“He’s Like The Silent Assassin” | St. Louis Cardinals Top Pitching Prospect Markevian “Tink” Hence Set To Return After Chest Injury
The St. Louis Cardinals have begun the 2023 MLB season in uncharacteristic fashion at (13-24).
The record is the worst in the National League and third worst in all of MLB with only the Oakland Athletics (8-29) and Kansa City Royals (10-27) sporting worst records as of May 10th.
The slow start has rumors swirling about the “Redbirds” possibly trading prized future shortstop Masyn Winn if they can get a quality starting pitcher under team control for a few years.
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.
Yesterday, The Cardinal Nation's no. 3 #STLCards prospect, right-handed pitcher Tink Hence, was listed as slated to come off the IL to be Friday's probable starter for High-A Peoria. Today, that has changed. Friday's starter is no longer Hence, but is "TBD". pic.twitter.com/YyLmi6kGgo
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) May 10, 2023
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.
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.
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.