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Cardinals pitcher may have overtaken Aroldis Chapman as MLB's hardest thrower

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

If you’re not familiar with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks, now might be a good time to brush up. The rookie right-hander has come out of the gate this season throwing nothing but blazing fastballs, and so far anyway it appears he’s prepared to take the crown as Major League Baseball’s hardest throwing pitcher.

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According to MLB’s Statcast leaderboard, Hicks enters play on Saturday with the eight fastest pitches recorded this season. Those pitches all ranged from 100.8 mph to 101.6.

We’re used to seeing Aroldis Chapman’s name dominate the top spots on that list. The New York Yankees closer is the next name we see with a 100.8 mph fastball of his own. But right now it’s Hicks who’s dominating with his variety of two-seam fastballs, four-seam fastballs and sinkers. All three pitches have been clocked at 100 mph.

It’s worth noting that Chapman was dialing up 102 mph as recently as October. He’s routinely hit that number during his career, and at times has gone even higher. In other words, it might only be a matter of time before he challenges Hicks. That night wasn’t Friday though as Chapman never topped 100 mph in his one inning against the Orioles.

Cardinals rookie pitcher Jordan Hicks (left) is threatening to take Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman’s crown as MLB’s hardest thrower. (AP Photos)

Chapman, of course, is among the game’s most successful closers currently. Hicks is still carving out his role. Right now St. Louis has him in the bullpen. He’s appeared in four games and thrown 4.1 scoreless innings. He’s struck out three, walked one and allowed two hits.

Hicks was drafted in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He’s appeared in 34 minor league games, with 31 coming as a starter. It’s expected that will be his role eventually in the major leagues, but the Cardinals are just happy to have his dynamic arm available.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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