3 changes we'd already make to the 2023 St. Louis Cardinals
By Eric Treuden
Keep Jordan Hicks far away from high-leverage situations.
It's been a surprisingly long time since Cardinals fans got to see Hicks at his best. One look at his numbers from the past few years (including the start of this year) and you'd see he hasn't been remotely successful since 2019 when his ERA+ was at 135.
The Cardinals have tried him out in all sorts of different roles and as of late, nothing has stuck. With the right-hander at full health to start 2023, the Cards have been giving him a shot at some high-leverage innings. This is not a crazy development as he has 20 saves in his career, but his performance so far warrants this: Jordan Hicks should not be used in high-leverage situations.
In his first five appearances, the flamethrower has a 10.80 ERA (six earned runs on eight hits), has walked (six) more than he's struck out (five), and has a whopping three wild pitches already. The Cards have plenty of other arms in the bullpen that could take his place as a "stopper" on the pitching staff.
One name that pops out is intriguing youngster Zack Thompson, who has yet to allow an earned run this year. He came up as a starting pitcher and is still young, so there's still plenty of time for him to establish himself as a starter eventually, but he's excelled in the bullpen to start his big league career.