Off the top of my head, I can think of four Major League pitchers who have ever hit 105 mph on the gun. The first, and most well-known of the four is Aroldis Chapman, closer for the New York Yankees. Joel Zumaya, former Detroit Tigers flamethrower, is the second. The third is Chicago White Sox prospect Michael Kopech. The fourth, and most recent member of the elite fraternity, is St. Louis Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks.
The other night, Hicks sent the baseball world into a frenzy with his 5-pitch sequence to Odubel Herrera. The pitches read 104, 105, 104, 105, 104 on the radar gun. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that these pitches were all sinkers. Check it out.
Jordan Hicks goes 105, 104, 105 and 104 mph. 🔥🔥🔥🔥
And, Odubel gets the well-deserved participation trophy, getting 1b on the dropped 3rd. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/IMQrTyDuHy
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 20, 2018
In today’s Statcast era, metrics like velocity and spin rate are considered very valuable. Jordan Hicks just thrust himself into an entirely new statistical category. Not just because of his velocity, mind you, but because of the movement on his pitches as well. A 105 mph fastball is nearly impossible to hit as it is, but add a few inches of sink and arm-side run? Batters have an approximately 0% chance of getting a hit.
What’s funny about Herrera’s at-bat against Hicks is that he reached on a dropped third strike. I guess that’s the only con to throwing 105 mph sinkers. When the batter inevitably swings and misses, there’s a high likelihood the pitch ends up at the backstop.
Unfortunately, Hicks hasn’t shown much command in his short career, as he’s already issued 16 walks and 3 hit batters in 22 frames. He’s certainly got some work to do, but he has plenty of time to get better. He’s only 21 years old… the same age as me. Excuse me while I go legally drink my jealousy away.
Any time a player hits 105 on the gun, heads turn. The Cardinals have something very, very special on their hands in Jordan Hicks. Move over, Aroldis Chapman, there’s a new velocity king in town.
Photo: Sporting News