Jordan Hicks, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. among the youthful MLB surge



There is a theoretical limit in the human arm, a point at which a ligament or muscle or tendon or bone will burn under the stress and tension of throwing a baseball. While that exists only in the abstract, there is always the possibility of seeing something like 43,560 fans did on Sunday in St. Louis: the most difficult pitch ever.

Now it's not at all clear whether the 105.1-mile-per-hour fastball straight St Louis Cardinals rookie Jordan Hicks pitched against Philadelphia Phillies star Odubel Herrera deserves that title. The system that tracks such things differs from those that stated that Aroldis Chapman reached 105.1 in launches in 2011 and 2016. And then there are the years before the camera and radar where Nolan Ryan and Steve Dalkowski and Bob Feller and Bullet Rogan and Walter Johnson can claim your claim.

<p type = "text" content = "Whenever you believe in the fidelity of the Statcast system, and since your computational elements are in black, trust that the tenth of a mile per hour makes it take a small step faith – it is quite safe to say that Hicks, 21, had the appearance on the toughest plate in history.That 105.1, which Herrera committed a foul, was the fourth pitch he saw, the first one leaving his hand at 104.2 mph. The second, perhaps the most impressive of all, moved away from the glove of receiver Francisco Peña, as guided by a demonic spirit at 105 mph, Hicks intercepted 104.3 and 103.7 around the scoreboard. " data-reactid = "19"> Whenever you believe in the fidelity of the Statcast system, and given that its computational elements are in a black box, trusting it to the tenth of a mile per hour is a small act of faith: it is enough Surely affirms that Hicks, of 21 years, yes had the appearance of plate with the hardest shot of the history. That 105.1, which Herrera committed a foul, was the fourth pitch he saw. The first one left his hand at 104.2 mph. The second, perhaps the most impressive of all, moved away from the glove of receiver Francisco Peña, as guided by a demonic spirit at 105 mph. Hicks interbed 104.3 and 103.7 around the scoreboard.

This is baseball in 2018. Everyone pulls hard. While the gold standard of tone interpretation, Brooks Baseball, had not yet fully specified its algorithm in Hicks' releases, its initial reading was 106.1 mph, although its owner, Dan Brooks, warned that one day expect the verdict true of the site: a look at your speed markers tells an incredible story.

Reaching Sunday, 373 pitchers pitched at least 50 fast four-seam balls this season, according to Brooks Baseball. Only 21 had an average fast ball below 90 mph. Nearly 95 percent of pitchers, 90 and more. Almost a full third – 123 of 373 – averages 95 mph or better, according to Brooks' calculations. Every day is more true: if you do not throw 95, you have two options. Whether you discover how or how good you are at something else – command, launch, movement – that teams can not ignore it.

Because every day there is someone new who goes up and breathes fire. If it's not Seranthony Dominguez with the Phillies, it's Justin Anderson with the Los Angeles Angels. If it's not Lou Trivino with the Oakland A's, it's Reyes Moronta with the San Francisco Giants or Justin Hanbad with the Chicago Cubs. Five rookies All sit in 98 or 99. What somehow feels slow when …

<p type = "text" content = " 1. Jordan Hicks is redefining what can be being a strong pitching pitcher, the Cardinals took him in the 2015 draft – with, of course, the 105th election – he has tormented the organization with his athleticism. data-reactid = "43"> 1. Jordan Hicks is redefining what can be a difficult pitching pitcher. Since the Cardinals chose him in the 2015 draft – with, naturally, the 105th pick – he has tormented the organization with his athleticism. Nobody saw this.

Even with a speed jump last season, which Hicks spent on Low-A and High-A, the prospect of him doing much more than spending this season rounding his arsenal to remain a starting pitcher seemed far-fetched. Then he went out in spring training with triple-digits and forced the Cardinals to be part of his opening bullpen.

