Jordan Hicks understands the fascination. And he likewise understands that his velocity–and more specifically the 105mph fastball he threw is a topic that most fans will bring up in any conversation. But as he enters his second season with the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s looking to provide something different for people to talk about.
“I love that I did that,” Hicks said recently. “105’s awesome. But at the same time, that’s (pause) like, I don’t know. I can’t do that every time. It was a one day thing. It’s not something I live my life by, but whenever I’m talking to people it’s all they want to talk about so (laughs). But I love it. It’s all good. I love talking about it. That was just my side of it.”
But since the velocity topic has been broached–just out of curiosity, could he surpass that 105mph mark?
“I’m not gonna say it’s gonna happen, but I’ve grown in velocity every single year,” Hicks pointed out. “It’s not something I really care to do that much, but it’d be pretty cool. Maybe one time if I’m 0-2, throw one up in the zone, four seam, and try to get it, who knows. But it’s not something I’m planning on doing or anything.”
“I give him grief because, yeah, you threw 105 but it wasn’t near the strike zone,” quipped Jason Isringhausen. The former Cards closer is now a pitching instructor for the team and has worked with Hicks among others.
“I’d rather see him throw 99 and be able to throw all strikes than 105 and Yadi not be able to catch it,” Isringhausen said. “But that’s not the excitement part that everybody loves to see–the oooing and ahhing at the 103s consistently and 104s, but he’s getting it. Like we always say, it’s a process.”
And that process is what Hicks is looking to focus on this season as well.
“I want to get ahead of batters just so I can have that advantage,” said Hicks, who struck out 62 batters in 64.0 innings pitched. “If I’m 1-0 vs 0-1, that’s completely different, you know?”
According to BaseballReference.com, after getting ahead 0-1 in the count (160 plate appearances), Hicks struck out 48 batters and walked 10. By contrast, he walked 35 batters with only 22 strikeouts when falling behind 1-0 (139 plate appearances).
“I think I can throw a lot more strikes than I did last year,” Hicks continued. “I feel more in tune with my body right now. I think it will be better and I know I can strike more guys out so I think that will go up. I didn’t really have my slider all year. It kind of just came to me about halfway, in my opinion. I think if I go into spring training with that and into the season with that it’ll be a lot better. Another pitch to play off my fastball.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports