Jordan Wicks is among the most promising younger pitchers within the Chicago Cubs group. Drafted twenty first total in 2021 by the North Aspect membership out of Kansas State College, the 24-year-old southpaw is coming off of a season that noticed him win 4 of 5 choices and log a 4.41 ERA over his first seven huge league begins. Furthermore, his minor-league ledger included a 7-0 document and a 3.55 ERA between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. Assigned a 50 FV by our personal Eric Longenhagen, Wicks is projected to fit comfortably into new Chicago supervisor Craig Counsell’s rotation within the coming marketing campaign.
The massive lefty — he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds — has a various arsenal, however one providing stands out above the remaining. His changeup, which he started throwing as a Little Leaguer in Conway, Arkansas, will not be solely one of the best within the system, it might show to be top-of-the-line within the Nationwide League. As he defined on the tail finish of final season, the pitch is his “bread-and-butter, and it has been for awhile.”
Requested for extra historical past on his go-to, Wicks advised me that it was his “premium off-speed” rising up, and that he “didn’t actually throw a curveball or a slider when [he] was youthful.” His repertoire now consists of each, in addition to a cutter and each two- and four-seam fastballs. Pitchability is one other of his property, and he will get excessive marks for his competitiveness, however once more, it’s the diving circle that earned him his first-round pedigree and has him poised to contribute to a big-league rotation.
“For him it’s at all times been concerning the changeup, and it’ll most likely proceed to be the changeup,” mentioned a scout who has watched Wicks in recent times. “He confirmed flashes of his different pitches in faculty, however he didn’t actually need to make use of far more than his fastball and his changeup. It’s a very good mixture. Whereas he’s made some tweaks to his repertoire — he’s not only a two-pitch man — even when a hitter is sitting on it, he can double or triple up on it as a result of it’s a fairly tough pitch to hit. There have been pitchers who’re profitable with only a good fastball they will find and a double-plus changeup.”
Wicks grips and delivers his signature pitch in pretty commonplace vogue. He described it as a small circle, one through which he hooks a seam along with his thumb, his thumb knocking down when he releases the ball. He doesn’t consciously pronate. Having thrown the pitch for so long as he has, that’s “simply pure at this level.”
His most-frequently-thrown pitch (29.7% in his seven outings) is handiest when it’s getting extra depth and fewer side-to-side. Wicks feels that it’s simpler for hitters to choose it up when it runs greater than ordinary, therefore his efforts to remain on prime of the ball and primarily get downward motion. That mentioned, he doesn’t view motion as its most essential attribute. Nor does he take into account optimum velocity separation from his heater to be paramount to its success.
“I believe it’s primarily the flexibility to sequence it,” opined Wicks. “The changeup is a pitch the place you may’t actually quantify what makes it good. It must be how you employ it. It must be the arm-speed. It must be the command of it. Arm-speed might be the most important factor, however you may’t simply sit at a pc and inform who has a very good changeup and who doesn’t.”
Jordan Wicks has a very good changeup.Simply ask the hitters.
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS
Jose Altuve went 17 for 34 in opposition to Félix Hernández.
Felix Fermin went 10 for 12 in opposition to Mark Guthrie.
Felix Pie went 9 for 14 in opposition to Gavin Floyd.
Felix Millan went 6 for 7 in opposition to Sammy Ellis.
Junior Felix went 5 for 9 in opposition to Hipolito Pichardo.
Jon Matlack did a reside interview over Zoom for SABR’s Oral Historical past Committee earlier this week, and the entertaining trade included his reminiscences of successful he surrendered on September 30, 1972. It was the final of Roberto Clemente’s profession, and one whose circumstances caught the then-22-year-old southpaw without warning.
“I used to be a wet-behind-the-ears rookie that didn’t know that the well-known Clemente wanted yet one more for 3,000,” admitted Matlack, who was with the New York Mets. “I used to be having a troublesome day. I walked too many guys. I’m getting beat [and] was simply attempting to get one other out… I attempted a backdoor curveball, and when it [leaves] my hand I do know it’s not going to be a strike; I’m mad at myself due to the way it got here out. Someway he rifles it one hop off the left-centerfield wall for a double. They current him with the ball at second base and I’m going, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve obtained a ballgame right here to play. Why are you giving him the ball?’ Then I see the three,000 flashing on the scoreboard. It dawned on me that I used to be going to be within the historical past books.”
The now-74-year-old West Chester, Pennsylvania native is within the historical past books for greater than only a pitch thrown to a Corridor of Famer. Matlack received NL Rookie of the 12 months with the Mets, and 4 years later he made three begins for them within the World Collection (he was the shedding pitcher in Sport 7, which noticed the Oakland Athletics seize the second of their three consecutive titles). A 3-time All-Star who additionally performed for the Texas Rangers, Matlack completed his profession with 125 wins and a 114 ERA+.
The video will probably be archived at SABR.org within the close to future.
Who has the best batting common in Texas Rangers franchise historical past (minimal 2,000 plate appearances)?