And he's been excellent, with a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings, although Hicks might be the biggest curiosity in baseball, and not because the world wonders how a 6-foot-and-185-pound right-hander can pull stronger than anyone in history. No, it's because right now, this era of baseball where hitting the boys is easier than ever, Jordan Hicks, the one on the 105-mph fastball, has the strikeout rate 235 of the 236 pitchers with at least 20 innings. He has struck out nine hitters – and walked 16. By Sunday, Hicks had thrown 22 slots and generated swings and faults in only 20, according to Brooks.

Seeing that its average speed is over 100 mph, Hicks & two- Seamer has the potential to be the rare terrain of swing and miss. (See: Zach Britton's Plumper.) For now, it's something to eat with your eyes. The Major League version of what …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making the minor leagues: On May 1, I wrote a column suggesting that the Toronto Blue Jays bring Guerrero to the majors right away. in the 19 games since then he's hit .466 / .500 / .822 with six homers, 20 RBIs, 20 runs and five strikeouts in 82 plate appearances in Double-A. " data-reactid = "51"> 2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is doing in the minor leagues. On May 1, I wrote a column suggesting that the Toronto Blue Jays take Guerrero to the majors immediately. Everything he's done in all 19 games since he hit .466 / .500 / .822 with six homers, 20 RBIs, 20 runs and five strikeouts in 82 plate appearances in Double-A.

By the way, it turned 19 in March.

If that sourned the notion of Guerrero's preparation for the big leagues, well, that would be nothing more than aging. Because Guerrero, son of a Hall of Famer, son of something else for pitchers, is not only ready to hit the big leagues now. He would be a good Major League hitter today.

No matter how much the Blue Jays rationalize the decision to keep Guerrero defeated, the logic falls apart. Do you want to improve your defense at third base and do not see him get representatives with Josh Donaldson already in Toronto? The truth is that Guerrero's ability to remain in third place already faces significant skeptics within the organization, and using him as a designated hitter this season could facilitate a positional transition without having to learn on the fly. Do you want me to face triple-A pitching first? Well, what is he doing in Double-A, where he has launched two pitchers flambé now?

General manager Ross Atkins told Sportsnet this week that "where we are in the rankings will not really have a significant influence." because we always want the best possible team in the field. "Which is funny, because Atkins' arguments in favor of keeping Guerrero defeated – that the team wants him to become an elite fielder (not) and an elite partner ( players almost universally agree that they learn to be big leagues in the big leagues) – they have nothing to do with what they would do on the field in 2018, which is a success.

Look, maybe the Blue Jays have an excuse perfectly reasonable to keep Kendrys Morales and his .163 / .248 / .279 line in DH, while one of the best batting prospects in decades goes crazy in the minor leagues.They may fear what DHing will do to his psyche , even if some kind of psyche is needed to destroy Double-A at 19. Or maybe they're just hoping to beat the Super 2 cutoff date of around June 1 to keep Vlad Jr. qualifying for an additional year of arbitration and harvest the $ 10- $ 15 mill ones that could come with him.

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Now that is cynical … although when all explanations defy logic, it tends to engender cynicism … It's not as if the Washington Nationals hesitated to summon … "data-reactid =" 57 "> Now that is cynical … although when all explanations defy logic, it tends to breed cynicism. It's not as if Washington Nationals hesitated to call …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 3. Juan Soto when Howie Kendrick fell with a tear in the Achilles heel and left the Nationals with a dangerous lack of depth in the gardens." Seven weeks ago, Soto, 19, I was in Baja R. Now, I could get most of the at-bats in left field for a National League contender. " data-reactid = "58"> 3. Juan Soto when Howie Kendrick fell with an Achilles tear and left the Nationals with a dangerous lack of depth in the gardens. Seven weeks ago, Soto, 19, was in low-A. Now, he could get most of the at-bats in left field for a National League contender.

Okay, the calculation for the Nationals is not as opaque as the Blue Jays: Washington is all-in in 2018 and with the injuries of Kendrick and center fielder Adam Eaton and the best prospects Victor Robles and Brian Goodwin and Rafael Bautista and even Triple A Alejandro de Aza, the Nationals resorted to his most talented option, even if he has only 500 appearances on the plate. his career.

