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Article: Ervin Santana Is Legit

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:26 AM
Maybe it's the team's history with free agents. Perhaps it is the perpetual up-and-down pattern of his career. Or maybe it's just a well...
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Jorge Polanco

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:24 AM
He is going to be one of my favorites. He's already a professional hitter from both sides of the plate; doesn't strike out much and walk...
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Twins option Mejia to AAA, put Haley on DL

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:23 AM
https://mobile.twitt...916165142589442 http://www.cbssports...-biceps-injury/ Let the corresponding roster move speculation begin
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/22): Controversial...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:11 AM
The Red Wings faced some of the top prospects in the game, Randy LeBlanc extended his scoreless-innings streak, the Kernals somehow manag...
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Fun with Numbers: 2017 edition

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:38 AM
Twins on pace to win 162 games this season. Twins team ERA on pace to be 1.0 Sano on pace to hit 162 home runs. Santana on pace to have t...
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It's All Right: Hicks Gives Up Switch-Hitting

The first two years of Aaron Hicks' major-league career have been humbling to say the least. He's gone from first-round prep superstar and top prospect to apparent bust; from appointed center fielder and leadoff man to "unprepared" problem child.

The skills that have carried Hicks to this point aren't keeping him afloat. But to his credit, the 24-year-old has proven willing to look inward, and is now implementing a drastic change.

Hicks announced on Monday that he is giving up switch-hitting, and will bat exclusively from the right side going forward.

Attached Image: hicks.jpg Whether going by the eye test or the numbers, it has been obvious for some time that the switch-hitting approach just wasn't working out for Hicks. Ostensibly hitting from both sides is intended to produce a double platoon advantage for a hitter, but Hicks performed worse from the left side than you'd expect from any lefty-against-lefty, or righty-against-righty, or major-leaguer-against-anyone.

In 331 plate appearances as a left-handed hitter, Hicks batted .179/.261/.285.

In light of those numbers, it's no surprise that the center fielder told his manager he has "no confidence" in the lefty swing that he adopted at a young age.

Will this help? It can't hurt. Hicks' problems run deeper than switch-hitting -- his numbers against lefties as a righty aren't that great either -- but he'll now be taking 100 percent of his swings from his natural side. He'll need to adapt to a different look in the majority of his at-bats, and even Ron Gardenhire admitted that this process would ideally play out in the minors, but at least when Hicks makes contact he'll have a better chance of doing something with it.

This is a rare step for a major-league player to take. Shane Victorino gave up switch-hitting at age 32 last year, initially because of an injury, but outside of that the list of examples of players implementing such a change has been exceedingly short.

A study on the subject conducted by James Gentile of Beyond the Boxscore in 2012 reached the following conclusion:

For the most part, the practice of switch-hitting and then un-switch-hitting seems reserved for quad-A lifers, glove-only types, fringe utility-players, or general disappointments of one kind or another that were willing to try anything to keep their careers alive. It's a desperate act, perhaps, reserved only for when your back is against the wall. Consider that Bruce Ruffin made the list and he wasn't even a position player. He simply spent 11 years in the National League as a pitcher.


Well, that sounds extremely discouraging, particularly when you consider that Hicks is only 24 years old and in his second big-league season.

But the numbers have been bad enough -- and disparate enough from what you'd expect out of his talent -- that desperation is warranted. Hicks needs to be a more confident player. Taking his admittedly inferior swing into 75 percent of his at-bats is not a disadvantage he needed added to his plate.

What do you think? Can eliminating the left-handed swing help Hicks straighten out his offensive game? And should the Twins allow him to reinvent himself in the majors or search elsewhere for an interim replacement?


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