- Full name Jordan McKinley Hicks
- Born 09/06/1996 in Houston, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Cypress Creek
- Debut 03/29/2018
Drafted in the SUP round (105th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 (signed for $600,000).
View Draft ReportA Tulane signee, Hicks has shown a low 90s fastball that has touched 96 and a solid breaking ball at his best. He needs to add strength and just rack up some innings as he hasn't pitched much in high school.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Shoulder inflammation delayed Hicks' debut after the Cardinals drafted him in 2015, but he's done nothing but impress since he's gotten on the mound. With an arsenal as electric as any in the system, Hicks excelled in short-season ball in 2016, was a Midwest League all-star in 2017 and finished with eight dominant appearances at high Class A Palm Beach. Athletic, physical and aggressive, Hicks works 93-98 mph with his fastball, sits 95 and touches 101 in short bursts. He holds his velocity deep into his starts, and his fastball plays up further with armside life that handcuffs same-side batters. Hicks pairs his heater with a tight power curveball at 79-82 mph that draws plus-plus grades from evaluators and is his go-to swing-and-miss pitch. Hicks relies heavily on those two pitches, but he also has a firm changeup with depth that flashes average and an 83-85 mph slider he'll mix in. While Hicks' arsenal is nasty, his delivery has a lot of moving parts and causes below-average command and control. That hampered him the Arizona Fall League, where he got lit up for a 6.32 ERA and allowed 20 hits in 15.2 innings. Hicks has the athleticism to streamline and repeat his delivery but has yet to show he can. Hicks has a chance to jump to Double-A Springfield in 2018, depending on his camp performance. How much he improves his command and control will determine if reaches his mid-rotation potential. In all likelihood he ends up a reliever, possibly as the Cardinals' closer of the future.
If there is one true referendum on a club's farm system and the talent inside, it's what other teams ask for in trades. As the Cardinals sought a reliever around the non-waiver trade deadline in 2016, one of the players deep in the system that clubs coveted was Hicks, an otherwise unheralded and quietly intriguing talent who had a delayed debut. Hicks did not pitch in a game until 2016 because of shoulder inflammation, and the Cardinals played ultra-conservative with his workload. When they unleashed him on the Rookie-level Appalachian League and later the short-season New York-Penn League, he rated as one of the best pitching prospects in each. Hicks, a Tulane commit who received a $600,000 bonus, is a standout athlete with the stuff that inspires dreams. His fastball has sink and zips at 92-97 mph. His changeup is firm and effective against lefthanded batters. He's got a tightly-wound, biting 78-83 mph curve that earns plus grades, with one scout giving it a future 70. "It's sick," was a report. His delivery adds some deception and some concern. It has been difficult for him to repeat or maintain deep into games; as it goes so does command. His pitches will get him to low Class Peoria's rotation; command will accelerate his rise.
Minor League Top Prospects
Fully recovered from shoulder inflammation that delayed his pro debut, Hicks showed top-scale velocity in 2017, reaching 101 mph with his fastball. Hicks' stuff is unquestioned. His fastball ranged 93-98 and sat 95 mph and he carried his velocity late into games. And the pitch wasn't just about heat but also showed late life and hard sink. Hicks can pitch with one pitch because of his excellent velocity and he can pitch up in the zone, but he pairs the fastball with a sharp 12-to-6 hammer that misses bats and has drawn plus-plus grades. But his curveball can get horizontal, which makes it easier to get hit. He needs to develop a changeup but hasn't needed it much yet because of the effectiveness of his two main offerings. He wowed evaluators with stuff, athleticism and physicality, but his delivery proved difficult to repeat at times. That led to inconsistent command. Because his stuff is so good, one evaluator said Hicks won't need true command, meaning he could still miss his spot and get swings and misses. He has a No. 2-3 starter's ceiling with closing potential if he moves to the pen.
Hicks made his pro debut in the Appy League this summer, and left quite an impression, garnering interest from multiple clubs as the trade deadline approached. The Cardinals held onto Hicks and promoted him to short-season State College as the deadline passed. Hicks would sometimes fly open and lose fastball command and has a long arm action with a wrap in the back, but his strong athleticism could allow him to overcome both issues. He pitches with a mid-90s fastball that has reached 98 mph. The pitch shows late life as well. Hicks throws a low-80s slider that flashes plus spin often and shows tight two-plane break, though its shape can vary. His slider projects as plus though some evaluators rated it even better. Hicks's changeup is also a weapon, and he flashes feel for it down in the zone, particularly against lefthanded batters.
Taken with pick No. 105 in 2015, Hicks didn't make his pro debut until this season as he dealt with shoulder inflammation. The MRI was clean, but the Cardinals proceeded cautiously. He started 2016 at Rookie-level Johnson City before earning a promotion to State College. His rawness showed as he walked 4.3 batters per nine innings overall, and control is something he'll need to tighten. But if he can corral his command issues, Hicks has the ingredients to be a dominant force on the mound. Hicks worked mostly 92-94 mph with sink and was able to touch as high as 98. His 78-83 mph breaking ball has a tight 10-to-4 break and is a swing-and-miss pitch for him. His changeup is a firm 88-90 mph pitch with armside run that he throws primarily to lefthanded batters. Hicks throws with an athletic delivery, but he'll need to repeat it more consistently, which could come as he gets more innings.