2022-2023 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Mason Fluharty takes the ball in this instalment of C’s Chat.
The Lewes, Delaware native may not be George Thorogood but Fluharty has been a Delaware Destroyer on the mound, at least when it comes to bats made of wood. Fluharty attended Cape Henlopen High School and played first base and the outfield but it was on the mound where he made his biggest impact. He helped the Vikings win its first-ever State Championship in 2018 by striking out the final batter looking. After earning First-Team Conference All-Conference honours and contributing to the Vikings appearance in the State semi-finals in his 2019 senior season, Fluharty went to Lynchburg, Virginia to join the Liberty Flames of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Fluharty’s freshman campaign in 2020 saw him log just seven innings of work before Covid cancelled the season. The workload more than tripled in 2021 when he pitched 22-1/3 innings and struck out 20 batters against 10 walks while earning his first collegiate save. The Flames reached the NCAA Knoxville Regional in which Fluharty struck out three over two shutout innings against his future C’s teammate Chad Dallas and the Tennessee Volunteers, the team that would go to the College World Series that year.
The 2022 season saw Fluharty dominate on the slop as he struck out 83 batters in 50-1/3 innings, walking only 10. He won six of nine decisions and saved two games while recording an earned run average of 2.84. Only three of the 24 runners he inherited were able to score. His shining moment was his last game with the Flames as he threw five shutout innings with five strikeouts before Central Michigan eliminated Liberty from the Gainesville Regional. Fluharty’s season earned him recognition in the form of a spot on the ASUN All-Conference second team.
The Toronto Blue Jays would select Fluharty with its fifth-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and received a signing bonus of #222,500. Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline had this to say about Fluharty’s selection.
“He’s a reliever all the way. It’s really a plus cutter thrown around 90, 91 miles per hour. He’s going to break a ton of bats against wood. He combines that with a upper-70s slider with a big sweep that misses a ton of bats. He could move quick because he threw a ton of strikes this year.”
Instead of getting his feet wet with the Dunedin Blue Jays after a two-week draft camp, Fluharty made his pro debut with the Vancouver Canadians instead. He contributed a one-hit scoreless inning with one strikeout to earn his first hold at Eugene on August 14. He collected his first professional win against the Hillsboro Hops in his Nat Bailey Stadium debut on August 25 and shut out the Eugene Emerald over 2-1/3 innings on September 11. He also made an appearance during Game 3 of the Northwest League final.
After splitting two decisions with a 3.52 ERA and a strikeout/walk total of 21-7 in 15-2/3 innings, Baseball America also agreed with Mayo’s claim about Fluharty’s major league potential by tabbing him him as closest to the majors in the 2022 Blue Jays draft report card.
If Fluharty’s start to the 2023 season is any indication, he will be a man on the move in short order. He struck out five over two shutout innings to get the win at Everett on April 19. After posting a 1.08 ERA with 13 strikeouts and one walk over 8-1/3 innings in April, Fluharty has continued his success into mid-May with just one unearned run allowed over five frames.
C’s Plus Baseball spoke with Fluharty during the team’s homestand against Eugene at the end of April. This interview has been edited for clarity.
C’s Plus Baseball – Did you have a favourite team or player growing up?
Mason Fluharty – Yeah, I grew up a Phillies fan so I’m from like two hours out out of Philly and I’m from Delaware, so, uh, always grew up a Phillies fan. Always went to games.
CPB – Did you have a favourite player or favourite pitcher?
MF – When I was younger I was actually a really big Ryan Howard fan. You know, he wasn’t a pitcher, he was a hitter. Really big power hitter. But yeah, I always grew up a big Ryan Howard fan, Jayson Werth fan, the long hair. Love him.
CPB – Let’s talk about you getting drafted by the Blue Jays. What was that like when you found out?
MF – The second day, we had like a little party at my house. Friends and family all came over. I was expected to go on the second day but it came sooner than I thought. The fifth round came around and yeah, I got the call and it was great having my family there. It was great.
CPB – Were you surprised it was the Blue Jays who took you? Did you think maybe another team that might get involved?
MF – Oh yeah, I actually got a call in the morning from the Astros and they were supposed to take me but the Blue Jays called first so I’m with them.
CPB – Your time at Liberty, a couple of NCAA regional runs. When you look back at your time there with Liberty Flames, what stands out for you?
MF – Definitely the last regional. That last regional was something special. It was my best outing of my whole college career. I went five innings, scoreless, and went into the 12th inning. It sucks that we lost in the 13th, but it is what it is. It’s baseball. But definitely, I had a lot of fun at Liberty, I learned a lot and got down my routine very well and brought it here and carried me ever since.
CPB – What can you say about your routine? What is it that you do to get ready for a game?
MF – Every day I’m hot and basically every day I go through about an hour of stretching and get my body right, make sure my body’s feeling good. As you know, we play almost every single day so recovering and stretching is the biggest thing for me. And just making sure my body’s healthy and ready to go is the biggest thing. It’s definitely carried on since I came here from Liberty.
