Flaherty hardly threw his changeup, as it came in at just 2% usage this year (3% in 2018). His changeup showed fairly average movement and returned a pretty modest 29.1% zone rate, 8.1% swinging-strike rate, and just a 21.3% chase rate. In short, its just not much of a weapon for him.
A useful weapon to add to Flaherty’s already viscious repertoire is a solid curveball that limited hitters to a 6.9 FB%. Batters hit .192 against Flaherty for the season. Very impressive.
Flaherty has a 93 mph heater that produced a 9.8% SwStr, so nothing to write home about. However, it does induce a 31.1% infield flyball rate. Flaherty’s excellent command and 83.3 LOB%, which ranked 4th in MLB, means the Cardinals ace is a bona fide elite SP1.
Jack’s slider qualifies as one of the best pitches in baseball with a 16.9 pVal. Improvements in O-Swing% (43.9) and SwStr% (23.5) led the ace to record a 0.91 ERA in the second half of the season along with a 2.22 FIP. Money pitch!
Flaherty has a pretty straightforward heater that sits around 93 mph with just less than 8 inches of movement. He generated a 35.0% infield-fly rate, which helped hold opponents to a .650 OPS and earned him an 11.1 pVal despite only an 8.1% swinging-strike rate.
Flaherty’s fastballs may not be anything to write home about, but his slider sure is. It just missed qualifying as a Money Pitch, with a 42.1% O-swing rate and a 22.9% swinging-strike rate but just a 38.5% zone rate. Hitters weren’t able to make meaningful contact even when they did actually hit it, and it led to a nice .637 OPS against and an 8.7 pVal.
Compared with most two-seamers, Flaherty’s is pretty straight, with just less than 4 inches of horizontal movement. It has enough drop to post a tidy 63.1% ground-ball rate, however, which helped him post a 1.4 pVal despite opponents hitting .260 off it.
It’s not quite the elite secondary offering that his slider is, but Flaherty’s knuckle-curve has plenty of appeal on its own. Opponents only mustered a meager .156/.208/.156 slash last season, and he generated a 15.6% swinging-strike rate and a 47.1% ground-ball rate. This pitch probably won’t ever reach the level of his slider, but as a change-of-pace secondary, it’s very good.
Flaherty flashed a changeup about 2.5% of the time last year. It generated a nice 62.5% ground-ball rate and a 12.5% swinging-strike rate, making it a semi-useful weapon — particularly against left-handers. It won’t surpass his two breaking balls on the totem pole anytime soon, however.