Ten Things That Jumped Out About Jordan Wicks Ten Strikeout Gem For South Bend Last Night

Jordan Wicks has been the focus of some recent Five Stars, but last night he was so good against the Peoria Chiefs that he deserves his own post. It was easily the best start of Wicks’ young professional career: five innings, one hit, no runs, two walks, ten strikeouts. Let’s dive deep on it.

It’s particularly fun that the Cubs’ most recent first rounder is looking like this on the eve of the 2022 MLB Draft.

Ten things for the ten strikeouts …

One: Let’s start the discussion by introducing Wicks’ pitch usage last night: 51% fastballs, 19% changeups, 17% curveballs and 11% sliders. Wicks threw a lot of fastballs in the first and fifth innings, a lot of curveballs in the second and third, and really got into a changeup groove in the final two innings.

Two: The lack of dependency on the changeup overall is allowing the pitch to play up. And boy did it play up last night. Wicks threw 15 changeups last night; five of them were taken for balls. The other ten? ALL SWINGS AND MISSES. A one hundred percent whiff rate on his most-used secondary. This is mind-boggling; I’m even going to irresponsibly suggest it’s potentially really rare.

Three: What I’ve been most impressed by with Wicks lately is the balance of the offerings. While Wicks’ early-season struggles were mostly overblown, I did find that he was a guy struggling to find a pitch mix that provided more than the sum of its parts. Last night’s ten strikeouts consisted of at least two by all four pitches, and with eight of the strikeouts, the batter saw three different pitches in the same at-bat.

Four: It’s been interesting to watch the curveball usurp the slider as his preferred breaking ball recently, as that was the opposite early in the season. The curve is not just an early-count freeze pitch, as you see so often with four-pitch guys these days, but trusted late in at-bats as well. The good news is that Wicks’ misses recently have been just bouncing it too early; he snaps it off well enough to not hang it.

Five: All that said, Wicks’ best breaking ball execution was the best back foot slider of his career that ended the third inning. This is the pitch that threatens to make Wicks unstoppable.

Six: First pitch strikes to 12 of 18 batters last night, including a first pitch strike with each of his four pitches in the third inning. He’s so dangerous when ahead in the count; it really feels like the confidence grows as an at-bat goes on. Wicks also seems to have really benefited from a decision to pitch faster – he’s now one of the quickest between pitches in the system – and the Peoria broadcast crew noted many times how different it seemed than in the past.

Seven: Insanely good contact management in this one, as only six balls were put into play, four of which were infield fly outs. Besides that, Wicks allowed one sharply hit single on a ground ball down the line and a lazy fly out to center. The lack of balls in play means that he didn’t bring his season BABIP number down much: it still stands an absurd, and almost-certainly-unearned, .363.

Eight: That soft contact also meant that only one batter reached second base all game against him, and that was the result of a fielding mistake. With two outs in the fifth, catcher Casey Opitz easily threw out a baserunner … except the ball hopped out of Yeison Santana’s glove when the runner’s foot hit it directly. (A note that I thought Opitz was really fantastic behind the dish last night and deserves a modicum of credit for Jordan’s success.)

Nine: The caught-stealing-that-wasn’t did allow Wicks to reach back and throw 95 mph on his second-to-last pitch of the game, before finishing it up with a changeup for a strikeout. We’ve seen 95 and 96 on stadium guns during the fifth of his last two starts, which is huge. Don’t assume that because Wicks was described as a “polished college pitcher” that he can’t add velocity — the same was once said about Keegan Thompson. Modern baseball has the ability to squeeze extra miles per hour out of any pitcher, it seems, especially for people as hard-working as Jordan.

Ten: Let me finish this up speaking plainly: it’s time for Jordan Wicks to head to Double-A. The numbers since May 7: 52.1 IP, 48 H, 3.10 ERA, 13 BB, 67 K. Broadcaster Max Thoma points out that if the official scorer in Dayton hadn’t made a mistake in early June, that ERA would be 2.41, and that’s with a still-high .344 BABIP.

When you neutralize the luck statistics, you’re left with a guy striking out a third of the batters he faces, walking almost no one, executing four pitches routinely, and pitching at the peak velocity of his life.

That combination belongs in Tennessee.

written by

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.

more cubs news

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 4, Rays 3 – June 12, 2024

The Cubs don't "win" games anymore. They survive them. So it was tonight, with Hector Neris called upon to close out the game again, after last night's fiasco. His pitches generally fell into two categories, either noncompetitive balls or absolute...

Cody Bellinger Gives the Cubs the Lead with a Three-Run Home Run!

THAT is the kind of big swing the Cubs needed with runners on base. Take any kind of batted ball luck out of the equation by just sending the ball to the seats. Cody Bellinger gives the Cubs the lead:...

Seiya Suzuki Sends One Out to Center

Need the guys who are here to supply power to, you know, supply power. So it was good to see Seiya Suzuki get into one. This fourth inning blast tied the game up (for now): https://twitter.com/WatchMarquee/status/1801037668530167867 https://twitter.com/Taylor_McGregor/status/1801037333396853052

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Rays (5:50 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — If you aren't going to beat the Cardinals and Reds and Rays, who are you going to beat, exactly? At least Craig Counsell is significantly shaking up the lineup tonight. This is one hell of a different...

