Jordan Hicks: The New Rosenthal?

The other day our young flamethrower, Jordan Hicks, hit 105 on the radar gun twice, something that had never been done before. It was impressive. What really stood out, though, was that the batter made contact on that second 105 mph heater, fouling it off. He obviously knew a fastball was coming.

Hicks’ reliance on his heater reminds me of a former Cardinal: Trevor Rosenthal.

Rosie was all about the heat. Sure, he had other pitches, but when you thought of Rosie, you thought of his blazing fastball. Rosie’s reliance on his heater worked pretty well for him though as he had two very good seasons for us, including two with more than 45 saves, before he started to struggle. Currently Rosie is a free agent recovering from Tommy John surgery. I’m curious what the market for him will be when he comes back.

Another thing Jordan and Trevor have in common is wildness. In his Cardinals career Rosie only had one full season where he averaged less than 3.3 BB per nine innings. In 2014, a year where had 45 saves, he averaged 5.4 BB’s per nine innings. Talk about a tightrope act.

Likewise Hicks is struggling with his control. He is currently averaging 6.5 BB per nine innings..

One area where they aren’t similar is strikeout rate. In every full season with us, Rosie averaged over 10 K’s per 9 innings. Currently Hicks is averaging fewer strikeouts per nine innings than he is walks per nine innings.

I realize we are talking about a very sample size with Hicks, as it is his rookie season and he has only pitched 22 Innings. That has come over 45 games, though, so they’re using him quite frequently. Extrapolated over a full season, that is 75 games and 79 innings. If you project his walks over the full season at his current pace, he ends up with 117. Plus the low K rate means the hitters are basically sitting there and waiting for strikes, knowing how wild he’s been.

Rosie had two good years with us (2014 wasn’t that good despite the 45 saves). I hope Hicks settles down, improves his K rate, and has more than two good seasons. The potential for it is certainly there.

As always, thanks for reading.

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