Following the 2012 season,
Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
had two starting pitchers taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. Fortunately for the Wolverines, junior pitcher Jack Flaherty
wasn't one of those players.
Behind the superb pitching of the right-handed ace, Harvard-Westlake captured the CIF Southern Section Division I championship and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings
Awards have been pouring in for the junior standout who is considered one of the top 10 prospects for the 2014 MLB draft. The Southern Section coaches named him the top player in Division I.
The Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News both pegged Flaherty as their All-Area Player of the Year. Just this week, Cal-Hi Sports selected Flaherty as its state player of the year, marking one of the few times in the publication's long history that it has chosen a junior as the state's top player.
This week, MaxPreps names Flaherty as its National Player of the Year, beating out such talented seniors as Clint Frazier
of Loganville (Ga.), Rob Kaminsky
of St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) and Tyler Danish
of Durant (Plant City, Fla.).
As a sophomore in 2012, Flaherty was the third pitcher on a staff that included first round draft picks Lucas Giolito
and Max Fried
. There was no doubt, however, that the 6-foot-4 Flaherty was the Wolverines' No. 1 pitcher in 2013.
"The addition of a few miles per hour on my fastball made me better," Flaherty told the Los Angeles Times. "I was consistently executing my pitches."
According to Harvard-Westlake coach Matt LaCour, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Flaherty's improvement resulted as he developed a pitch other than his fastball.
"The slider has become a real pitch for him," LaCour told the Times. "Last year, it was good. This year, it was great."
Flaherty's performances were outstanding, allowing him to rack up a 13-0 record with a 0.63 ERA. He also posted six shutouts on the season, including a 1-0 victory over Marina (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
in the Southern Section Division I championship game.
Flaherty also pitched a three-hit shutout against Eustis (Fla.) in the first round of the National High School Invitational and he had a no-hitter against Valencia in March. His pinpoint control allowed him to strike out 112 batters in 89 innings while walking an absurdly low total of just 10 batters.
When Flaherty first arrived at Harvard-Westlake, however, he was considered more of a position player. As a third-baseman for the Wolverines, Flaherty batted .360 with 31 runs scored, 13 RBI, four doubles and two home runs. He also drove in the only run in the championship win over Marina.
With a 25-3 record over his first three seasons, Flaherty has committed to play at North Carolina following his senior year. However the Major League Baseball draft could alter those plans and he could join Giolito and Fried as the third Harvard-Westlake pitcher to be drafted in the first round.