CPB – When you get to the Blue Jays, you go down for a draft camp and instead of going to the Dunedin Blue Jays, you get to promoted straight to Vancouver. How did you find out about the promotion to Vancouver?
MF – <laugh>? I had two live outings. I threw pretty well and they just told me on the last day of draft camp, they said, ‘Yeah, you’re gonna go to Miami tomorrow with T.J. Brock, and another guy.’ And so we went down to Miami. They didn’t say anything about where we were going. We went and got a one-day passport there and the next day they said, ‘Yep, you guys are gonna go to Vancouver.’ I was like, ‘That’s awesome!’ I was speechless. I was really excited. Especially coming to Vancouver, I’ve never been out of the country. Being here is a completely new experience and it was awesome sharing it with T.J.
CPB – And last season, you joined the C’s down the stretch for the playoff ride. What was that like getting to pitch here last year and pitching against the Eugene Emeralds in the final?
MF – It was awesome getting my feet wet at first. A good couple of weeks to get my feet wet and then get to the playoffs, it was basically like regionals all over again in the stands here. It was packed out. Over 6,000 people every single game which was awesome. It was an adrenaline rush. It was awesome though playing in front of all of ’em. It’s a good time.
CPB – Heading into the offseason, did you focus on anything in particular, either with your pitches or your workouts?
MF – My biggest thing was to lose weight, gain a little bit more muscle, feel better, get more flexible and I did that exact thing. I took some time off to rest because it was after a long college season and then coming straight here. There was a lot on the body, a lot on the arm but after that, I got after it and ended up moving down to Florida to train at the facility down there. Best facility in all of MLB. It was a good time. It was a good experience for me definitely to be there in the off-season and be around all the big leaguers.
CPB – Was there anyone you interacted with specifically?
MF – Yeah, (George) Springer. I actually talked to Springer a lot. He was a cool guy to talk with. Talked about Houston, a little bit of fishing and hunting.
CPB – As far as the Player Development Complex goes, as you said, it’s top of the line. Is there anything maybe you learned about yourself that maybe you didn’t know before about your pitching style?
MF – Yeah, I got into the pitching lab there and I ended up starting to throw a two-seam (fastball) because I’m a cutter/slider guy and started throwing a two-seamer in there and they really liked it and I rode with it ever since. It’s really helping me so far this season and I can’t wait for it to keep developing as I throw it more.
CPB – Your pitching mix right now? Is it a slider and a two-seamer and four-seamer?
MF – No, my fastball’s my cutter. So yeah, I go cutter/slider and then I just added a two-seamer to go the other way.
CPB – Talk about your pitching style. How did you develop that?
MF – How I always thrown, I guess. I’ve always been a three-quarter slot guy. That’s me. My pitching coach at college thought it would be a good idea to move myself all the way over to the first base side. It’s really hard on lefties so it’s even better for me.
CPB – How’s it been for you going up against righties?
MF – I actually really like facing righties. I like breaking a lot of bats and that’s what I’ve been doing here recently. Hopefully I can just keep it going. Just keep on attacking them and just keep getting them out.
CPB – Baseball America rated you in its draft report card as the closest to the majors (out of the 2022 Blue Jays draft class). I think the Jays kind of gave you a pretty good indication to bump you up to Vancouver when they did. I’m sure that has to give you confidence that obviously the Blue Jays really do see something in you?
MF – Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’m a strike thrower. I pride myself in throwing strikes, just pounding the zone and just getting outs. I’m not scared of any hitter. Just keep on attacking and just let my stuff play.
CPB – Finally, your goals for 2023. What are you hoping to accomplish when it’s all said and done for 2023?
MF – My number one goal is to be the best teammate I can be. Just building relationships with all the guys here and everywhere else I go. This year would be the biggest thing for me. Obviously pitching good is a priority but developing relationships is probably the number one thing.
Mason Fluharty File
- Born – August 13, 2001 in Lewes, DE
- Height/Weight – 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
- Bats/Throws – Right/Left
- Uniform Numbers – Wore number 32 with Liberty and 25 with Vancouver in 2022.
- Instagram – @mason.fluharty
- Twitter – @FluhartyMason3
- Mound Music – “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys.
- Fun Fact – Fluharty is looking to join fellow Liberty Flame and 2012-2013 C’s outfielder Ian Parmley in the big leagues with Toronto. Parmley appeared in three games with the Blue Jays in 2017.
Thanks a million to Mason Fluharty and C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel for this latest chapter of C’s Chat.
One thought on “C’s Chat – 2023 Vancouver Canadians LHP #32 Mason Fluharty”
What an impressive start to Mason Fluharty’s young career! From helping his high school win a State Championship to being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB Draft, Fluharty has certainly made an impact on the mound. It’s exciting to see him already making waves with the Vancouver Canadians and being touted as closest to the majors among his draft class.
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