Sports | July 8, 2022 12:07 pm

Watch Cardinals Reliever Jordan Hicks Throw MLB’s Fastest Pitch in 2022

Jordan Hicks tossed a filthy sinker past Atlanta slugger Marcell Ozuna during a 3-2 win over the Braves in 11 innings 

Relief pitcher Jordan Hicks throws a pitch for the Cardinals against the Braves.
Relief pitcher Jordan Hicks is a flamethrower.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

Activated from the 15-day injured list earlier this month after missing time with a right forearm flexor, Jordan Hicks returned to the Cardinals carrying a 1-4 record with a 5.02 ERA in nine appearances for St. Louis this season.

In two appearances since then, the powerful right-hander has yet to allow a run and has surrendered three hits and three strikeouts — and also hurled the fastest pitch in Major League Baseball this season.

In a game that saw Atlanta rookie right-hander Spencer Strider record his first 10 outs of the game by strikeout (he finished with 12), Hicks came in as a reliever after St. Louis starter Matthew Liberatore, also a rookie, pitched four scoreless innings to get the game to the bullpen.

Hicks, who began the season as a starter but has had more success as a reliever, blazed a 103.8 mph power sinker by Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna during his two scoreless innings of relief. Ozuna was just able to foul the pitch off, but that did nothing to diminish the power that was on display from the 25-year-old flamethrower.

A power arm for the Cardinals, who ended up beating the Braves 3-2 in 11 innings, Hicks threw the fastest pitch in MLB in 2018 (105 mph) and again in 2019 (104.3 mph). New York reliever Aroldis Chapman’s 105.1 mph pitch against the Orioles in 2016 is the fastest in MLB history during the Statcast era (since 2015). 

“If you are going season by season, then I guess I have it three times. Aroldis has got the No. 1 even though we both went 105 [mph],” Hicks said. “When I hit 106 someday, that’s when I’ll be able to claim the real title, but he’s still got it for now.”

Of the 34 pitches Hicks hurled during his outing against the Braves, 27 were 100+ mph (79.4%). That’s the second-highest percentage of 100+ mph pitches in an outing of at least 30 pitches in the pitch-tracking era (2008).

“I felt really good tonight,” Hicks said. “I felt really good on [Saturday against the Phillies] and I could have pitched the next day, but the extra couple of days off this time really helped with the arm feeling good tonight. But I don’t want to go that long [without] pitching again.”

He probably won’t and neither will Tennessee ace Ben Joyce, who was clocked at 105.5 mph while pitching in relief last season, once he is drafted and reaches the majors.