You’re not the only one, Shohei. Most pitchers can’t hit a lick, and that’s largely been true of Jack Flaherty throughout his career (lifetime .161/.200./.212 batting line with 43 strikeouts in 118 at-bats), though the Cardinals ace flipped that narrative on its head with one mighty swing Friday night at Busch Stadium.
The 25-year-old only logged one hit in the victory over Colorado but he made sure to get all of it, hammering Austin Gomber’s 3-1 offering for a towering 416-foot homer to left field. Flaherty’s first major-league round-tripper (the feat occurred on his 140th career plate appearance) was the first by a Cardinals pitcher since Tyson Ross cranked a fifth-inning solo shot off Clayton Kershaw, of all people, back on September 13, 2018. The right-hander’s third-inning missile got out in a hurry, leaving Flaherty’s bat at a blistering 106.2 mph.
We knew if Flaherty, who measures 6’4” and a healthy 222 pounds, ever got ahold of one it would be a glorious sight and Friday night’s moonshot off Gomber, his former St. Louis teammate, didn’t disappoint. Flaherty’s homer is the second-longest by a Cardinals pitcher in the Statcast Era (which began in 2015), trailing only Miles Mikolas’ 426-foot blast from 2018, which probably deserves an asterisk since it came at Coors Field.
Coming off a down season in 2020, Flaherty has quickly returned to elite status for the division-leading Red Birds, pacing the majors with six victories in his first seven starts. Friday’s seven-inning gem against the Rockies lowered his ERA to a crisp 2.83, a marked improvement on last year’s 4.91.