’t), his other stats are comparable with any other potential Cy Young contenders. Taking into account that he is carrying much of the rotation on his back, especially with the rotation really sputtering earlier this season, his role to the St. Louis Cardinals is valuable.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have a legit top of the rotation starting pitcher in Jack Flaherty. As the season goes on I expect him to continue putting together a Cy Young caliber season, even if he needs to step his game up some. If the Cardinals want to make the playoffs, Flaherty will be a big reason why. Do I think he wins the Cy Young? Right now, I’d say no. But he’s going to be in consideration and makes a better claim to the award than some people might realize.