This article was originally published at the Redbird Daily by Colin Garner, and is now proud to call the Cards Conclave home. Throughout July, we’ll be re-running all 30 Prospect articles as we lead up to Colin’s Mid-Season Prospect Update later in the month.
In Collaboration with Kyle Reis and Birds On The Black, Colin Garner presents you with The Cardinals Top 30 Prospects! Today, we have #7, Jordan Hicks.
7. Jordan Hicks – RHP
3rd Round – 2015 Draft
Entering age-21 season
|2017||20||-2.2||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||STL||8||3||.727||2.74||3.34||22||19||3||0||0||1||105.0||96||39||32||3||45||0||95||15||2||2||452||1.343||8.2||0.3||3.9||8.1||2.11|
|Minors (2 seasons)||Minors||14||5||.737||2.82||3.64||34||31||3||0||0||1||165.2||154||67||52||4||74||0||137||22||2||9||717||1.376||8.4||0.2||4.0||7.4||1.85|
|All Levels (2 Seasons)||14||7||.667||3.13||3.97||43||32||4||0||0||1||181.1||174||80||63||6||80||0||153||23||2||10||787||1.401||8.6||0.3||4.0||7.6||1.91|
What I Like
Any scouting report about Jordan Hicks is going to start with his fastball. According to Baseball Census, Hicks’ fastball touched 99 miles-per-hour in the Arizona Fall League. Not only that, but they noted that he was “free, easy, and absolutely pumping with little max-effort and a repeatable delivery.”
I wrote in January that Hicks isn’t a one-trick pony, as some have characterized him this offseason. I encourage you to read the article, especially for the video of all his pitches. In addition to his high-octane fastball, Hicks throws a cutter, a changeup, and curveball. Based on what I’ve seen of Hicks, his curveball is his best offspeed pitch and it’s not really close.
Before I really dove into the video for the article in January, I thought of Hicks as a fastball-curveball guy. After all, that’s the book on him. What I saw, however, was the potential for three plus pitches and possibly four average or better pitches. Now, I may be watching Hicks with rose-tinted glasses. Even though the Arizona Fall League is more advanced than anywhere Hicks has been thus far, we haven’t seen his secondary stuff against major league hitters yet.
Anyways, here’s video of his cutter and his changeup.
Speaking of the Arizona Fall League, his performance there went exactly as Kyle an I expected. He struggled early. After all, he has only thrown 27 innings above Low-A. He finished strong, with three one-hit innings with four strikeouts over four appearances. So while that 6.32 ERA in the Fall League doesn’t look great, the fact that Hicks ended on a positive note is huge.
What I Don’t Like
The fact that he was, reportedly, sent to minor league camp for being late to the meetings. Mike Matheny said he needed to “work on some things,” when he was sent out. In a chat on stlToday.com, a reader asked Derrick Goold what exactly those “things” are, to which Goold replied something along the lines of “being on time would be a good start.” That’s the extent of my knowledge of the situation, and I don’t want to trash a player when I don’t know the whole story so I’ll leave it at that.
In Peoria, he didn’t’ strike out very many hitters. He only K’d 18% of the hitters he faced in Peoria, roughly the same rate as Dakota Hudson in Springfield. Rightfully, there’s concern with Hudson. I would be equally as concerned with Hicks, but for the fact that he blew hitters away in Palm Beach. In 27 innings, he struck out 30% of the hitters he faced and his ERA was a minuscule 1.00.
Those 27 innings would be such a huge plus for me if they didn’t come out of the bullpen. When you couple that with the organization viewing him as a “one-trick pony”, you could see how they rush him into a bullpen role instead of allowing him to fully develop. As I mentioned back in January, Hicks’ development could wind up being the biggest casualty of the front office’s inability to adequately address the bullpen.
It feels like everyone expected Hicks to be so utterly dominant this Spring the Cardinals would be forced to put Hicks on the roster. That was never going to be the case. As dominant as those offspeed pitches look in the clips, he doesn’t throw them that well often enough. As bright as the future looks for Hicks, he still has some things to work on.
(P.S. I really, really hope he starts in Springfield.)
Thanks for reading!