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The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away
I drafted two shares of Flaherty, and he’s been the subject of some ridicule from one of my managers, who had the prescience to sit him for his 2.1 IP, 10 ER start last week and even dropped him outright this week (something on which I signed off.)
My other manager, the one who had him active for the 10 ER outing, did not drop him, and in fact had him in the lineup Monday when he tossed seven shutout innings with 10 K and only five baserunners allowed.
Flaherty was a star in 2019, striking out 231 batters in 196.1 IP and finishing with 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. He was bad during the short Covid season, but looked like himself in 2021 with 85:26 K:BB and a 3.22 ERA before getting hurt and missing most of 2022 also.
This is the kind of pitcher I love to target — a player who displayed elite skills at one point, in a good park and environment, who’s cheap due to his injuries/recent ineffectiveness (he was also bad when he returned last year.)
But before the lights-out start, he had a 6.18 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and a whopping 27 walks in 39.1 IP. His command was terrible, and while his velocity was down only slightly, at 92.8 you’re probably not getting away with even half that number of walks. So what happened Monday night? Was this a one-start anomaly, or a sign that he’s finally found something now that he’s further removed from injury?
I don’t know. I only know that (a) my manager made it happen by dropping him; and (b) Pitching is sufficiently volatile and unpredictable that once a pitcher has displayed elite skills (so long as he’s not pitching at a vastly reduced velocity, e.g., Noah Syndergaard,) you take the chance when he’s cheap.
That’s because pitching (unless you’re throwing 99), in my opinion, is more of a cerebral skill, while hitting is more eye-hand/athleticism. So long as someone has sufficient physical tools to succeed, it’s mostly a matter of mind. And someone like Flaherty who has been great without overpowering stuff obviously had the mind, and that’s not usually something you lose, just because you got hurt or hit a slump (which is often injury-related anyway.)
. . .
Lance Lynn dealt last night too. I don’t want to jinx him, but I think he’ll be fine going forward, though probably not fine enough to make up for his disastrous first month.