#HIGHFIVE (Week 5) | Four MLBbro Pitchers Dominated This Week

#HIGHFIVE (Week 5) | Four MLBbro Pitchers Dominated This Week

Hunter Greene’s dominance in Arlington this past weekend earns him the top spot on Week 5 of our #HighFive List.  He registered his first win of the season with a one-hit, seven-inning shutout over the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers to headline a week that was filled with lights out pitching performances from four MLBbros.

 

1. Hunter Greene “Machine”

The Reds are a sleeper team I think can make a similar run to what the Diamondbacks did last year, the only difference being Cincinnati having more depth in their starting rotation.

 

A healthy and locked in Hunter Greene is what is going to get them on that level and I had a front row seat Saturday afternoon to what he can do when he is in his zone.

 

He threw seven shutout innings allowing just one hit and one walk with six strikeouts.

 

 

“Coming in I just wanted to attack,” Green told MLBbro.com

 

“That is a good lineup with guys who know how to play the game, but it was fun.  My teammates behind me made some really great plays and I felt good on the mound, so I am glad we got it done.

 

His next start will come Friday night against Cedric “The Entertainer” Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles.

 

2. “Black Jack” Flaherty

Jack Flaherty got revenge against his former team in the greatest way possible Tuesday afternoon with a career-high 14 strikeouts in 6.2 innings while only allowing two hits and surrendering one walk.

 

Flaherty began the game by striking out seven consecutive hitters which tied an American League record.

 

He is still looking for his first win of the season, but after bringing his strikeout total up to 50, he now leads the American League in that category and is just a few off of the Major League lead.

 

 

Flaherty’s next chance to add to his total will come next Monday night in Cleveland when the Tigers take on Josh Naylor and the Guardians.

 

3. Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts makes his fourth #HighFive appearance in five weeks and is the only position player to make the cut this time around.

 

 

He has been the undisputed best hitter on the planet; leading the Majors in nearly every offensive category and posting a slashing line of .377/.418/1.104 with 25 RBI, six home runs, 29 runs scored and eight steals.

 

 

Betts was given the honor of being named Rob Parker’s Homeboi Highlights for his eight-game hitting streak that came to an end on Monday.

 

4. Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks has been the best free agent pitching addition from this off-season after lowering his ERA to 1.59 thanks to start last Saturday against the Pirates.

 

San Francisco Saw Greatness In Jordan Hicks When Everyone Else Saw Risk

 

Hicks, who is in his first year as a full-time starter, struck out a season-high nine batters in six innings and only allowed one run on five hits with no walks.

 

His next start will come Friday night on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

5. Triston McKenzie “Dr. Stixx”

Triston McKenzie rounds out the #HighFive this week after a solid start in Houston against the Astros.

 

McKenzie threw a season-high seven innings and struck out six while giving up just two earned runs in a pitchers duel against future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander

 

 

“I was a lot more competitive,” McKenzie told reporters after the game.

“It was something I was trying to work through in my first four starts, but it was big for me to give the team a chance to win.”

 

McKenzie now has at least six strikeouts in his last three starts.  He will look to extend that streak to four when he takes the mound Monday in a divisional matchup against the Tigers.

What A Thrill On The Hill These Melanated Mound Marauders Have Been So Far

What A Thrill On The Hill These Melanated Mound Marauders Have Been So Far

When MLBbro.com started the vision of covering Black and brown players of Major League Baseball, it was to fill a gaping void left by mainstream media.

 

The lack of diversity of Black players in MLB has been covered by MLBbro.com and monitored every season including discussions with representatives of MLB.com.

 

An MLB.com Diversity Discussion At NABJ In Alabama, Conjured Memories of MLBbro, Multi-Sport Star Dave Winfield 

 

But if Black players overall are a cause for concern just think about the minute number of Black pitchers that are represented?

Back in 2016, USA Today shined a pertinent light on the lack of diversity of Black pitchers.

 

Look at the numbers at the time.

  • The percentage of Black players overall stood at eight percent. A number that in 2024 has shown only a slight improvement at 8.3 percent.
  • Out of the eight percent represented at the time, there were only 14 Black pitchers out of the 449 throughout MLB.
  • Of those 14 pitchers, there were seven starting pitchers and seven relievers.

Why is there a dearth of black pitchers in MLB?

 

It was brought up to three MLBbros from different levels of baseball. A front office executive, a manager and a player weighed in with different perspectives from financial to even family influence.

 


Dave Stewart
(Then Arizona Diamondbacks general manager):

 

“When you think about it, the black pitchers have almost become extinct,” then Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart told USA Today. “There are a lot of reasons, I don’t know if any of them are valid, but it seems like a lot of teams take Black pitchers and convert them into infielders or outfielders. I know it happened a lot in the past, so maybe it’s still happening.”


