Aaron Hicks re-emerged as a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins’ minor league system in 2012 with a good season for Double-A New Britain (.286, 13 home runs, 61 RBI and 32 stolen bases with a .460 slugging percentage), and he became the team’s Opening Day center fielder this year by putting together an excellent spring.
But Hicks got off to an incredibly slow start, hitting just .113 (8-for-71) in April with no home runs. There were signs of a solid approach at the plate, as he took 11 walks, but without some clutch hits his RBI total (eight) for the month would have been lower. The Twins surely expected a lot more offensively from their leadoff hitter in his first taste of big league action, but there was no substantial talk from the team about demoting Hicks to Triple-A.
But a move down the batting order expectedly came, and May was better in terms of power production for Hicks, with six home runs along with 10 RBI. But he still hit just .202 (19-for-94) during the month and stole just one base. Despite the Twins’ continuing search for a viable leadoff hitter, he has not shown signs that he is worthy of regaining that spot in the batting order any time soon.
Hicks is currently sidelined with a strained left hamstring, and his timetable for a return to action is unclear right now. In seven games this month prior to his injury, in admittedly a small sample size, Hicks had seven hits in 25 at-bats (.280 batting average) with one RBI.
Hicks has been excellent defensively this season, which should not be overlooked, but he has to shown signs of progress offensively when he returns to action or I think he could be demoted fairly quickly. With outfielder Byron Buxton on the fast track to the big leagues after being drafted No. 2 overall in 2012, the rest of this season may be Hicks’ best chance to prove he can be a future fixture for the Twins.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.