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Article: Can The Twins Have An Elite Bullpen In 2016?

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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:57 PM
Buried deep in the MLB Rumors, Twins section:November 21, 2015 at 6:39pm CST Here’s the latest from The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo…...
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Article: Looking Back: Twins 40-Man Roster Additions

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:50 PM
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Article: Looking Back: Age Of Twins Players During Great...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:50 PM
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Article: Twins Add Seven To Their 40 Man Roster, Lose Ach...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:38 AM
Teams needed to add eligible players to their 40-man rosters before Friday's deadline in order to protect them from December's Rule 5 dra...
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The Mysterious Lost Season of Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks had to be flying high at the conclusion of spring training this season. He had won the starting center fielder job for the Twins and he would be making his big league debut in front of the Target Field faithful. His 2012 minor league campaign was fantastic as he showed much of the promise the Twins had seen in him when they took him as a first round pick.

The future seemed nothing but bright and there were comparisons being made to some of the best outfielders in the game.

Those flowery thoughts didn't last long as Hicks struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball. At the end of April, he had a batting line of .113/.229/.127, with a double being his lone extra-base hit. These were tough numbers to swallow, especially with the high expectations coming out of spring training.

Switching the calendar to May helped Hicks with his power swing but the other numbers didn't follow suit. After one extra-base hit in the first month, he cracked 10 extra-base hits in the second month of the season including six home runs. This raised his slugging percentage almost 200 points from .127 to .315 and it led some to believe that Hicks might have turned the corner.

Throughout his minor league career, he had been praised as being a patient hitter but ML pitchers were able to attack him at the plate. In the first two months of the season, he struck out 49 times and he was able to coax only 17 walks. Combine his low walk total with the fact that he wasn't hitting the ball all that great and red flags were becoming more obvious.

June saw Hicks trying to overcome his first extended stay on the DL. He was sent to Triple-A for the first time as part of his rehab and it seemed as though he might have benefitted more by staying at that level. Instead the team brought him back for the start of July and there were a few more baby steps in the right direction.

Hicks batted .230/.292/.379 after returning from the DL. His batting average and OBP were the highest marks for any month so there were some positive signs. He was able to steal five bases while being caught only once. On the negative side, he struck out 26 times and was limited to six walks. The Twins decided it was time for Hicks to try to succeed at Triple-A; he was sent down for the remainder of Rochester's season.

Things weren't much better for Hicks in limited action in the minors. For the season, he played 22 games with Rochester and posted a batting line of .222/..317/.333 with six extra-base hits but no home runs. He was able to draw 10 walks but he averaged close to a strikeout a game. There was no shining light at the end of the tunnel.

Hicks wasn't among the Twins September call-ups and there are plenty of questions surrounding him after his first big league season. Should the Twins give up on Hicks in favor of stud prospect Byron Buxton? What is the future role of Hicks with this team? Will he ever be able to be a consistent hitter at the big league level? Was this a lost season for the former top prospect?

Everything seemed bright for Hicks under the color of the Florida sun but things quickly turned cold in the brisk Minnesota spring. It will be an offseason of reflection for Mr. Hicks and hopefully a chance to enter next season with the ability to forget what happened in 2013.

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