Why Aaron Hicks will be AL Rookie of the Year in 2013

By Michael Terrill
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins prospect Aaron Hicks is having an incredible Spring Training in which he is the leading candidate to become the Opening Day center fielder. Hicks is also an early favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2013.

The 23-year-old, who was ranked No. 72 on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list for the 2013 Major League Baseball season, is blowing his teammates away this spring. Hicks is batting .371 with four home runs, 13 RBI, three doubles, 11 runs and one stolen base in 35 at-bats. Against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 7, Hicks went 4-for-5 with three home runs, six RBI and four runs. The performance pretty much solidified his role on the 25-man roster.

The fact that Hicks has never stepped foot in the big leagues makes it even more intriguing. The one concern fans who have followed the switch-hitter in the minors may have is that he has never shown this kind of potential. He is a career .271 hitter with 34 home runs and 204 RBI in five seasons. Not to mention, he has never appeared higher than Double-A. On the other hand, his best statistical season came last year in Double-A in which he batted .286 with 13 home runs, 61 RBI, 21 doubles, 11 triples and 32 stolen bases in 563 plate appearances.

There are plenty of great players that did not post unbelievable offensive numbers in the minors who went on to be very productive at the plate in the majors. Some players see the ball differently in the big leagues or just simply handle the atmosphere better. I believe Hicks is one of those players who never reached his true potential in the minors, but is ready to explode at the top level.

The fact that Hicks is leading the Twins in hits, home runs, RBI and runs scored this spring is a good sign of things to come. He does not appear to be the type of person to allow good performances to go straight to his head, which should allow him to stay level and be productive at his own pace.

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