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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. 

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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.

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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.

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