5 Reasons to Still Believe in Aaron Hicks
5 Reasons to Still Believe in Aaron Hicks
It has been awhile since Aaron Hicks patrolled centerfield for the Minnesota Twins and many fans may have forgotten about the once promising, all Twins’ fans could talk about coming out of spring training youngster. Hicks is currently working his way back from injury, but has only hit .188 in Triple-A in 14 games since his demotion. While those around the organization may be down on the youngster, there are still a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this former top prospect.
Before his demotion, Hicks was hitting .192 with eight HR and 27 RBI in 81 games. Although the average isn’t that impressive, the fact that Hicks was being promoted from Double-A to the majors and being asked to hit leadoff—at first—and then patrol centerfield on an everyday basis allows for some margin of error during Hicks’ adjustment period. Hicks showed flashes that he belongs in the majors and then the very next game, Hicks would look completely lost and overwhelmed.
With the Twins struggling this season like they did and with the team struggling to find a suitable centerfielder or leadoff hitter for the majority of the season, a lot of blame and scrutiny has been thrown Hicks way. While some of the criticism is justified, the majority of it is not. The Twins are still a year or two away from contention and the fact of the matter is, the Twins are going to need a productive Hicks to be a major cog in that revitalization and I am confident that Hicks will continue to grow and improve over the off-season and be ready to contribute at the start of next season.
Read on to see the five reasons why I believe fans should still believe in Hicks despite his tumultuous 2013 rookie season.
Brian Wille is a Minnesota Twins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @BeeWill15 or “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google
5. Hicks is Only 23
Despite Hicks’ struggles, he still is only 23 years old and has a lot of years ahead of him. Once he was in the lineup for an extended period of time, Hicks started to have a better approach at the plate, started to hit for average and even played exceptional defense. Hicks did suffer an injury this season, which set him back, but he did show progress—albeit minimal progress—this year. Given another off-season to work on his mistakes and to mature as a ballplayer, there is little doubt in my mind that Hicks will be a better player next year.
4. Hicks’ Defense
Say what you want about Hicks at the plate, his defense was actually quite solid this year. Numerous times, Hicks made highlight reel catches and he never committed an error during his 81 starts. For a player with great speed and a strong arm, this is an attribute that can keep Hicks in the majors.
3. Hicks’ Power
While Hicks may not hit for average, his eight homeruns were something to be excited about. Hicks has 20 homerun type of power and if he could adjust and figure out how to hit for average, he would be a very dangerous outfielder in the Twins’ system. He may not stick in center his entire career, but hitting for power is nothing to sneeze at.
2. Torii Hunter
When Hunter first came into the majors, he only hit .255 in his first season and did struggle quite a bit throughout the season. While .255 is much better than Hicks’ .192, Hunter did develop with time in the majors and Hicks could do the same with extended playing time at the majors working with hitting coach Tom Brunansky. The Twins never gave up on Hunter and were rewarded with an all-star caliber centerfielder; they should do the same with Hicks and the results may be similar.
1. Byron Buxton
Buxton is a mega-prospect in the Twins’ system and will surely be pressing Hicks for playing time in the next coming years. With Buxton pushing Hicks for playing time, it has to serve as motivation for Hicks to continue to work hard and better himself. Having Buxton in the system will serve as motivation for Hicks, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see both play in the outfield alongside Oswaldo Arcia over the next few years; however, none of that will happen unless Hicks continues to develop and make himself into a big-league hitter.
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