HomeSportsLaw: Orioles boost rotation...

Law: Orioles boost rotation with Jack Flaherty without surrendering any top prospects

The Orioles are in outstanding shape for the rest of this season, but their rotation is clearly the team’s weak spot, so using some of their prospect depth to acquire a starter – just as they did in the winter, trading Darell Hernaiz to Oakland for Cole Irvin – was the obvious move at the deadline. They dealt two prospects from their second or third tier to St. Louis on Tuesday to land right-hander Jack Flaherty, who, even in a down year, is an upgrade for the Orioles’ staff.

Flaherty was an ace back in 2019, but since the injuries started to pile up, he’s lost some stuff and a lot of command while making just 23 starts over the last two years. He’s been mostly healthy this year, taking 20 turns in the rotation for the Cardinals, with mixed results, from his career-worst 11 percent walk rate (outside of 36 innings in 2022) to his surrender of more hard contact than ever. He’s down about 1.5 mph from that 2019 season on the fastball, comparably down on the curveball and his pitches must be getting old because they sure don’t move like they used to. He has deprecated the four-seamer this year, throwing more sliders and a lot more cutters, although the cutter isn’t more than an average pitch either – it’s just more effective than the fastball.

Flaherty’s a solid athlete who had an outstanding delivery as a high schooler, which is how he got to that 2019 peak even without huge pure stuff – he repeated his delivery for plus command, and he got great extension out front for added deception. The extension’s there, but the command isn’t, and the stuff is down as well. That could be an opportunity for the Orioles, who’ve had success with helping pitchers get more out of their arms in the last two years, but adds some risk. Even as is, he’s probably the Orioles’ second-best starter right now, though, and definitely sets them up better for a playoff series.

Cesar Prieto (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

The Cardinals didn’t land any of the Orioles’ top prospects in the deal, even though Baltimore has a hilarious surplus of position players at multiple positions. Baltimore signed Cuban infielder Cesar Prieto before the 2022 season, and he spent the bulk of that year in Double-A Bowie, hitting .255/.296/.348 as a 23-year-old. He’s been much better this year, returning to Bowie and hitting .364/.406/.476 there and then .317/.365/.471 in 27 games for Triple-A Norfolk. He can put the bat on the ball, with just 27 strikeouts in 85 games this entire year, but does so at the expense of power, with below-average exit velocities and an ISO of just .100 in his 148 games in Double A. He can’t play short on more than an emergency basis but he’s fine at second or third. Most likely he’s a utility infielder who’s a very useful bench bat due to his contact skills, but I could see him becoming a regular at second as well just because he’ll have some years where he hits close to .300 with all that contact.

Lefty Drew Rom has close to a year in Triple A now with a 5.09 ERA. He works with an arsenal of fringy stuff, sitting 90-92 mph this year without great spin or movement on either of his breaking balls, so he has to try to induce chases and work outside of the strike zone. That approach has particularly hurt him this year with the automated system in Triple A, as he’s walked 11.5 percent of batters, the worst rate of his career to date. I just don’t see how he can be a starter with the current quality of his pitches, but he could be a solid reliever whose slider makes him particularly effective against left-handed batters.

Right-hander Zach Showalter has a funky, hard-to-repeat arm action with a low slot that helps his low-90s fastball play up. He’s got a fringy changeup and below-average slider, working primarily with the fastball so far. He’s a ways off but this is a very relieverish look.

The surprising part to me is that the O’s didn’t part with any of their top 10 or so prospects. Joey Ortiz is blocked eight ways to Sunday, but the shortstop is still in Baltimore’s system. Connor Norby isn’t in much better shape. They can’t play all of Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle and Colton Cowser and soon Heston Kjerstad and at some point Coby Mayo, but they’re all still there. I’m not saying they should give those guys away for fifty cents on the dollar, but this is their window, where they’re going to the playoffs this year and these guys are all in the majors or ready to make the leap. I suppose the silver lining is that the O’s added a starter who’ll help their rotation and still have all of those players to make a big trade in the winter.

(Top photo of Jack Flaherty: Joe Nicholson / USA Today)

Source link

Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Fever select Caitlin Clark with No. 1 pick in WNBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Eight days after completing one of the greatest collegiate basketball careers ever recorded, Caitlin Clark was selected with the No. 1 pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever.Clark is poised to not only help the Fever return to the postseason for...

In 1998, Bollywood star killed two blackbucks. A gang still seeks revenge.

Khan has been in the crosshairs of an armed gang since 1998 for shooting two blackbucks on a recreational hunting trip.Two members of a notorious criminal gang have been arrested for firing at the home of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in apparent retaliation for the superstar’s...

14 More Games Land on PS Plus Extra, Premium Today

As always, we ran a Poll over the weekend to gather your thoughts on the line-up, and (almost) as always, one-third of you responded by saying "it's a crap selection". 26 per cent of voters were at least somewhat happy with the selection, with Dave the...

Where Biden’s billions in chipmaking money have gone — and what could be next

The White House announcement this week of up to $6.4 billion in chipmaking cash for Samsung (005930.KS) marks a move to the next phase of the Biden administration's effort to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the US.The focus so far has largely been on leading-edge logic...

WNBA expansion headed for 16 teams. Portland, Toronto and Philly are options

NEW YORK — The WNBA is looking to continue growing in the next few years. The league intends to reach 16 teams by 2028, commissioner Cathy Engelbert said before the draft, confirming The Athletic report from earlier Monday.The league announced earlier this year that the Bay...

Microsoft Makes High-Stakes Play in Tech Cold War With Emirati A.I. Deal

Microsoft on Tuesday said it would make a $1.5 billion investment in G42, an artificial intelligence giant in the United Arab Emirates, in a deal largely orchestrated by the Biden administration to box out China as Washington and Beijing battle over who will exercise technological influence...

A hockey puck hurtled toward her son’s head. A fan jumped to block it.

Just over a minute was left on the clock during a hockey game in Cleveland Thursday when a player struck the puck, sending it barreling into the stands and toward Asia Davis’s 4-year-old son. That’s when another fan jumped and extended his right arm to block...

Thailand’s Finance Ministry to lead 17 agencies in considering House report on legalizing casinos

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance has been appointed lead agency to consider a House committee study recommending the legalization of casino gaming but will work with 16 other agencies in doing so, local media reports. According to English-language outlet The Nation, the appointment was ordered by way of...

WWE RAW Results Coverage, Reactions and Highlights for April 15, 2024

It’s Monday night, and you know what that means! WWE RAW will go down tonight, and Ringside News has got you covered with live play-by-play results coverage for the April 15, 2024 episode. The start time for WWE RAW is 8:00 PM EST. Match-by-match highlights...

Coachella Weekend 1 Recap, J Balvin’s Out Of This World Coachella Set, Metro Boomin & Future Top Hot 100 | Billboard News

It’s Monday April 15th, Billboard counts down the top 10 on the Hot 100, we’re running down all the headliners and special guest performers and some notable audience members that went down at the first weekend of Coachella, J Balvin gives us a behind the scene...