Cardinals rookie Jordan Hicks appears to have taken the title of Fastest Pitcher in Baseball
Since becoming a full-time big leaguer back in 2011, Aroldis Chapman has been the undisputed hardest thrower in baseball. The Cuban's flamethrowing dominance is such that MLB.com's Statcast leaderboard for fastest pitches has a "Chapman filter" that files out all of Chapman's hardest pitches so you can actually sort through the data. Even with the sample sized caveat, things are looking a smidge different thus far in 2018.
That's right. It's hilariously early in the 2018 season, but Cardinals rookie Jordan Hicks is challenging Chapman's claim as the hardest thrower in baseball. In his Opening Day appearance, the 21-year old Hicks became the youngest pitcher to throw a pitch 101.6 MPH or harder since Neftali Feliz chucked a heater 101.9 MPH in August of 2009.
What makes Hicks' performance all the more remarkable is that before making the big league club out of Spring Training, he had never pitched a single inning above High-A. In four appearances this year, Hicks has thrown 4 1/3 innings out of the Cardinals pen and has yet to allow a run, walking only one batter and striking out three.
It's way, way too early to give Hicks the title belt just yet: Chapman has only made three appearances and thrown only 31 pitches. But there's no doubt that Hicks' outrageously sharp cheddar makes him a legit challenger to Chapman's reign as the hardest thrower in the sport.