The reply may be discovered under.
SABR introduced this week that the checklist of audio system for this summer time’s nationwide conference, which will probably be held in Minneapolis from August 7-11, will embrace Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Jim Kaat, and Tony Oliva. Extra data may be discovered right here.
SABR additionally introduced a brand new panel for subsequent month’s analytics convention, which will probably be held in Phoenix from March 8-10. Moderated by Mark Simon, it should comprise Vince Gennaro, Brian Kenny, Eno Sarris, Bobby Scales, our personal Meg Rowley. Extra data may be discovered right here.
The Canadian Baseball Corridor of Fame has inducted former Toronto Blue Jays Jimmy Key and Russell Martin, in addition to Howard Birnie, Paul Godfrey, Rod Heisler, and Ashley Stephenson. The induction ceremony will probably be held on June 15 in St. Marys, Ontario.
Al McBean, a local of the Virgin Islands who pitched primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a profession that spanned the 1961-1970 seasons, died on January 31 at age 85. The fitting-hander went 15-10 as a starter in 1962, then switched to the bullpen and went 27-12 with 51 saves and a 2.29 ERA over the following three campaigns.
John Pregenzer, who made 19 pitching appearances for the San Francisco Giants in 1963-1964, additionally died on January 31, at age 91. The Burlington, Wisconsin native was on the successful finish of each of his profession choices, every coming in opposition to the Pirates in video games the place Al McBean additionally took the mound.
One more former big-leaguer to move away not too long ago is Brant Alyea, who performed for 4 groups from 1965-1972. Born Garrabrant Ryerson Alyea, in Passaic, New Jersey, the right-handed-hitting outfielder homered for the Washington Senators in his first big-league look, then went on to have his greatest season with the Minnesota Twins, logging a 144 wRC+ and 16 dingers in 1970. Alyea was 83 when he died on February 4.
The reply to the quiz is Al Oliver, who batted .319 with the Rangers from 1978-1981. Will Clark is second, having hit .307 with Texas from 1994-1998.
Corey Kluber introduced his retirement on Friday after a 13-year, injury-marred profession that included three All-Star nods, two Cy Younger Awards, and a no-hitter. These are spectacular accomplishments, and so they recall to mind these of a recent who threw his final pitch in 2016. Tim Lincecum had a 10-year, injury-marred profession that included 4 All-Star nods, two Cy Younger Awards, and two no-hitters.
Which of the right-handers was higher? I requested that query in a Twitter ballot shortly after the retirement information broke, and the outcomes have been intriguing. Lincecum obtained 57% of the 305 votes forged, whereas Kluber obtained 43%.
Did the voters get it proper? Preserving in thoughts that “higher” is considerably subjective, right here is snapshot of their numbers:
Lincecum: 270 begins, 1,682 IP, 1,736 Ks, 110-89 W-L document, 3.45 FIP. 104 ERA+.
Kluber: 260 begins, 1,641.2 IP, 1,725 Ks, 116-77 W-L document, 3.23 FIP, 122 ERA+.
Does Kluber’s clear edge in ERA maintain extra weight than an additional All-Star appearances and a second no-hitter? That’s a matter of opinion.
Sticking with Twitter polls, I ran one a number of days in the past asking which of 4 younger gamers will go on to have one of the best profession. There was no runaway winner, however there was a possible famous person garnering a scant quantity of help. Tooled-up Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz obtained simply 8.0% of the 352 votes forged.
As for the three who polled properly, NL Rookie of the 12 months Corbin Carroll got here out on prime with 37.2%, whereas AL Rookie of the 12 months Gunnar Henderson completed third with 23.3%. Sandwiched in between was Bobby Witt Jr. — he of the recently-inked $288.8M contract extension — with 31.5% of help.
Which of the proficient group would get my very own vote? I’d be inclined to go along with Witt. Predicting the long run could be a fools’s errand — well being or any variety of different components can compromise a profession — however the 23-year-old shortstop has an opportunity to sooner or later be seemed upon as top-of-the-line gamers in Kansas Metropolis Royals historical past. I wouldn’t guess in opposition to it.
Venezuela captured this yr’s Caribbean Collection, beating the Dominican Republic 3-0 in Friday’s championship recreation, which was performed in entrance of 36,677 followers in Miami. Ricardo Pinto, who was named collection MVP, went five-and-two-thirds innings for the win, whereas Hernán Pérez plated a run-scoring triple. Panama received the third-place recreation, edging Curaçao by a depend of 5-4.
Scott Radinsky will probably be managing within the Netherlands this summer time. The previous Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels pitching coach will probably be on the helm for UVV Utrecht, which performs within the Hoofdklasse, Holland’s prime league.