Dusty Baker
(Then Washington Nationals manager, now Special Adviser for the San Francisco Giants):

 

“The reason you don’t see a Black player converted into being a pitcher is because teams don’t have money invested in them,” Baker told USA Today. “Most of the white pitchers being converted, you have money invested in them.”

 

Chris Archer (Former ace pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays):

 

“People don’t really view athleticism transcending onto the pitchers’ mound, as you would an outfielder or shortstop,” he said. “You don’t think of it as an athletic thing to do. It’s really the last choice of the parents.”

 

That is why these pitchers are carrying a bigger responsibility than most realize. The pitching mound is one of the more glamorous positions in the sport, and these MLBbros are carrying the torch for the MLBbros of the future.

 

Black Pitchers On The Rise 

 

Jack Flaherty (Detroit Tigers):

 

It’s a coincidence that Flaherty, as of this writing, is pitching in Detroit against his old team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The game started out okay for him to say the least. He faced six batters, and he sat them all down with strikeout stories to tell.

 

 

Before joining the Tigers this season, Flaherty had an ERA of 3.58 with 706 strikeouts spread out over seven seasons in St. Louis. During that time, he kept his ears open for veteran leadership while practicing a strong work ethic. Now Black Jack is bringing that influence to Motown to influence the next generation of pitchers even though he’s still in his 20s.

 

“The adjustments that you have to make in the game,” Flaherty told MLBbro.com. “What you did to get here is great, and you hold onto those things, but you also got to be able to make adjustments. For pitchers, it’s start to start, really pitch to pitch, game to game, year to year.”

“It’s constantly understanding and evolving in that what you do is what you do, and that allowed you to get there, and then there are always a couple things you make adjustments to. And then just continue to put the work in.”

 

Right now, Flaherty sports a 4.91 ERA with 36 strikeouts in four starts. If things continue against the Cardinals, look for the K’s to increase and the ERA to decrease.

 

Hunter Greene (Cincinnati Reds):

 

This MLBbro pitcher is an acquired taste when it comes to baseball fans who are not paying attention. The third-year pitcher has the potential to be the undisputed ace in Cincinnati’s rotation. Something that was shown in real life over the weekend on April 27.

 

His second consecutive start pitching into late innings (at least seven) finishing the outing with six strikeouts while giving up only one hit.

 

MLBbro.com reporter Malik Wright has been monitoring the MLBbro’s progress up to the pitching masterclass in a recent Live on Tape at the ballpark segment.

 

 

 

While our MLBbro’s critics are coming from potential box score watchers looking at his ERA, the improvements are there due to his advanced statistics. But for the eye test, Greene as of late is getting better and better.

 

  • He is forcing more ground balls in 2024.
  • He is walking fewer batters this season.
  • His home run rate has dropped to one-third of what it was in past seasons.
  • All told if these things improve, his run allowed rate will drop which will keep the critics off his back.

 

MLBbro.com writer basically sums this all up in this bold headline. Hunter stopped being cute and started producing filthy stuff.

 

Hunter Greene Stopped Being Cute and Is Producing Filthy Stuff On The Hill

 

Triston “Dr. Sticks” McKenzie (Cleveland Guardians):

The Cleveland Guardians practiced patience with this MLBbro the way the Cincinnati Reds should with Hunter Greene. After dealing with a severe muscle strain that affected his pitching elbow, McKenzie was limited to only four starts last season.

 

This was after Triston burst into the spotlight as not only one of the most exciting MLBbro starters in the American League but overall, with an 11-11 record and an absurd 2.96 ERA, 190 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.95 in 191 innings.

 

This season our MLBbro has two wicked pitches that shows that his control is solid. Watch the video showing both pitches and their locations.

 

 

Right now, Triston McKenzie has a current record of 2-2 even though his ERA is holding at 4.91 with a WHIP of 1.68, he is currently pitching with a torn ligament trying the rehab route instead of Tommy John surgery.

 

Josiah Gray (Washington Nationals):

 

This article would not be complete without the addition of this MLBbro pitching sensation. He made his first All-Star game appearance and is well on his way to a strong career.

 

 

However now Gray is on the IL with a muscle strain that has affected his production mightily. Hopefully the injury stays within the muscle and away from the ligament which could keep our MLBbro out for much longer.

 

The Up and comers MLBbro.com has an eye on:

 

MLBbro.com went deep into the early progress of Jordan Hicks, Xzavion Curry and Simeon Woods Ricardson, more pitchers that believe their time is now.

 

Hard Luck Bro | Black Jack Flaherty Seeking First Win With Detroit Tigers

Hard Luck Bro | Black Jack Flaherty Seeking First Win With Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty will look to secure his first win of the season this evening as the Tigers take on the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

This will be Flaherty’s fifth start of the season and he currently has a 0-1 record with 4.44 ERA.

 

Detroit added Flaherty during the offseason to add some depth to its starting rotation. So far, Flaherty has had some solid outings in his first season with the Tigers.