Washington Nationals prospect Juan Soto has just made his MLB debut at age 19. (AP)

Soto has an incredibly pure left foot, the kind that allowed his Low-A-To-High-A-Double-A to jump without losing the pace. In 39 minor league games this season, he dropped .362 / .462 / .757, hit 14 homers and towed 52. At age 19, 207 days old, Soto became the youngest player in baseball to debut from that his teammate, Bryce Harper, who in 2012 was 19 years old, 195 days.

If you're noticing a pattern, yes, these 10 Degrees are about the uber-youth of baseball, their series of 21 and under makes waves in 2018. And no team embodies that much like the Atlanta Braves, they have. ..

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 4. Ronald Acuña Ozzie Albies and Luiz Gohara on his list (and Mike Soroka on the disabled list.) They are not the youngest team in baseball – the braggarts Peter Moylan (39) and Nick Markakis, Brandon McCarthy and Kurt Suzuki (34) make up for it – the Braves are the biggest surprise, and their resurgence is not driven only by their incredible young talent but the reality that they are even more on the cusp of the big leagues ". data-reactid = "82"> 4. Ronald Acuña Ozzie Albies and Luiz Gohara on his list (and Mike Soroka on the disabled list ). They are not the youngest team in baseball – fans Peter Moylan (39) and Nick Markakis, Brandon McCarthy and Kurt Suzuki (34) make up for it – the Braves are the biggest surprise, and their resurgence is not driven just by their incredible youngsters talents but the reality that even more is at the top of the big leagues.

It's enough that they have Acuña, who will play all season at 20, OPS close to .800 and showing flashes of future type MVP talent. And they have Albies, 21 years old, and they are already doing things like MVP. Gohara looks like CC Sabathia 2.0: lefty, strong and armed with a big fastball and a big slider.

If he fights or gets hurt, left-hander Kolby Allard will face Triple-A, with a 2.02 ERA in eight starts. He's 20. And if not Allard, maybe Bryse Wilson, who jumped into Double-A a few weeks ago and on two levels has a 1.28 ERA. He is also 20 years old.

All the excitement about the Braves in recent years turned out to be more than justified, and the odds that the set of 21 lesser players have an even deeper impact this summer increase with each swing …

< p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 5. Austin Riley takes. the last beneficiary of Atlanta's aggression with his prospects, a second-round pick in 2015, crushed the rookie ball, jumped into full-season ball the following year, thrived in Double-A last season and now at 21 is in the top of the big leagues, their numbers there, by eliminating a game of three home runs and eight runs a week ago, are not so spectacular, but then, the existence of a game of three homers and eight runs batted in and on same should serve as at least a crumb proof that Riley is the product ". data-reactid = "90"> 5. Austin Riley takes. He is the ultimate beneficiary of Atlanta's aggressiveness with his prospects. A second-round pick in 2015, crushed the rookie ball, jumped into the full-season ball the following year, thrived at Double-A last season and now with 21 is at the top of the big leagues. Their numbers there, by eliminating a game of three home runs and eight runs batted in a week ago, are not that spectacular. But then the existence of a game of three home runs and eight runs propelled in itself should serve at least a crumb proof that Riley is the product.

If you have the opportunity, it depends mostly on how Johan Camargo, who the Braves as more than a utility, acts as the all-time third baseman after the release on Sunday of Jose Bautista.

(A quick aside: if this is the end of Bautista's career after a .143 / .250 / .343 show in 12 games, it will be one of the most unlikely escalations in the history of baseball. 20-round selection up to a selection of Rule 5 that played in five teams in 2004 to a star with the Blue Jays, Bautista incarnated the Blue Jays & # 39; The rise of mediocrity east of the American League to the contender. de bat is iconic and his 333 career home runs show that even those who are in their thirties can still make memorable and highly productive lives in the sport.)

