I was disappointed with the Cardinals' first pick this year. I am less disappointed with their second selection, though there were still players on the board I would have preferred to hear the Redbirds call.
Jack Flaherty, out of Harvard-Westlake High School (alma mater of Austin Wilson, whom the Cards took in the 13th round back in 2010), is young and has tremendous upside. That upside thing makes me happy.
A former position player (third base), Flaherty is a plus athlete, and I've said many, many times I love an athlete who pitches, and this guy is no exception. He has only recently jumped onto the draft scene as a pitching prospect, which certainly puts him in the sweet spot for the Cards, with guys like Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Sam Tuivailala recent examples of the club valuing position player- pitcher conversions.
As for the repertoire, Flaherty's fastball works in the 88-92 range, and the belief of many is that the velocity will increase markedly once he focuses on pitching exclusively. He throws a bunch of offspeed pitches: curve, slider, and a change, but all of them are, at this point, very much nascent offerings. The slider is the best at present, but with Flaherty you're talking almost a pure project.
The downside, of course, to a player like this is it's going to be a while before you really know what you have. The upside, though, is, well, the upside. Flaherty has unbelievable talent, and so I can't complain too much about a guy like this.
Mechanically, I'm actually quite a fan of what Flaherty does. The arm is right on time, the leg drive is very good, and he shows his numbers to the hitter a bit, which I usually like. It all combines to form a very powerful, but efficient, delivery I think should serve Flaherty very well down the road. Now, let's just hope no one tries to change it too very much....
I would rather have had Mike Papi here, but I have to say, if the Cardinals are sure they can get Flaherty signed, this could be a big-time win of a pick.