The Toronto Blue Jays made another move with the trade deadline by adding another player from the St. Louis Cardinals to their bullpen. On July 30th, the Jays traded Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein for RHP Jordan Hicks. With this move, the Jays designated Mitch White for assignment to make room for Hicks.
The Jays have added a strong reliever to help cater to some struggles in the bullpen. Hicks posts an ERA of 3.67 and in his last five games has only allowed one run, one walk, no home runs, and recorded five strikeouts. With their closer Jordan Romano currently injured, the Blue Jays have got their hands on the strongest reliever that was available. Overall, it looks to be a solid trade for the Jays, so let’s take a look at some significant things that Jordan Hicks will provide to the Jays bullpen.
OFFICIAL: We’ve acquired RHP Jordan Hicks from the Cardinals in exchange for Minor League RHPs Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 30, 2023
Three Things Jordan Hicks Will Provide to the Jays Pen
Powerful Groundball Rate/Weak Contact
100 mph pitches thrown:
Jordan Hicks – 1,583
All #BlueJays pitchers* – 108
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) July 30, 2023
The Jays have had issues with relievers giving up runs late in games and this is something that the Jays want to avoid. With Hicks, the Jays will get a RHP that has an unbelievable ground ball rate. While, he has some issues with walks, the strong ground ball rate overpowers that problem. He is also known for weakening players’ contact with the ball, which is impressive. Compared to other pitchers sinkers, Hicks’s sinker produces a lot of groundballs and his slider also generates a lot of flyballs compared to other pitchers.
Therefore, when he is on the money with his stuff, he’s very hard to hit against. His sinker has been known to be nasty and move a lot, which usually produces weak contact for his opponents. The fact that he hasn’t given up many runs lately, and has not allowed many home runs is one of his many strong attributes as a reliever.
He’s a Hard and Fast Throwing Pitcher
Newest Blue Jay, Jordan Hicks, throwing a 102.5 MPH Sinker🤩 Welcome to Toronto ! pic.twitter.com/9h7eYQI2Et
— 𝓝𝓲𝓬𝓴 (@DubsByNick) July 31, 2023
One of Jordan Hicks’s secret weapons as a reliever is that is a flame thrower. Hands down, Jordan Hicks is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers on the MLB market. He also shows strong capability by being early in counts and posting a 57.7% first strike. In addition, he also has a 30.7% O-Swing.
In addition, Hicks isn’t only the hardest-throwing pitcher but he is also the fastest. According to the Bleacher Report, Hicks amplified his pitcher resume when he “set a record for the fastest strike thrown in the Statcast era, hitting 105 mph on the radar gun in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.”
He Has Closer Experience
Jordan Hicks – and his 100th percentile FB velo – is joining a #BlueJays' bullpen that'll feature Jordan Romano & Erik Swanson at the back end in October.
Ross Atkins isn't messing around. 👀 pic.twitter.com/zjD0ffYVwB
— Thomas Hall (@ThomasHall85) July 30, 2023
While it is unfortunate that the Jays closer Jordan Romano has gone on the injured list, the upside of this situation is that Hicks is a pitcher that has experience as a closer. This makes him a beneficial asset to the Jays bullpen. We don’t know how long Romano will be gone, so the timing works out perfectly with losing Romano temporarily but gaining Hicks. As well, Romano is only expected to be gone for a short period of time. Once he returns to the lineup, the bullpen will be ready to go.
Jordan Hicks is Now a Jay
Everyone loves Jordan Hicks' fastballs, as they should, but his sweeper generates most of his swing & miss. #BlueJays
It leads all sweepers in K% (57.1%), whiff% (58.6%) and owns the 4th-lowest OPP AVG (.097) in the majors (min. 25 PAs).
And here's why:pic.twitter.com/iMkJBE2jfV
— Thomas Hall (@ThomasHall85) July 30, 2023
Despite the high price for Jordan Hicks, this is one of the biggest rental acquisitions the Jays have made in recent years. With his powerful arm, Hicks will supplement and help a bullpen that has been overworked this season. Hicks will be able to provide a boost to the bullpen and give pitchers like Erik Swanson and Yimi Garcia a bit of a break who have been pitching a lot recently. While he is desired for his sweeper pitch that produces a lot of swings and misses, Hicks is also valued for his fastball. Hicks could be a vital piece to the Jays going strong if they make the playoffs.
Main Image: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports