A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jordan Hicks. Hicks currently pitches for Class A Peoria as one of the Cardinals better pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Hicks, who was a supplemental pick in 2015 was the Cardinals First Round Draft Pick in 2016. Jordan is in his second season in the Cardinals system and first with a full season team. Jordan talked to me about what pitches he’s trying to develop, what former Cardinal has been helping him, and his philosophy on pitching. NOTE – (A.C. can stand for Arch City or for me, Andy Cockerill – your choice.)
A.C. – You throw a fastball, change, curve, and sinker – what pitches are you trying to develop to make it to the next level?
Jordan Hicks – I’m trying to develop my change up, and my curveball. I’m looking for consistency with my curve and change.
A.C. – You’ve really cut down on your walks this season – was there any adjustments you made to do that?
Jordan Hicks – Throwing first pitch strikes as been important for me. It helps to work ahead in the count. I’m taking everything I learned last year and putting it into my game.
A.C. – Being down in Jupiter this spring were there any big league guys that helped you/talked to you?
Jordan Hicks – I like talking to Jason Isringhausen. He’s my main guy I enjoy talking to. He’s helped me with the mental game and worked with me on a few of my pitches.
A.C. – When did you realize you had what it takes to be a professional pitcher?
Jordan Hicks – The beginning of my senior year of high school is when I had scouts start coming to my house and to my games. I got a lot of exposure in Jupiter at one of the exposure camps.
A.C. – What would you say is the most challenging part of the game for you right now?
Jordan Hicks – Throwing my off speed pitches for strikes as been my main focus. I need to make sure I can consistently throw my fastball for a strike.
A.C. – Are there times when you go out and it’s not about results – you’re simply working on something specific?
Jordan Hicks – Sometimes – normally if I throw my fastball I can get ground balls. I have to trust my defense when I’m out there. I’m not a big strikeout guy, I pitch to contact.
A.C. – Why did you decide to go pro instead of going to college?
Jordan Hicks – It’s just a great opportunity. You never know if you get an injury or another opportunity. I feel like it was the right decision for me to go play baseball. It’s always been my dream.
A.C. – As a kid were there any pitchers you looked up to? You’re from Houston, so any of those guys?
Jordan Hicks – No pitchers actually. I really enjoyed watching Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell – all those old Houston teams.
A.C. – Were there any other sports you played in high school?
Jordan Hicks – In high school all I did was play baseball. When I was a young kid I played everything but just baseball in high school.
After talking to Jordan and watching him interact with the other players on the Chiefs, you could see he is 100% a leader. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and the numbers to back it up. While the Cardinals strength in their minor leagues seems to be pitching – the name Jordan Hicks should be in the conversation when listing the guys who have potential/big league stuff. He’s off to a 4-1 start with an E.R.A. of 2.76. I think he’s a top candidate to move up to High A this year if the organization calls up someone to St. Louis and needs to move guys up the ladder to fill the void.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter @Jhicks007