The 20 most important St. Louis Cardinals in 2023: #19 Jordan Hicks
Each day leading up to Opening Day, our Redbird Rants team will be counting down the 20 most important St. Louis Cardinals for the 2023 season. Yesterday we began our list with #20, Juan Yepez, and will be continuing the countdown today with #19, Jordan Hicks.
Hicks made his Major League debut at age-21 during the 2018 season, flashing electric stuff, including fastballs with major movement that were over 100 MPH. Hicks was dripping with potential, and he quickly slotted into late-inning roles and got opportunites to close early in his career.
Hicks struggled with injuries during the 2019 and 2021 seasons and missed the entire 2020 season after opting out during the COVID-19 pandemic due to preexisting health conditions. There was a ton of hope from the Cardinals' front office and fan base alike that Hicks would get back on track during 2022, but it was a mixed bag at best from the flamethrower.
Hicks was used as an opener to begin the season as the Cardinals sorted through their rotation issues, and eventually settled back into a middle inning reliever, and at times, used in high-leverage situations. Hicks' walks per nine rose back to a crazy high 5.1 throughout the season, and his 1.32 WHIP helped lead to an unimpressive 4.84 ERA in 61.1 innings last season. His 4.17 FIP showed signs that he was a better pitcher than that, but his lack of control and oddly low K/9 for a player with his stuff is still concerning for the club.
So why is Jordan Hicks so important for the Cardinals this season? Well, let's look at how his play could drastically change the outlook of this Cardinal bullpen in 2023.