Fourteen K’s, 10, 9, 9, 7, whew. Those are some of Tigers flamethrower Jack ‘Black Flaherty’s strikeout totals this season. 


Last season, the melanated mound marauder saw himself at the head of trade talks, after avoiding arbitration and winning seven games with the Cardinals. 



After posting a 4.20 ERA in 109.2 innings, Flaherty was traded to the Orioles on Aug. 1 for three prospects. Despite seeing his numbers take a dive — pitching a 6.75 ERA in Baltimore — he hit free agency in the offseason and signed with the Tigers for one year, $14 million. 

He’s been very effective for a team that is middle-of-the-pack and bouncing around the .500 mark.

 In Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers, there were concerns as starting pitcher Jack Flaherty had to leave the game early with an injury scare.

However, the right-hander gave an encouraging update after the game, per Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press.

“I’m sure I’ll be good for the next one. It weirdly works out, but I got two extra days. I’m not going for another week with the two off days. We’ll see how I wake up tomorrow, but I feel pretty good about it.”

Flaherty was once again dealing, throwing five scoreless innings on just 60 pitches. He gave up a pair of hits and no walks but was removed from the game early due to back tightness.

“It locked up as the game went along,” Flaherty said. “It’s nothing that I’m too worried about. When it gets to locking up like that, and you can’t quite finish as much, or you start questioning, should I keep going? It creeps in the back of your mind. I went as long as I could.”

Through 12 games, Flaherty has brought his ERA down to a recent-best of 3.22 and is second in the MLB with 94 strikeouts.

Flaherty is now 3-4 on the season with a 3.22 ERA, 0.963 WHIP, 1.6 WAR and an American League-leading 94 strikeouts. His 9.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio is far and away the best of his eight-year MLB career, up from 2.24 in 2023.

As noted by Underdog Fantasy’s Justin Havens, Flaherty is now one of four pitchers in MLB history to post at least 94 strikeouts and no more than 10 walks through his first 12 starts of a season. Curt Schilling was the first to achieve the feat back in 2002, and it has since been done by Clayton Kershaw in 2016 and Jacob deGrom in 2021 as well.

Flaherty says he should be good for his next start, and the extra rest should give him enough time to get the kinks out. If he can remain healthy, he’s likely to eventually be traded from the struggling Detroit squad to a contending team and will have a few suitors.


Here’s three likely companions for Detroit’s bump boss. 


1. Minnesota Twins 


The Twins sit right above the Tigers in the AL Central at 33-27 but are in need of a quality starter to fill out their rotation. 


If Minnesota buys prior to the deadline, Flaherty easily slots in as their No. 2 or 3 pitchers at a decent price, considering he comes off of the books after the season. 


With a couple of mid-level prospects, manager Rocco Baldelli can solidify his bunch’s AL Wild Card spot and even look to extend Flaherty if he continues to impress in Minnesota. 


2. Milwaukee Brewers


The Brewers lead the NL Central with a 36-23 record, but depth in the rotation as well as bullpen are certainly needed. 


Currently, the Brewers are 11th in the league in ERA at 3.77 but are near the bottom of the MLB in strikeouts, with just 495. The addition of a punch-out artist like Flaherty would be huge. 


With the emergence of rookie pitcher Robert Gasser and flaming Freddy Peralta, Flaherty likely isn’t in Milwaukee’s future plans, but could help out in its playoff push.


3. Cleveland Guardians 


When two-time All-Star Stephen Vogt took the Guardians’ head coaching opening, expectations weren’t hefty. Still, Vogt has Cleveland at an astonishing 40-20 record, and the fifth-lowest payroll in the MLB — giving it a way to make a deadline move.


Cleveland’s pitching staff is deep, but 32-year-old pitcher Ben Lively’s contract is expiring, as he joined the squad on a minimum deal in the offseason. Lively leads the rotation with a 2.84 ERA. 


Flaherty, 28, would be the younger option, and Flaherty still has tons of experience, making it an easy move for Vogt and company. Come playoff time, Flaherty could enter the 3-man rotation, or be a key reliever until taking over full-time duties in 2025 if the squad can notch an extension. 


Regardless, ‘Jack Black’ could find himself solidifying a big paycheck with a trade to a playoff team like the Guardians. 


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