If Camargo sticks, he offers the Braves a world of possibilities with Riley as an exchange chip. Each sales team would backflips for him, just as they did when the Cubs last season made …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt ( 0.8em)) – sm "type =" text "content =" 6. Eloy Jiménez available, it was against the Chicago White Sox last season as the centerpiece of Jose Quintana's trade, and everything what he did since he was beaten and consolidate as the best prospect in the minor leagues, division not Vlad. " data-reactid = "94"> 6. Eloy Jiménez available. He went to the Chicago White Sox last season as the centerpiece of Jose Quintana's trade, and everything he's done since being beaten and consolidated as the best prospect in the minor leagues, division no Vlad.

With a 6-for-7 weekend, the 21-year-old, Jiménez, exceeded his season line in Double-A to .331 / .364 / .595, and although his arrival at the South Side did not is imminent, the current outfit duo of the White Sox of the White Sox Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka are not exactly in the way of their arrival. The White Sox have scored the second-lowest number of runs in the majors.

At the same time, his general horror does not demand a promotion from Jiménez. They are bad They will continue to be bad. The desire of a bad team to set aside a player after the Super 2 deadline is prudent. Once that happens within the next two weeks, of course, the reasons for keeping a player like Jiménez down tend to erode. It's ready to do what …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 7. Gleyber Torres his teammate in the 2013 Cubs international boffo signing clbad, has already done so: to prove that he is more than worthy of a major league daily job, Torres, 21, is the second base of the Yankees, and will not give up that concert soon. " data-reactid = "97"> 7. Gleyber Torres his clbadmate in the boffo international signatures clbad of 2013 of the Cubs, he has already done it: demonstrate that he is more than worthy of a daily work of big leagues. Torres, 21, is the second baseman of the Yankees daily and will not leave that post soon.

Since his debut on April 22, Torres is hitting .309 / .374 / .494 with four homers and 13 RBIs. The Yankees continue to hit him ninth most days, which will relax him to an eventual place in … maybe the best in the lineup? With Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez in the mix, it's not that the middle of the order is begging for more hits.

This is just one of the things that makes the Yankees scared. They are playing rookies in three quarters of their picture. They can place a player in the middle frame with opposing field power at the bottom of their lineup. They are in a 113-49 rhythm that shows few signs of yielding. The Boston Red Sox are excellent in their own right, and the Houston Astros have a pitching staff that has allowed 123 runs in 48 games, the smallest amount since 1968, when the mound was 5 inches higher, and throwing Yankees in the mix, and the three best teams in baseball reside in the American League.

So do four teams on the road for more than 100 losses, three of them for more than 110. That one of those not the Detroit Tigers is something of a surprise at the beginning of the season, and even better, the Tigers will soon have their choice between …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8 ms) – sm" type = "text" content = " 8. Casey Mize Alec Bohm and Joey Bart with the first pick in the draft on June 4. Everyone is 21 years old, and although none will be found in the Major leagues this year, the upper end of the first round is expected to have a particularly heavy bias for the university, and that could lead to a few shooting into the majors quickly. " data-reactid = "105"> 8. Casey Mize Alec Bohm and Joey Bart with the first draft pick on June 4. Everyone is 21 years old, and although none will be in the big leagues this year, the upper end of the first round is expected to have a particularly strong bias in college, and that could lead some into the big leagues quickly.

Mize is the big favorite to be the first in general. A right from Auburn, dazzled the scouts at the start of the season and softened questions about arm problems that led him to leave the US team last summer. In 178 2/3 innings over the last two seasons, Mize of 6 & # 39; 3 feet and 220 pounds has struck out 242 and has 19 walks, and his two-fingered fastball is the best draft release: a barbiturate baseball, if you will.

They could go with Bohm, a monstrous third baseman from Wichita State in the cast of Kris Bryant, or Bart, a big body and body receiver from Georgia Tech, or maybe another player who will sign under the slot and will allow the Tigers to seek better talent with later selections. Those who choose, Detroit can only hope that it arrives with the type of impact …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " 9. Alex Reyes did it at age 21. Apologies for cheating – Reyes now has 23 – but what he has done this year, and what he presages, deserved to be be highlighted. " data-reactid = "108"> 9. Alex Reyes did it at 21 years old. Apologies for cheating – Reyes now has 23 – but what he has done this year, and what he augurs, deserved to be highlighted.

