Orioles’ Michael Flacco, Brother of Ravens QB Joe Flacco, Fights to Escape His Brother’s Shadow


Everyone was aware of the brother storyline in Super Bowl XLVII: it was a coaching matchup between brothers John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh, an event the Super Bowl had never seen before. Much lesser known is the brothers storyline among the major sports teams in the city of Baltimore. One of the brothers is quite well known- Ravens QB and now Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. The other brother is Orioles first base prospect Michael Flacco.

Michael Flacco is 6’6″, 212 and looks a lot like his exponentially more famous brother- or at least what Joe would look like on a baseball diamond. His path to professional sports, though, was much more difficult. Once promising player in both football and baseball in high school, a series of injuries to his back and hip sidetracked Flacco’s athletics career and eventually forced him to stop playing sports altogether. But determined to pursue a pro career, Flacco waited until he got healthy before deciding to pursue baseball over football and enrolling at Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville at age 22. Once he arrived at Catonsville, Flacco began to impress, hitting .372 with 9 home runs as a corner infielder, and the Baltimore Orioles had seen enough to select him in the 31st round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Just one year after his brother had impressed as a quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, the younger Flacco headed to the Orioles and hoped to find similar success.

Flacco made his pro debut with the Rookie Bluefield Orioles that same 2009 season, managing a .272/.325/.417 line with 14 doubles, 5 triples, 3 homers, 34 RBI, and 7 of 9 stolen bases in 60 games before finishing the year with 5 games at Low-A Delmarva. He would split 2010 between Short Season-A Aberdeen and Delmarva, putting up a decent .287/.384/.342 but not hitting for any power as he failed to hit a single home run. Already 24 years old, Flacco then split 2011 between Delmarva and High-A Frederick and had a good year, hitting to a .264/.362/.421 line with 30 doubles, 4 triples, 10 homers, 63 RBI, 8 of 10 stolen bases, and a 100-53 strikeout to walk ratio in 122 games. But Flacco struggled spending most of the 2012 season back with Frederick, also seeing appearing in 4 games at Double-A Bowie, managing just a .214/.284/.330 line with 15 doubles, 8 homers, 35 RBI, 7 of 14 stolen bases, and a 62-31 strikeout to walk ratio in 107 games and 396 plate appearances. Now 26, Flacco has much less mileage on him than prospects his age, but he has never been able to make his talent consistently show up on the baseball diamond.

Flacco made headlines last week when he talked to Mike Garafolo of USA Today about being Joe Flacco’s brother and more importantly talking about how he was participating in football workouts and thinking about going into football. In the end, though, Flacco decided to stay in baseball and continue to chase his dream of staying in the major leagues. He told AM 1570 in Baltimore back in July that “I still see myself playing baseball until I don’t know when. I wouldn’t be here right now if I didn’t feel that way.” And Flacco still has the ability to succeed. Although limited to first base, Flacco is an excellent athlete who has shown great bat speed, big raw power, and outstanding speed for his size. He needs a ton of work in terms of his approach at the plate and reading pitchers on the basepaths, but he also has managed a solid 17.8% strikeout rate and 8.9% walk rate over the course of his career and turned himself into a good defensive first baseman. Michael Flacco’s career has never turned out even remotely like his brother’s and never will. But he still has plenty of untapped potential and the Orioles are just waiting for it to come out. Flacco never got the chance to be that transcendent talent who got on the fast-track to stardom. He’s never going to sign that big contract and be set for life. However, he has the ability and the desire to do whatever it takes to write his own story and go down as more than just Joe Flacco’s younger brother when it’s all said and done.


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