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by Matt Sisk

Worm Hunting

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To be considered a prospect that will be drafted in the top-20 of any MLB Draft is quite a feat. Nearly everyone cannot accomplish that on natural talent alone. It takes an extreme amount of sweaty labor that most people would not, or could not, endure. I want to hope beyond all hope that Aaron Hicks turns out just like Dennis Rodman.

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I’m sure your blood is boiling after reading that last sentence. So, please, allow me to explain this nonsense. One of my favorite winners of all-time is Dennis Rodman. The Worm! He could dominate a basketball game without scoring. Who does that? Nobody really does that, its exceptional to Dennis. Check it out y’all: Dennis Rodman Career Retrospective - YouTube

What many casual Rodman fans may not be aware of, is that Dennis was a very late bloomer. Wikipedia says Rodman was 5’6 as a freshman in high school, but grew to be about 6’6 as a 20-year-old JUCO player. Amazing, eh? I am hoping Aaron Hicks resembles the entertainer and defensive-minded winner that Rodman was. But I hope not for the lifestyle and the wedding dress.

Hicks was drafted 14th overall in 2008 out of a California high school. Another high school center-fielder, Torii Hunter, was taken 20th overall in 1993. That is hardly where the comparison ends.

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Torii was an ultra-toolsy 1st rounder with everything a Puckett-replacement would need to navigate the minor leagues. But he struggled, and he spent three years at AA with very Hicks-like statistics (not much power). In fact, Hicks’ 2012 numbers were better than anything Hunter did in three seasons at New Britain.

I was just a little guy when Torii Hunter was drafted, but I still remember thinking, “Six years!” after reading how long the experts thought he would take to arrive in Minnesota. Back then, six years seemed like an eternity.

I wonder what type of MLB projections people had for Torii while he was struggling to figure out AA pitching? He may have been tabbed as a guy that would never hit .290 in a full MLB season. But Hunter surprised many by blossoming into a power-hitting 9-time Gold Glove Award winner.

Can we expect Hicks to follow suit as a late bloomer, a la Rodman and Hunter? Will he become the next Twins CF to possess a Gold Glove? We just don’t know right now. But Torii has proven that it can happen LATE for a 5-tool prospect. And Rodman has proven that high-level defenders can win and entertain at an elite level. Here’s to hoping the best for Hicks, and the Twins!

See Hicks here: http://www.milb.com/search/media.jsp...x=-1149&y=-218

Updated 03-18-2013 at 10:32 PM by mnfanforlife

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Comments

  1. Big Daddy H's Avatar
    If Hunter and Hicks both seem like late bloomers, why doesn't anyone give Benson more of a chance? He's very toolsy and is coming off an injury riddled season.
  2. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    I really like Benson. I think he could be serviceable this year. I actually would rather see him start in CF, than Mastro...but Darin could change my mind with a good spring.
  3. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    To leave Hicks in the minors for a couple of months seems to make sense.
    I like Benson, but he does not have the ceiling of a Hicks (defensively speaking) or Arcia (offensively speaking).
    If he can cut it, he is the perfect player to have as the CF or 4th outfielder to start the season.
  4. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Agreed. Hicks has a much higher ceiling than both Benson and Mastro. But why rush Hicks when he can stay in AAA til June, and secure another year of team control.

    Arcia is a better all -around hitter, but Hicks and Oswaldo will both serve vital roles in the 2014 line-up.
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