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Jordan Hicks

From BR Bullpen

Jordan McKinley Hicks

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jordan Hicks made his major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day, March 29, 2018. He received some early attention because of the incredible radar gun readings on his fastball: in the season's first week, he owned the eight fastest readings in the majors thus far, topping at 101.6 mph on a two-seam fastball, with the former undisputed champion of the discipline, Aroldis Chapman stood meekly in 9th place. He had never pitched above Class A before making the Cardinals' roster. On April 30th, he briefly lost the title of fastest pitch recorded in 2018 when Tayron Guerrero of the Miami Marlins threw a fastball at 101.9 mph, but he reclaimed the title the very next day with a pitch clocked at 102 mph. He kept pushing up the speed, though, and on May 20th recorded a couple of pitches timed at 105 mph while facing Odubel Herrera of the Philadelphia Phillies; the first was a ball and the second was fouled off. That matched the highest speed ever recorded in a major league game, by Chapman. In 73 games, he went 3-4, 3.59 with 6 saves and 24 holds as the Cards' principal set-up man. He struck out 70 batters in 77 2/3 innings while walking 45, so while his radar gun readings were off the charts, he was still not quite dominating.

Hicks was promoted to the role of closer by the Cardinals in 2019 and did pretty well in the first three months of the season, picking up 14 saves in 15 opportunities to go along with a 2-2 record and an ERA of 3.14 in 29 games. He also struck out 31 against 11 walks in 28 2/3 innings. However, his season ended early as the Cardinals announced on June 24th that he had a torn ligament in his elbow, a situation that forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery. He was slated to return to the mound in 2020 but opted out of the season due to health concerns, in his case the fact that he suffered from Type-1 diabetes, putting him in a high risk category of were to be infected by the COVID-19 virus. As a result, he was not able to return to action as anticipated, but was ready in time for spring training in 2021, and had a good shot of making the team's opening day roster. His return to the mound in a Grapefruit League game on March 14th got some additional coverage as it featured his being locked up in an epic at-bat with Luis Guillorme of the New York Mets that endured for 22 pitches before he walked him. Had the at-bat occurred in the regular season, it would have been the longest recorded since pitch data was tracked systematically starting in 1988.

Further Reading[edit]

  • John Denton: "Hicks eyes starting 'down the road,' but set on relief in '23", mlb.com, March 22, 2023. [1]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "At 105 mph, Jordan Hicks is MLB's hardest thrower. What does that mean for his future?", USA Today Sports, July 10, 2018. [2]
  • Anne Rogers: "Cardinals' Hicks opts out of 2020 season", mlb.com, July 13, 2020. [3]

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