St. Louis Cardinals righty reliever Roan Wick has had a less than impressive Spring Training thus far and that is putting it mildly.
In three appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect, Rowan Wick, recorded 2.1 innings with a 15.43 ERA and four walks. That is not exactly what the Cardinals were hoping for out of the converted catcher when they added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
If there is one silver lining that the stats show, it is the .125 that opposing hitters have against Wick. Sure, it is a small sample size, but it is encouraging to see that number be low. It isn’t easy to convert to a pitcher and just have control, but when Wick is around the plate he is not getting hit that hard.
Plenty of people will look at his 38.5% strikes and write him off, and it would be completely justified. But after seeing him throw his worst third of an inning to date against the Twins, I can confidently say that there his hope for Rowan Wick. especially because prior to that game, he had recorded 2 innings 0 hits with a walk and a strikeout.
When a pitcher throws only a third of an inning, while walking three and giving up four runs, there are plenty of negatives. For Wick, it was mostly just his control and mechanics. And one is directly related to the other. The biggest problem he faced was missing up and out to left handed hitters, which is a result of him not following through on his pitches.
The reason he even gave up that hit is that when he was able to find the zone, he couldn’t throw his off speed. He was essentially a fastball only pitcher because his fastball couldn’t find the zone. So, when he was able to find the zone the hitter was sitting on a fastball and was able to put a good swing on the ball.
One bad outing does not make a pitcher, but it does expose them. It will show their biggest weaknesses and reveal their true composure. Wick’s weakness is predictable, he has control issues. But the good news is, his composure was very good. There was a level of maturity to how he approached each hitter, even when things were not going well.
The outlook for Wick is still a very good one. The St. Louis Cardinals made a good choice in protecting him. But, when he was added to the 40-man, personally, I thought that meant he was maybe a year away from being able to contribute at the Major League Level. He is still a couple years away.
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After seem him pitch on more than just a stat sheet, it is clear there is still quite a bit work to be done. This is both in his physical mechanics and his mental game. His mental game is already doing well, he just needs to find the confidence in himself so if he loses his control, the plate doesn’t shrink. He can just take a breath and go back to work. Easier said than done however.
In his physical mechanics, he does everything a converted catcher would do. He has a short stride, a short arm and no follow through. The stride and arm will go hand in hand. A longer stride and a slightly longer arm will add velocity and control.
As of right now, he throws the ball from the arm slot of a catcher. That is not easy to control when trying to pitch. This means he will most likely need to adjust his arm slot in order to find the necessary control.
Then again, from what he showed against the Twins, his biggest issue mechanically was the follow through. He had none. He ended standing straight up. This caused him to miss up and out of the zone to his arm side. Had he gotten out over his front knee, then the arm slot may have not even come into play.
Mechanical tweaks can take some time to get used to. But Wick still shows a great deal of promise. He will eventually be a trusted arm in the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. It will just take a little bit of time to develop and at 24 years old, he still has time.