Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty were teammates nine years ago at Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious prep school in Los Angeles.
On Thursday, all three will be opening-day starting pitchers in the major leagues.
And they didn’t even win a California state title the year they all played together.
“If you point at a particular high school and ask: What is the probability that three baseball players graduating this year will wind up pitching for MLB teams, and get selected to be this year’s starters on opening day? The probability is less than one in a billion,” said James E. Corter, professor of statistics and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
“But if you assume that there are maybe 10,000 high schools in the U.S., and elsewhere in the hemisphere that field baseball teams who play at a level that might get them noticed and recruited, the odds that it could happen somewhere, with some high school, rise considerably,” Corter said. “So now we’re talking more like one in 100,000. Still, pretty unusual.”
Giolito becomes the first White Sox right-hander to make consecutive opening-day starts since Jaime Navarro in 1997 and ’98 when Chicago opens under new manager Tony La Russa at the Los Angeles Angels, and Flaherty will start his second opener in a row when the St. Louis Cardinals are at the Cincinnati Reds. Fried takes the mound in an opener for the first time when Atlanta plays at Philadelphia.
“It’s pretty cool when you know 10% of the league is starting opening day from the same high school,” Giolito said. “We’ve been working together for a long time, pumping each other up. It’s pretty weird and wild. I don’t think that’s ever happened before in any professional sport where you’ve got three guys from the same high school all competing on the big…