Markevian “Tink” Hence has continuously shown the stuff of an ACE of a pitching staff. Just a few days after Hence was lights out in his first Double-A Springfield outing, throwing five innings of five-strikeout ball, the powerful mound marauder was lighting it up in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Seattle.
Hence got the start for the National League, in the game that features best of the Minor Leagues in the country. He topped out with a 98.9-mph fastball which struck out a batter, and while allowing no runs, and surrendering just one hit and a walk. Hence showed great command and pitch velocity, two things that have everyone believing he’ll man one of the five starting rotation spots for the Cardinals next season.
Following his great back-to-back showings, Hence spoke with FOX 16, telling them this.
“Just going out and competing,” Hence told FOX 16. “I feel like if I go out and compete and have fun, whether I do bad or get the results I want, I’m going to continue to grow and one day I’ll be in St. Louis.”
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Hence Doesn’t Let Pressure Of Being Cards No.2 Prospect Bother Him
One would probably think that when you’re the second-ranked prospect of a historic franchise like the Cardinals you’d feel some major pressure. But, Hence is the complete opposite, in fact, he’s about as cool as the other side of the pillow (Stuart Scott) voice. That’s what makes him so special, the hurler plays and carries himself with such a maturity.
“I try not to really think about it,” Hence said. “I just go out and have fun. Each game, I go out, I look at it as a new game. Just me showing what I got again.”
The Arkansas Pine Bluff Native Says He Does It For His State And City
Hailing from Razorback country, down in Arkansas, Hence has the unwavering support of his hometown, Pine Bluff where he starred at Watson Chapel. The former Razorbacks signee was drafted and turned pro at 17, and in three years he’s put himself in prime position to make the majors. Home means everything to him, and that’s who he says he does it for.
“It’s really special for me, for my family, for the city,” Hence said. “They’ve been pushing for me ever since I was about 9, 10, 11. Growing up around them, they continue pushing for me to keep going and wishing nothing but blessings for me.”
“I got nothing to do but go hard for the city.”
Hence, is currently the No.62-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline, and the future ACE of the Cardinals staff.
Tink Hence Is The Future For St. Louis Cardinals Arms
While that sounds like a possible, they’d much rather wait on future ace Markevian “Tink” Hence to make his appearance either late this season, or as a part of the five-man rotation to begin next season.
Hence, the team’s No.3 ranked prospect behind only the aforementioned Wynn (No.2) and Jordan Walker (No.1), is also MLB Pipeline’s No.68 ranked prospect. Those three are looked upon as the nucleus for the Cardinals in the very near future, with Hence manning the team’s pitching staff.
The talented hurler was off to a blistering start with this season with High-A Peoria with 7.2 innings and eight strikeouts over starts, when he sustained a chest tightness, forcing him out of the lineup since early April. He’s now slated to return to the mound on Friday.
Hence Was Dominant Last Season At Low-A Palm Beach
Prior to his current short stint at High-A Peoria, Hence completely overwhelmed hitters at Low-A Palm Beach last season. He produced a stingy 1.38 ERA and an 81:15 (strikeouts to walks rate) over 52 innings last summer.
Hence’s best pitch is his overpowering fastball that hits 97-98 with regularity but has climbed into the triple-digits as well. But what sets Hence apart is the passion and grit he plays with. Even when the pitches aren’t always hitting the spot, he wants them to, he grinds through it. It’s eerily reminiscent of what former New York Yankees legend and ace C.C. Sabathia would do when he didn’t have his best stuff, and it’s a trait that the great pitchers seem to have. It’s called being a competitor, and that’s what Hence prides himself on.
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During spring training Tink told reporters this about his competitive nature.
“First, I’m a competitor. I’m gonna compete regardless if I have this fastball, this off-speed, whatever. Just being able to have a couple plus pitches to go along with the confidence and the mentality I feel like nothing can stop me. Just going out there and trying to get better each game, just figuring out more and more about myself and my pitches,” Hence said.
