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Flaherty's eight strikeouts lead top prospects

MLB.com @wboor

Jack Flaherty looked to be in midseason form as he cruised through a dominant start in the Cardinals 1-0 loss to the Orioles on Thursday afternoon.

Flaherty, the Cardinals No. 2 prospect (No. 38 overall), fired five innings of one-run ball, giving up just three hits while striking out eight.

Jack Flaherty looked to be in midseason form as he cruised through a dominant start in the Cardinals 1-0 loss to the Orioles on Thursday afternoon.

Flaherty, the Cardinals No. 2 prospect (No. 38 overall), fired five innings of one-run ball, giving up just three hits while striking out eight.

"Very good," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Very impressive."

The 22-year-old right-hander struck out the first batter he faced and then the strikeouts just kept coming. Flaherty struck out at least one batter in every inning and fanned two in the second, third and fifth.

The high-strikeout performance is nothing new to Flaherty, who struck out seven in his last start and has fanned 20 in 13 innings during Spring Training. In his Minor League career, Flaherty has notched 398 strikeouts in 400 1/3 innings over four years.

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's action:

• No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves No. 1) showed off his immense talent once again. The 20-year-old hit his third homer of Spring Training, a two-run blast, as part of a three-RBI day against the Tigers and is now batting .417 with a 1.217 OPS. Braves No. 15 prospect A.J. Minter kept his ERA at zero with a scoreless frame. Minter has pitched 5 1/3 innings, fanned six and yielded five hits.

Video: DET@ATL: Acuna connects for a two-run home run

• No. 16 overall prospect Kyle Tucker (Astros No. 2) continued his hot spring with a pair of hits in the Astros' win over the Nationals. Tucker, who is slashing .412/.432/.853, went 2-for-2 including an RBI single and a run scored in the ninth. Jonathan Arauz, the Astros' No. 22 prospect, also drove in a run and finished 1-for-2 with a double.

• No. 84 overall prospect Tyler Mahle (Reds No. 5) put together one of his best starts of the year as he navigated his way through four scoreless innings. The right-hander gave up two hits, but that was the extent of the damage as he didn't walk anyone and didn't let anyone reach third base.

Dodgers No. 12 prospect Edwin Rios showed off his impressive 55-grade power with a solo homer, his second, over the batter's eye in center field in his only at-bat. Gavin Lux (Dodgers No. 13) also made good use of his one at-bat with a triple.

Video: KC@LAD: Rios crushes a homer over the batter's eye

Indians No. 20 prospect Eric Haase hit his second homer of Spring Training, but this one, a three-run homer, was of the inside-the-park variety. Haase finished 1-for-1 with three RBIs and a walk.

Royals No. 18 prospect Ryan O'Hearn has hit 20 or more homers in three straight seasons and his power was on full display as he crushed a pair of longballs against the Dodgers. O'Hearn, who has three homers this spring, hit a three-run homer in the first and a two-run homer in the second. He later settled for a single and finished 3-for-3 with five RBIs.

Video: KC@LAD: O'Hearn connects for two home runs

Yankees No. 26 prospect Tyler Austin got just one at-bat, but that was all he needed. Austin made it back-to-back games with a homer as he hit his fourth homer of the spring in the Yankees' win over the Pirates.

Video: PIT@NYY: Austin crushes a solo homer to center

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.