In 2016, Reyes debuted for the St. Louis Cardinals after a unique trip to the big leagues. He grew up in New Jersey, but he could not afford to attend the showcases so essential for American amateur talent. Then he moved to the Dominican Republic, where he lived with his grandmothers. His speed jumped in the mid-90s, and the Cardinals hired him for almost $ 1 million at age 18, a rarity in Latin America, where the best players are picked up at 16.

St. Louis Cardinals starter Alex Reyes throws sparks in his 2016 debut season. He's in the minors under repair for Tommy John's surgery, but I hope he returns to MLB soon. (AP Photo / Jeff Roberson, File)

Reyes added another 5 mph to his straight and regularly touched 100 when he attacked St. Louis and had a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings. The following spring, his elbow began to bark and required Tommy John's surgery. Fifteen months later, he has returned to the minor leagues, unmarked in more than 16 innings in which he has struck out 31. Nor do the Cardinals need to rush him: even with Adam Wainwright out and Carlos Martinez on the disabled list, they are getting a job excellent of Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha and Luke Weaver. Dakota Hudson's lead is handing out Triple-A batsmen. Austin Gomber is an option. John Gant is completing himself admirably.

At a time when the Tampa Bay Rays are demonstrating the fungibility of traditional starters, professional reliever Sergio Romo started his two weekend games against the Angels, the Cup of the Cardinals is over. That does not exactly address an offense whose OPS is just .700 or a bullpen that is still trying to find its balance, but it's enough to allow the mbades to be left speechless …

<p clbad = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type =" text "content =" 10. Jordan Hicks and at least one sweet moment extinguishes the conflagration of anger over the movements of Mike Matheny, the manager of a St. Louis manager, say this to Matheny: he was not afraid to put a 21-year-old without a past Clbad A entry in high-leverage situations. " data-reactid = "132"> 10. Jordan Hicks and at least one sweet moment extinguishes the conflagration of anger by the movements of Mike Matheny, the human dartboard of St. Louis of a manager. I gave a lot for Matheny: I was not afraid to put a 21-year-old without a past Clbad A turn in high-leverage situations.

Hicks has rewarded him, and in a season with so many exciting 21-and-unders Soto, Acuña, Albies, Gohara, Soroka and Torres, not to mention Boston's third baseman, Rafael Devers, and the Angels, Jaime Barria , perhaps the best pitcher in Panama that will debut this century, the one that launches 105 is defending his. 19659038] In fact, after the demonic version of 105 moved away from Pena, the relief of the Phillies and the remarkable collector of memories Pat Neshek immediately called dibs about it. This was a piece of history, and he wanted it. Once he got the ball, he took it to the authenticator on the site so he could register it and add a holographic tag. Maybe it will be worth something.

Or maybe next time, Hicks will throw 105.2. O 105.3. Or 106. At this point, it's impossible to know how difficult it can throw, and the Cardinals are not willing to notice, afraid that Hicks can focus too much on the radar gun. Although it may have been a strange kind of abnormal – none of his other Sunday releases exceeded 102.5 mph – the warmer weather tends to increase speed. Maybe, too, he'll get something else out of Chapman.

Before Sunday, he had launched the toughest launch of the season: a Taser of 103.3 mph for Jackie Bradley Jr.'s bodyguard. Of the 50 fastest this season, only 19 belong to him. Hicks is now 30. (Congratulations, Tayron Guerrero of the Miami Marlins, for deciphering a group that seemed destined to be binary with a straight line of 101.8 miles per hour.)

For the first time in his career, Chapman has not only a legitimate challenger to his title of man most thrown in history, but perhaps a winner. Jordan Hicks, 21, now owner of the hardest hit ever thrown, comes by the register, ligaments and muscles and tendons and bones arranged.

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