“You Certainly See The Velo, Here’s A Guy… Who Touches 100 Occasionally” | Palm Beach Manager Gary Kendall Raves About Markevian “Tink” Hence
Hence’s Teammates Love His Work Ethic And Competitive Fire
Hence was the No.63 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, taken in a youthful and talented haul, along with the aforementioned Walker and Winn. And both of his teammates rave about Hence’s ability.
“He’s gonna be a problem for hitters for a long time,” Winn said of Hence. “I’ve never gotten the privilege to face him, actually it may be a privilege to that I haven’t gotten to face him. I don’t know if I’d want to. Great dude. One of my best friends for sure. He’s going to be something special to watch.
Winn’s comments piggybacked Walker’s. The phenom who started his season with an MLB-record 12-game hitting streak before being sent down to the minors for “business reasons,” also spoke highly of the franchise’s future Black Ace.
“He’s like the silent assassin. He doesn’t really say much, but he’ll get you with his stuff,” Walker said.
As for Hence, he understands the process of getting to the majors and what he needs to do to sustain success. But when you’re always out to top yourself, it makes it much easier to continue to grow and develop into one of the leaders of the Cards pitching staff that he was drafted to be. When he joins MLBbro Jack Flaherty in the rotation, St. Louis will have a Melanated Mound Marauder duo.
In St. Louis, baseball is king and winning starts in the draft. The Cardinals have long been a franchise who drafts well. The franchise has drafted great pitchers in the past like Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, Dan Haren and more recently MLBbros “Black” Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks. So the franchise knows how to pick a great arm.
The team possesses a great scouting department and always has a solid farm system. That was no different when they drafted former Arkansas commit and flame-tossing marksmen Markevian “Tink” Hence in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft as a 17-year-old pitching prospect.
Palm Beach manager Gary Kendall, raved about the projected future ace of the Cardinals staff.
“You certainly see the velo , here’s a guy that throws in the upper 90’s, who touches 100 occasionally.”
Hence was lights out for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Single-A Florida State League, allowing just one measly run in his first four starts.
Hence Was 63rd Pick Of 2020 MLB Draft: Minor League Season Canceled In 2020
When the Cardinals chose Hence with the 63rd overall pick in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft, they got a young melanated mound marauder with huge upside. But with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the righty didn’t make his debut until 2021, after the 2020 Minor League season was shutdown.
In 2021, Hence got his chance to step on the mound, pitching eight innings. Not a huge sample size, so his ERa, which hovered around 9.00 was misleading. His pure mechanics and other metrics suggested the promise that made him a high draft pick by the Cardinals was right around the corner.
He managed to strikeout 14 of the 26 batters he faced which further proved his ERA was nothing to worry about. In 2021, Hence’s velocity was in the range of 90-94 and topped out at 96 MPH. Very good for a young 18-year-old who didn’t get to play in 2020. But whatever the Cardinals did with him mechanics-wise from 2021 to 2022, has worked wonders.
Hence A Different Hurler In 2022: Striking Out Batters Repeatedly
Hence hit the road running in 2022. In his season debut he stayed in the mid-90’s on his fastball and sinker, topping out at 97.5 MPH. In three innings, he struck out five batters, allowed one hit, one walk, and one run which was earned.
Hence’s curveball is what’s going set him apart in his quest to become the ace of the Cardinals staff. While the pitch is still a work-in-progress, it’s already causing problems for hitters
Hence is currently 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, and as he continues to fill out in his development, you’ll see even more of the power stuff he has in his arsenal.
Hence/s work this season has allowed him to crack MLB’s Top 100 prospects list at 96. If he continues his trajectory throughout winter leagues, by next season he could crack the top 80-85. His expected arrival into the majors is 2024, and as of now there’s no reason not to believe he’ll be with the Redbirds at Busch Stadium for a long time.