The Cubs Have Signed Jorge Lopez – Yes, That Jorge Lopez

Even as he was being punted quickly from the New York Mets organization following the glove-throwing incident, it wasn't clear that pitcher Jorge Lopez was done pitching this year. After all, the 31-year-old reliever had a long big league track...

Chicago Cubs 1st Round Mock Draft: Exploring Potential Picks

The Chicago Cubs are set to make their first-round selection in the 2024 MLB Draft with the 14th overall selection. Oct 1, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts (R) smiles next to Chicago Cubs President of Baseball...

Owen Caissie Just Hit a Monster 10th Inning Home Run (And Then Other Stuff Happened)

If the big league Cubs aren't going to supply us with many thrilling moments, at least the prospects can step up. This afternoon, the Iowa Cubs had played the Columbus Clippers to a 1-1 tie in regulation. In the top...

MLBits: Aaron Judge’s Hot Streak, Paul Skenes Standing O, Cubs Need a Spark, More

MLB Notes — Aaron Judge was incredible in May, hitting .361/.479/.918 with 14 home runs in 97 at-bats for the Yankees. He helped New York post a 21-5 record in May, taking them to the top of the American League...

My Reaction on Some of Jed Hoyer’s Comments Today — Offense, Potential for Trades, Internal Improvements, More

This morning, Jed Hoyer joined Mully and Haugh on 670 The Score to talk about his team and where things are headed. The conversation (which you can catch in full at the bottom of this post) was mostly a collection...

Something Has to Change, and I Have Some Suggestions

Last night, the Chicago Cubs lost the way they always lose this season: No timely hitting (1-7 w/ RISP) + a bullpen meltdown (3.0 IP, 4H, 5ER, 3BB, 4K). Only the Chicago White Sox have more blown saves than the...

Latest News

Mets vs. Marlins: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 13

The New York Mets (29-37) and Miami Marlins (23-44) will clash on Thursday at Citi Field, starting at 7:10 PM ET.Hoping to find out who's available to play for the Mets and the Marlins? Keep reading to see full injury...

Phillies vs. Red Sox: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 13

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox (34-34) are hosting the Philadelphia Phillies (46-21), at 7:10 PM ET, in the final game of a three-game series.Curious about who's available to play for the Phillies and the Red Sox? Keep reading for...

Seattle Storm vs. Dallas Wings: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Dallas Wings (3-7) will look to Arike Ogunbowale (second in WNBA, 26.4 points per game) when they attempt to knock off Jewell Loyd (fifth in league, 20.3) and the Seattle Storm (8-4) on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at College...

Atlanta Dream vs. Indiana Fever: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Atlanta Dream (5-5) take on the Indiana Fever (3-10) on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 7:00 PM ET. The matchup airs on ESPN3, WTHR-13, and Peachtree TV.Watch the WNBA all season long on Fubo!How to Watch Dream vs. FeverGame...

Dream vs Fever Prediction: Picks, Live Odds & Moneyline – June 13

The Atlanta Dream (5-5) battle the Indiana Fever (3-10) on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 7:00 PM ET. The matchup airs on ESPN3, WTHR-13, and Peachtree TV.Dream vs. Fever Prediction & OddsFavorite: Dream (-2.5)Total: 162.5Dream Moneyline: -135Fever Moneyline: +114Spread Prediction:...

Storm vs Wings Prediction: Picks, Live Odds & Moneyline – June 13

Arike Ogunbowale and the Dallas Wings (3-7) face Jewell Loyd and the Seattle Storm (8-4) on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at College Park Center. The matchup begins at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.Storm vs. Wings Prediction & OddsFavorite: Storm (-6.5)Total:...

How to Watch Dodgers vs. Rangers: Live Stream or on TV

The Los Angeles Dodgers (42-26), led by Mookie Betts, host Marcus Semien and the Texas Rangers (31-35) on Thursday at 10:10 PM ET.Keep scrolling to find out all the details on how to watch Los Angeles square off against Texas...

2024 Kamilla Cardoso Stats – Chicago Sky

Kamilla Cardoso and the Chicago Sky will play the Washington Mystics at 7:30 PM ET on Friday. Looking for Cardoso's stats? Here's everything you need to know about the South Carolina product.Watch the WNBA all season long on Fubo!Kamilla Cardoso...

Diamondbacks vs. Angels: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Thursday, looking for a series sweep, Ketel Marte and the Arizona Diamondbacks (32-35) face the Los Angeles Angels (25-41), with first pitch scheduled for 9:40 PM ET at Chase Field.See how to watch the Arizona-Los Angeles matchup below.When is...

Twins vs. Athletics: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Minnesota Twins (36-32), who will give the ball to Joe Ryan, host the Oakland Athletics (26-44) with Luis Medina on the hill, Thursday at 7:40 PM ET.If you're trying to watch this game, keep reading for TV and streaming...

more cubs news