After word broke over Spring Training that veteran second baseman Marco Scutaro would potentially miss significant time during the regular season with a back ailment, the San Francisco Giants were forced to scramble for an alternative. Their options were mostly bleak, especially considering their relative thin pool of talent off the bench.
Enter Brandon Hicks. The Giants’ biggest splash over the offseason was acquiring slugging outfielder Michael Morse, who had seemingly been given up on after suffering a wrist injury devastated his ability to produce at a high level in 2013. San Francisco also added veteran right-handed hurler Tim Hudson, who has been fantastic in five starts for the Giants so far.
What the Giants didn’t do over the offseason was bolster their bench, a failure that had potential to lead to another losing season.
San Francisco plucked Hicks off the scrap heap over the winter and have relished that decision ever since. Hicks forced the Giants into slotting him on the Opening Day 25-man roster after a monstrously impressive camp. While he doesn’t hit for average, Hicks is a becoming a concrete run producer at the bottom of the Giants’ lineup. He’s scored nine runs while also driving in seven, racking up six extra-base hits in 49 at-bats.
Hicks’ .224 batting average may look dismal on paper, but he makes up for it with a solid .377 OBP. Hicks, a player who the Oakland Athletics had taken a flier on in 2013, perfectly embodies the mantra of famed GM Billy Beane: get on base. Despite his low average at the plate, Hicks owns an .846 OPS, which ranks second among everyday players on the Giants’ roster behind Morse.
After 25 games, Hicks has flashed increased signs of developing a consistent ability to produce at the plate and help the Giants win a lot of games. His clutch three-run walk-off home run with two outs in the ninth inning to complete a sweep of the Cleveland Indians on Sunday was indicative of that.
He may not be as smooth at second base as the Giants would like, but he’s making up for it with his bat so for. As Scutaro continues to nurse a grueling injury that could ultimately lead to the end of his big league career, Hicks is starting to become a household name among Giants fans.