D’Marje Morris with the scoop on St. Louis Cardinals melanated mound marauder Jack Flaherty who is finding his form as a future ace of the rotation. The 27-year-old is on somewhat of a roll after tossing six scoreless innings in a much-needed Red Birds win.
MLBbro Taijuan Walker spent the last two seasons of his career pitching for the New York Mets.
He experienced arguably the best two seasons of his career there, reaching the postseason in 2022 and becoming an All-Star in 2021. After eight seasons of middling production, Wlaker put it all together in New York.
After his success last year, the MLBbro chose to cash in by agreeing to a four-year contract worth $72 million with National League East rival Philadelphia Phillies.
Walker returned to New York to face his former team yesterday and was met with a rough response. The Phillies would lose to the Mets 4-2.
The MLBbro lasted only four innings and did not display good command of any kind. Walker only allowed two hits, but one was a two-run home run by Mets Left Fielder Mark Canha.
Walker also walked three batters and only struck out two.
The Phillies had won four of their last five games in which Walker had started, despite him having some rough outings, but today the team could not provide any more support outside of two runs they brought across in the first inning.
Many Phillies fans have already soured on the MLBbro. His velocity has lowered, and command has been an issue. With an ERA over 5.00 and a WAR of 0.3, there is cause for concern.
Walker remains focused and is determined to right the ship.
Losers of seven out of their last ten games, the Phillies have much to be concerned about, but there is still time to gain ground in the crowded NL East.
Fans and those in the Philidelphia organization indeed wanted a better return on their investment in the MLBbro pitcher after seeing him go 12-5 in 29 starts last season.
If Walker can focus on command issues and currently boasts a 10.1% walk rate, he will be able to regain last year’s form. The team has secured the top of their rotation, but they have been looking for someone to step up in that third spot.
The MLBbro has the highest ERA of anyone in the starting rotation for the club, which is a bug let down on the heels of a large contract.
Hopefully, Thursday’s outing was the end of the current slump that Walker is enduring, and a major comeback is on the way
Tink Hence Is The Future For St. Louis Cardinals Arms
While that sounds like a possible, they’d much rather wait on future ace Markevian “Tink” Hence to make his appearance either late this season, or as a part of the five-man rotation to begin next season.
Hence, the team’s No.3 ranked prospect behind only the aforementioned Wynn (No.2) and Jordan Walker (No.1), is also MLB Pipeline’s No.68 ranked prospect. Those three are looked upon as the nucleus for the Cardinals in the very near future, with Hence manning the team’s pitching staff.
The talented hurler was off to a blistering start with this season with High-A Peoria with 7.2 innings and eight strikeouts over starts, when he sustained a chest tightness, forcing him out of the lineup since early April. He’s now slated to return to the mound on Friday.
Yesterday, The Cardinal Nation's no. 3 #STLCards prospect, right-handed pitcher Tink Hence, was listed as slated to come off the IL to be Friday's probable starter for High-A Peoria. Today, that has changed. Friday's starter is no longer Hence, but is "TBD". pic.twitter.com/YyLmi6kGgo
Hence Was Dominant Last Season At Low-A Palm Beach
Prior to his current short stint at High-A Peoria, Hence completely overwhelmed hitters at Low-A Palm Beach last season. He produced a stingy 1.38 ERA and an 81:15 (strikeouts to walks rate) over 52 innings last summer.
Hence’s best pitch is his overpowering fastball that hits 97-98 with regularity but has climbed into the triple-digits as well. But what sets Hence apart is the passion and grit he plays with. Even when the pitches aren’t always hitting the spot, he wants them to, he grinds through it. It’s eerily reminiscent of what former New York Yankees legend and ace C.C. Sabathia would do when he didn’t have his best stuff, and it’s a trait that the great pitchers seem to have. It’s called being a competitor, and that’s what Hence prides himself on.
During spring training Tink told reporters this about his competitive nature.
“First, I’m a competitor. I’m gonna compete regardless if I have this fastball, this off-speed, whatever. Just being able to have a couple plus pitches to go along with the confidence and the mentality I feel like nothing can stop me. Just going out there and trying to get better each game, just figuring out more and more about myself and my pitches,” Hence said.
Hence’s Teammates Love His Work Ethic And Competitive Fire
Hence was the No.63 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, taken in a youthful and talented haul, along with the aforementioned Walker and Winn. And both of his teammates rave about Hence’s ability.
“He’s gonna be a problem for hitters for a long time,” Winn said of Hence. “I’ve never gotten the privilege to face him, actually it may be a privilege to that I haven’t gotten to face him. I don’t know if I’d want to. Great dude. One of my best friends for sure. He’s going to be something special to watch.
Winn’s comments piggybacked Walker’s. The phenom who started his season with an MLB-record 12-game hitting streak before being sent down to the minors for “business reasons,” also spoke highly of the franchise’s future Black Ace.
“He’s like the silent assassin. He doesn’t really say much, but he’ll get you with his stuff,” Walker said.
As for Hence, he understands the process of getting to the majors and what he needs to do to sustain success. But when you’re always out to top yourself, it makes it much easier to continue to grow and develop into one of the leaders of the Cards pitching staff that he was drafted to be. When he joins MLBbroJack Flaherty in the rotation, St. Louis will have aMelanated Mound Marauder duo.