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Finding solutions for struggling Aaron Hicks

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With the Twins struggling to find offense in the club's games this weekend, there have been a few boo birds roosting in the stands at Target Field. Some of these might be angry fans sitting out at a cold baseball game with nothing better to do. For others, it could be the frustration of the last couple of seasons coming to a head.


Aaron Hicks has found himself in a bit of a rough patch to start his MLB career. According to FanGraphs version of WAR, Hicks has been the worst player in all of baseball this season. He has a -1.0 WAR and that places him ahead of the next closest competitors Victor Martinez, Matt Kemp, and Adam Dunn.

The Twins have seen this with Hicks in the past because he has a track record of struggling when he is promoted to a new level. He usually finds a way to work out the kinks but this was a bigger jump than he has ever made before. It is hard to know how patient the Twins can be with their young outfielder.

There might be to be some ways to try to ease the struggles for Hicks. Here are a few different ways the Twins front office could approach the situation.

1.) Send Hicks to Triple-A: He has never played at the Triple-A level and the team might need him to find success at that level before they give him another chance with the big league club. Hicks earned the starting job this spring with his performance but player's numbers can be deceiving in exhibition games.

He looks lost at the plate against big league pitching and he needs to regain some confidence. Triple-A could give him a chance to get out of the spotlight and get his head back on his shoulders.

2.) Move Hicks down in the order: Last weekend when Ron Gardenhire was asked about moving Hicks down in the order, he was against the idea because he didn't want to hurt the rookie's confidence. It has been another full week and Hicks hasn't shown any signs of breaking out of his slump.

Moving him down in the order would take some pressure off the rookie and it could help the team's offense. Gardenhire even said he wasn't opposed to having Mauer take over the lead-off role.

3.) Take away some playing time: It can be tough to get used to life at the big league level. Maybe Hicks just needs some time to adjust and a little less playing time. This could allow him to get some wind in his sails and maybe it would produce some better performances on the field.

The team has given him a couple of days off but he didn't exactly come back from the hiatus hitting the cover off the ball. Of these possibilities this seems the least likely since they want Hicks to continue to get at-bats no matter where he is playing.

4.) Be Patient: So far, the team has followed this plan but it is hard to know how long this patience will last. There might need to be some positive signs from Hicks for the club to continue to follow this course of action.

His defense has been good in center field but the offense has been terrible. The strikeouts continue to add up and it seems like the boo birds are going to continue to fly.

Will the rookie have enough to overcome his early season struggles or will the team have to follow a different plan?

If you were in charge of the Twins, what would you do? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

Updated 04-16-2013 at 12:46 PM by Kevin

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Comments

  1. Badsmerf's Avatar
    If I was the Twins I'd let him stay until May. If he hasn't shown any signs of putting it together by then he needs to be demoted. By then he should have 100 AB's, and we should have a better idea. For now, it could just be a bad slump while adjusting to MLB pitching. I don't like making knee jerk reactions (like starting him with the MLB club in the first place), so patience is important.
  2. DK's Avatar
    It appears that the Twins do not have a centerfielder in the organization that is ready for the majors. What is the solution? Trade for a centerfielder or try another prospect to see if he will step up. Lets see if the GM can get the job done.
  3. Physics Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf
    If I was the Twins I'd let him stay until May. If he hasn't shown any signs of putting it together by then he needs to be demoted. By then he should have 100 AB's, and we should have a better idea. For now, it could just be a bad slump while adjusting to MLB pitching. I don't like making knee jerk reactions (like starting him with the MLB club in the first place), so patience is important.
    KLaw said as much in his last chat:

    Klaw (1:15 PM)




    When the promotion was aggressive to begin with, then the leash should be shorter. But I'd never give a kid an OD job unless I was prepared to ride out a bad start for at least a month. The same applies to Brandon Maurer, who couldn't get anything down the other night, especially that slider that was so sharp in March (and last year).
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