With a significant injury to Jack Flaherty, which will have the Cardinals’ would-be ace out for an undetermined length of time, St. Louis had a spot to fill in its rotation. But the way they are filling it is not something I saw coming.
Even with Alex Reyes also out for a long time (and thus impacting the bullpen), the new fifth starter is coming out of the bullpen: fireballer Jordan Hicks.
Jordan Hicks will be the #STLCards No. 5 starter.
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) April 6, 2022
You are correct to note immediately that Hicks has been, exclusively, a reliever in his big league career. Moreover, while he did make starts in the minor leagues, they were (1) nearly five years ago, (2) no higher than High-A, and (3) generally all quite short. So, yeah, this is kinda wild.
Hicks, who missed half of the 2019 season, the pandemic season, and all but 10 innings last year after Tommy John surgery, has absolutely enormous stuff for the eyeballs. It has yet to translate to consistent elite success in the big leagues, but it’s pretty hard to know how to project him from here given the surgery and so much missed time, and the fact that he was plucked straight from High-A for the big league bullpen before the 2018 season. You could tell me he’s about to be a five-inning stud starter (hard to see him having length beyond that, especially this season), or you could tell me the Cardinals are just trying to make sure they get two-ish innings out of him every turn through the rotation (and the results will be mixed). In either case, I’d believe you.
I will be very interested to see how this goes, both because of the obvious potential impact on the NL Central, and also out of sheer curiosity.