“In my heart, the starting pitcher always…” Lee Jung-hoo’s fellow 169km fireballer finally made his wish come true

Jordan Hicks (28), a “fireballer” who is sharing a room with Lee Jung-hoo (26) of the San Francisco Giants, will make a fresh start as a starting pitcher. He has fulfilled his long-cherished wish.

San Francisco officially announced the contract with FA right-hander Hicks on the 19th (Korea Standard Time). With a four-year guarantee of 44 million dollars, he will receive a down payment of 2 million dollars, an annual salary of 6 million dollars this year and 12 million dollars each from 2025 to 2027. Depending on the number of innings pitched, he can also receive annual incentives of up to 2 million dollars.헤라카지노주소

He has spent most of his career in the bullpen, but the San Francisco Giants uses Hicks as the starting pitcher. According to local news reports including “MLB.com ,” San Francisco President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said, “I’ve seen Hicks evolve into a pitcher and get better as I’ve followed his career. We believe Hicks has the right elements as a starting pitcher.”

Hicks, who made his big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018, had a total of 212 games (eight starts, 243 ⅓ innings), 11 wins, 21 losses, 32 saves, 51 holds, and an ERA of 3.85 strikeouts in five seasons until last year. Since Statcast’s measurement in 2008, Hicks has been a fireballer who twice sprayed right-handed pitchers with speeds of up to 105 miles (169.0 kilometers) and boasts strong pitching.

Last year, he played in 65 games (65 ⅔ innings) with three wins, nine losses, 12 saves and 13 holds with an ERA of 3.29 strikeouts for two teams with the St. Louis and Toronto Blue Jays in a trade during the season. He has certainly proven himself as a bullpen pitcher.

However, he has a short career as a starting pitcher. He started eight games during the early days of this season when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022, but fell short of expectations. He had four losses without a win and an earned run average of 5.47. He played just one game over five innings. Like many fireballers, he lacked the capacity to lead a long inning as a starting pitcher due to unstable ball control and increased number of pitches.

However, Hicks did not give up on his dream as a starting pitcher. San Francisco Giants, which aimed to strengthen its starting depth, decided to give Hicks a chance to start after seeing Hicks’ potential. “Our goal has always been to have a starting pitcher who can throw as many innings as possible,” Zaidi said. “I want to make it clear that we see Hicks as a traditional starter. As a starting pitcher, we need to keep checking how he feels about increasing pitch volume, but we believe he can start. It will be a driving force that gives stability to our starting lineup.”

There are not many cases in which a relief pitcher has been replaced as a starting pitcher. San Francisco manager Bob Melvin, however, saw successful cases as the San Diego Padres coach last year. Seth Lugo, who started 38 out of 275 games for the New York Mets over the past seven years, moved to the FA last year and successfully played the full-time starting season. He successfully transferred to the team as a relief pitcher by posting eight wins, seven losses and an earned run average of 3.457 strikeouts in 26 games (146 ⅓ innings). After this season, he became a free agent again and signed a three-year, 45 million-dollar contract with the Kansas City Royals, receiving favorable treatment.

Melvin said, “The mindset has a big impact. Lugo didn’t want to talk about the innings or the number of pitches he pitched. “Now that I’m a starter, I’ll start as a starter. That’s who I am,” he said. “I got a calf injury, but I was more productive than any other starter,” he said. “If it’s the motivation and mindset that Hicks has, he will fit well as a starter.”

“In my heart, I always wanted to be a starting pitcher. That was my goal. Now I’m ready to start, and I’m ready to show what I can do. I’m excited just to have the chance to play many innings,” Hicks said. Another positive factor for Hicks is that he struck out 12 in eight innings in four games and posted a 3.38 ERA in his team’s home stadium, Oracle Park. He was the only starter who pitched five innings in an away game at Oracle Park on May 14, 2022 (three runs in five innings). “That was the main reason I wanted to come here. I felt it was a good place to pitch even when I came to the opposing team,” Hicks said, confident of his successful transformation as a starting pitcher at Oracle Park.

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