 

In his last appearance against the Minnesota Twins, he went six innings and struck out a season high 10 batters while giving up two runs. 

 

Unfortunately, Detroit could not secure the win as Flaherty got the no decision.

 

In each of his four starts, Flaherty has gone six innings, and the Tigers will look for him to continue to be consistent with his innings of work.

 

This is Flaherty’s eighth season, and this also could be his most important one of his career, after stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles. 

 

 

He understands he has an opportunity to make an impact on a team that is looking to turn things around. Last season he appeared in the playoffs with the Baltimore Orioles. It was his first playoff appearance since 2020. He made a relief appearance against the Texas Rangers and went two innings giving up one run on two hits.

 

Flaherty spent the 2023 season with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Orioles. Throughout his career, he was considered a top pitcher in the league, but he’s also faced some challenges.

 

Black Jack Flaherty Is Second Player In Baltimore Orioles History To Retire At Least 15 Consecutive Batters In His Debut

 

“I had stretches where I was really good, even into the beginning of Baltimore, but sometimes you just know, you get that sense,” Flaherty said in an article from mlb.com. “Whatever I did last offseason didn’t work. Whether it truly was the offseason or Spring Training or the way I went about things, there’s no one true answer. It was like, ‘Let’s get back to those things.

 

“That’s what it comes down to: You have to be able to evaluate yourself and make those changes.”

 

The 28-year-old still has a lot left in the tank and this could be the season where he lets everyone know he can still be a dominant pitcher.

 

He also has a lot of experience as a starter and is in a position to mentor the younger players in the clubhouse. It’s also good that the Tigers starting rotation is around the same age too.

 

“It helps being closer in age [to the other starters] than I think some of them realize. Only being 28, yeah, I’ve been in it a little bit longer, but I’m right around the same age as the rest of them,” he said. “I feel like I’m a little bit more approachable and can relate to them a little bit more than other situations. I’m just here and trying to feel my way around things. It takes me a little bit to get totally into the swing of things, but they’ve made it really easy on me.”

 

Detroit sought out to acquire Flaherty for a reason and he’s a pitcher who can make an impact on a team. We are wishing the MLBbro all the best this season in Motown.

“Baseball Is Weird, Sometimes Things Just Go That Way” | Black Jack Flaherty Moves to Motown

“Baseball Is Weird, Sometimes Things Just Go That Way” | Black Jack Flaherty Moves to Motown

Melananted Mound Marauder Jack Flaherty just inked a one-year, $14M contract with the Detroit Tigers. Flaherty is a savvy veteran that was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round with the 34th overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft.

Flaherty is a capable starter, who has had flashes of brilliance throughout an injury-ridden career. Injuries and inconsistency, more than anything, has stopped his rise.

Early Years 

Flaherty started the 2017 season with the Springfield Cardinals, the Double A team of the St Louis Cardinals. In the same year, Flaherty was promoted to the Memphis Redbirds, with a 7-2 record with a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts. The gritty hurler earned 2017 Minor League Player of the Year.  

Flaherty finally made his debut in the MLB on September 1, 2017, against the San Francisco Giants. 

Jack Flaherty Becomes A Rising MLB Star  

He won his first game in 2018 and had his best pro season in 2019, earning All-MLB Second Team honors and breaking through as a potential Black Ace of the future. 

 

 

Flaherty did so well that season as a Cardinal that he was nominated for his first ever Golden Glove and finished fourth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award. 

 

Coming off an elite 2019 campaign, the future was bright for “Black Jack,” who was hoping to continue the moment going into 2020, but the COVID shortened season threw off his plans. He only started in nine games with a record of 4-3 with 49 strikeouts.

Injury & Adversity

Then the 2021 and 2022 season combined he made just 26 appearances with 20 starts. In 2021, Flaherty was on his way to a potential 20-win season, before getting hurt and finishing with a sterling 9-2 record.  

 

 

Flaherty faced more adversity this past season after signing a one-year deal with the St Louis Cardinals for $5.4 million. Flaherty never got in his zone and was moved during the trade deadline to the surging Baltimore Orioles for César Prieto, Drew Rom, and Zack Showalter.

There were some ups and downs in 2023 for Flaherty.

He had elite moments like winning his Orioles debut with a 6–1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. But on the other hand, there were some bad moments like allowing 7 home runs in 7 games.

Black Jack Flaherty Is Second Player In Baltimore Orioles History To Retire At Least 15 Consecutive Batters In His Debut

 

“Baseball is weird, sometimes things just go that way. No matter what you do.” Flaherty to MLBbro.com

 

Despite the up and down season, an optimistic Detroit Tigers franchise is hoping Flaherty can turn the clock back to his All-MLB form. The Tigers finished second place in the AL Central last season. This is an opportunity for Flaherty to get his career back on track and help Detroit make a long-awaited postseason run.