A random obscure former participant snapshot:
He was something however obscure throughout his taking part in days, however as his profession dates again over century there’s a fairly good likelihood you don’t find out about Larry Doyle. A second baseman who performed for the New York Giants and (briefly) the Chicago Cubs from 1907-1920, “Laughing Larry” logged a 125 wRC+ and 49.6 WAR. Furthermore, he was named NL MVP in 1912 after batting .330… and that wasn’t even his greatest statistical season. A yr earlier, Doyle batted .310 with 25 doubles, 25 triples, 13 dwelling runs, and a 152 wRC+, then in 1915 he had a 143 wRC+ to associate with a league-leading .320 batting common. The Giants performed within the World Collection every year from 1911-1913, shedding all thrice.
Blake Butera and Michael King have been teammates at Boston School for 2 seasons, and so they did extra than simply compete collectively on the baseball staff. Additionally they went head-to-head on the basketball courtroom, which regularly didn’t go properly for the now Tampa Bay Rays farm director. King, whom the San Diego Padres acquired from the New York Yankees in December as a part of the Juan Soto deal, held a definite top benefit over the athletic-but-undersized center infielder.
“He was two years behind me, and within the fall we might discover time to play pickup basketball at our observe health club,” recalled Butera, who went on to play two skilled seasons after graduating from BC. “We’d go in opposition to one another each likelihood we obtained. He was fairly good. I’m additionally 5-foot-8, so whereas I at all times thought I had an opportunity to beat him… man, I used to get so mad. There have been instances I left the health club fairly upset with Michael, not wanting to speak to him. ”
Was it largely as matter of being out-sized by the 6-foot-3 right-hander/hooper?
“That’s all I’m going to present him,” Butera mentioned of his buddy. “He might ball a little bit bit, however relating to expertise, I believe I had him beat.”
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince advised the tragic story of Dobie Moore, a forgotten Negro Leagues phenom who performed for the Kansas Metropolis Monarchs from 1920-1926 earlier than being shot within the leg by a neighbor.
Sports activities Data Options’s Mark Simons seemed on the greatest variations between pitchers’ OPS-against and anticipated OPS-against.
Jason Kanzler left the Houston Astros group to develop into the Director of Participant Improvement for the Chicago Cubs. Sahadez Sharma wrote about it for The Athletic (subscription required).
Additionally at The Athletic, Brittany Ghiroli talked to Bianca Smith, who made historical past as the primary Black girl coach in skilled baseball however has since moved on from the Purple Sox.
At The Japan Instances, Mai Yoshikawa launched us to Shiki Nakayama, a Gen Z-er in Japan who’s forging a path for ladies in baseball.
RANDOM FACTS AND STATS
Zack Greinke has logged 2,979 strikeouts and thrown 101 wild pitches. Clayton Kershaw has logged 2,944 strikeouts and thrown 101 wild pitches. Their WP totals are tied for essentially the most amongst lively pitchers.
In 1932, Washington Senators right-hander Alvin “Common” Crowder hurled a big-league greatest 327 innings and threw nary a wild pitch, nor did he hit a batter or be charged with a balk. He issued 77 free passes and went 26-13 with a 3.33 ERA.
James Karinchak threw 39 innings final yr and walked 28 batters. In 1094, Cy Younger threw 380 innings and walked 29 batters.
Jerry Reuss, Mickey Lolich, and Rick Reuschel all logged 191 losses. Their respective win totals have been 220, 217, and 214.
Félix Hernández threw 2,729-and-two-thirds innings, allowed 2,487 hits, and went 169-136 with a 117 ERA+. Hippo Vaughn threw 2,730 innings, allowed 2,461 hits, and went 178-137 with a 119 ERA+. Hernández had 25 full video games and surrendered 264 dwelling runs. Vaughn had 214 full video games and surrendered 39 dwelling runs.
Walker Cooper, an eight-time All-Star catcher within the Nineteen Forties, had seven multiple-home-run video games. One was a three-homer recreation through which he went 6-for-7 with 10 RBIs. 5 have been two-homer video games through which the second got here within the eighth inning or later and was a game-winner.
The Washington Nationals signed Adam Dunn to a free-agent contract on at the moment’s date in 2009. The Three True Outcomes legend slugged 38 dwelling runs in every of his two seasons within the nation’s capital, drawing 193 walks and hanging out 376 instances alongside the way in which.
Invoice Madlock and Bobby Murcer have been the centerpieces of a five-player commerce between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants on at the moment’s date in 1977. Madlock, who had simply received consecutive batting titles, and would later win two extra, went west. Murcer, a five-time All-Star who completed his profession with a 124 wRC+, turned a Cub.
Gamers born on at the moment’s date embrace Ben Oglivie, an outfielder who logged a 116 wRC+ and made three All-Star groups in a big-league profession that spanned the 1971-1986 seasons. The Colon, Panama native’s greatest yr was 1980 when he slugged 41 dwelling runs and put up a 147 wRC+ with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Additionally born on at the moment’s date was John Paciorek, whose three hits are essentially the most amongst fashionable period (since 1901) gamers who completed with a 1.000 batting common. The Hamtramck, Michigan native went 3-for-3 with two walks in his solely big-league recreation, with the Houston Colt .45s on September 29, 1963.