7. Jack Flaherty, 19
Flaherty was the Cardinals’ second pick in the 2014 draft, 34th overall and follows a line of recently drafted prep pitchers who could move quickly through the system behind Rob Kaminsky and Ian McKinney. Flaherty pitched in 22 innings for the Gulf Coast Cards in 2014 and had a 1.59 ERA while striking out 28 and walking just 4. Baseball America recently ranked Flaherty the GCL’s 5th best prospect in 2014 and had this to say about him:
Flaherty’s changeup is advanced for a teenager, already flashing plus with a chance to be a future 70 offering on the 20-80 scale. He throws two breaking balls, showing swing-and-miss ability with a slider some project to above-average, along with a curveball he uses early in counts.
Flaherty’s strength is his plus change-up and appears to be a right-handed version of Rob Kaminsky. Flaherty’s athleticism and pitchaibility show that he is ready for a full season spot in 2015, but I would be surprised if he got one. I would expect the same treatment that Kaminsky got, meaning a start at the Cards extended spring camp and then a promotion to Palm Beach in May or June. I believe Flaherty’s upside is a #2 or #3 starter.