The timing here feels fun, what with Jordan Wicks being the Cubs’ most recent first round pick, and the newest first round pick arriving this weekend. The 22-year-old lefty is headed up to Double-A Tennessee.
As first spotted by Todd Johnson, Wicks is now officially on the Tennessee roster:
Wicks is one of the best pitching prospects in the Cubs’ farm system, and has seen his results at High-A South Bend tend sharply upward the last couple months. The Cubs were having Wicks work on his breaking pitches and his velocity at South Bend, rather than just letting him carve up less-polished hitters with his superlative fastball-changeup mix. That work, coupled with some absurd BABIP luck early on, had his numbers looking down to folks who didn’t know what was going on.
It seems like it all really came together in his last three starts, all of which were dominant, and the most recent of which screamed, “Yeah, I’m ready for Double-A.” If you hadn’t seen it yet, Bryan broke down that outing in detail, and earlier today ranked Wicks the 7th best prospect in the Cubs’ increasingly deep system.
Wicks officially leaves his time at South Bend with a 3.65 ERA over 16 starts (66.2 IP). But his FIP is just 2.85, his strikeout rate is 30.6%, his walk rate is 6.0%, and his HR/9 is just 0.68. He was very clearly so much better than that ERA.
The promotion to Double-A, likely for the rest of the season and in limited innings, will set Wicks up to open 2023 back at Double-A Tennessee, with an eye on Iowa and the big league team in the second half if things keep clicking. While I don’t want to go too far in counting any chickens, I do like the way the Cubs seemed to approach Wicks’ development. It seems like he COULD have really quickly risen to Tennessee and gotten hitters out, but he wouldn’t have been the best version of himself. Here’s hoping that kind of methodical development process continues.