Less than a decade ago, Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito and Max Fried were dominating on the mound for the same Los Angeles high school. Now, all three are preparing to start on Opening Day for their respective big league clubs.
The Braves announced on Thursday that Fried will start their season opener against the Phillies on April 1, making him the third Harvard-Westlake alumnus to be named an Opening Day starter this season.
Flaherty will get the ball for the Cardinals against the Reds in Cincinnati, while Giolito will start for the White Sox against the Angels in Anaheim, less than 50 miles away from Harvard-Westlake.
The three have been friends dating back to their days as teammates at Harvard-Westlake School.
“That’s crazy,” Fried said. “I’m really happy and really excited for those guys. They worked extremely hard to put themselves in that position. To be in that position and share that feeling with those guys is pretty cool.”
All three pitchers were first-round Draft picks. In 2012, Fried went seventh overall to the Padres, while Giolito went 16th to the Nationals. In 2014, the Cardinals nabbed Flaherty with the 34th overall selection.
All three have gone on to become frontline starters. Flaherty finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2019, and he has recorded a 3.37 ERA in four seasons. Giolito allowed more earned runs than anyone in the Majors in 2018, but he has posted a 3.43 ERA in the past two years, earning American League Cy Young votes each year and tossing a no-hitter last August. And Fried went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 2020, finishing fifth in the NL Cy Young race.
The journey for all three started at Harvard-Westlake, and it will continue on Opening Day in 2021.