Exit Interview 2017: Jack Flaherty

For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.  Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong.  The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year.  Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.  As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.

Player: Jack Flaherty

Season stats: 0-2, 6.33 ERA, 6 games, 21.1 IP, 23 H, 10 BB, 20 K, 1.547 WHIP, 5.27 FIP, -0.3 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Goat 2

Overall grade: C

Positives: Made his major league debut in September….allowed just one run on three hits in his second start….righties were limited to a .588 OPS….batters hit just .243 at Busch against him….had a .495 OPS against in low leverage situations….actually got better as the game went on, as batters had a .190 average in the 51-75 pitch range….pitched at three levels in 2017….started at Springfield and put up a 1.42 ERA over 10 starts….had a 2.74 ERA in Memphis in 15 outings….averaged right at a strikeout an inning in the minor leagues as well as in the majors.

Negatives: Never went longer than five outings in a start in the big leagues….allowed four or more runs in two of his five starts….walked ten in the big leagues after walking only 11 (in 63.1 innings) and 24 (in 85.1) at his two minor league starts….allowed a home run in four of his five starts….lefties got to him for a 1.096 OPS….walked ten of the 18 batters that got to a three ball count….inning leadoff batters had a 1.014 OPS….allowed a 1.038 OPS when there were no outs in the inning.

Overview: Flaherty quickly became the hot name among prospect watchers and for good reason, given how he tore through Springfield and more than held his own in AAA.  When the Cardinals were able to move Mike Leake‘s contract, Flaherty was the obvious choice to make his major league debut, coming up at the same time as Sandy Alcantara.  However, it feels that Flaherty needs a little more time to cook.  Big league batters didn’t chase as much as the minor league versions did and were able to sit on his pitches.  There’s plenty of talent there but most prospects do have to make adjustments to the majors and Flaherty appears to be no exception.

Outlook: You can read more about why it’s too early to judge him in Rusty Groppel’s piece at The Redbird Daily (or just follow Kyle Reis anywhere) but it doesn’t feel prudent to expect him to start the season in St. Louis next year.  Even with a strong spring, more time in Memphis is important.  He could be a fallback option in midseason next year if injuries or Adam Wainwright‘s ineffectiveness rear their ugly head, but there’s no shame in him starting in a Redbirds uniform next season.

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