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Troy Larson

Byron Buxton Could Push Aaron Hicks This Season

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Originally posted at http://troystwinsdugout.wordpress.co...s-this-season/
The centerfield spot is up for grabs this spring and the Twins will give Aaron Hicks every opportunity to be the starting centerfielder come opening day. the future centerfielder is slated to be Byron Buxton with Hicks moving to left. The Twins however don’t want to start Buxton’s service time in the majors if they don’t have to. With that said, Buxton could be the key factor to help determine if Aaron Hicks stays with the Twins come opening day and if Hicks stays up with the big club this season.

Last Spring, Hicks hit well in 73 Spring Training at bats. he hit .370/.407/.644 with6 doubles, a triple and 4 RBIs. When the regular season opened, Hicks’s hitting was a different story. In 281 at bats, he batted .192/.259/.338 with 8 homeruns, 27 RBIs and 37 runs scored. He fanned 84 times and had 22 bases on balls.

Although there weren’t a lot of high moments during the 2013 campaign for the rookie, Hicks’s most memorable game came against the Chicago White Sox. He hit two homeruns and also made an outstanding catch.

Meanwhile, Buxton was advancing up the ladder in the minors. He started the season at Cedar Rapids where he hit .341/.431/.559 with 15 doubles, 10 triples and 8 home runs. He scored 68 runs while driving in 55. He stole 32 bases.

This performance earned him a promotion to Fort Meyers where he batted .326/.415/.472 with 4 doubles, 8 triples and 4 homeruns. He drove in 22 runs while scoring 41. He stole 23 bases.

This season, Buxton will probably be at New Britain barring some miracle where he’d be on the Twins to start the season. However, I think that if Hicks has a terrible spring and the other candidates to play in center come opening day this season such as Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni have injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised that Buxton would be the opening day centerfielder.

However, I think it’s more realistic to think that Presley or Mastroianni will be patrolling center if Hicks doesn’t do well. If this is the case or if Hicks struggles while playing at the major league level, the call up for Buxton to the majors will happen sooner than later. As for now, the Twins will give Hicks every opportunity to play with the big league club come opening day.
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  1. Sconnie's Avatar
    It would be great if Buxton pushed the issue in spring training, but I think Hicks will bounce back following his "slow starter" pattern.
  2. killertwinsfan's Avatar
    I really see no scenario Where Buxton is on the opening day roster. I want to see him dominate double A first. Can't wait to see him but get him polished first. September is probably the realistic target.
  3. twinsfan34's Avatar
    Call me a skeptic...and the Twins have had guys from from A ball to the pros. Mostly in the early 80's with Eisenreich, HrBek, and Puckett (1 month at AAA after being at Class) - and all of them did pretty well....but I don't see Buxton starting in CF even if he's the clear cut best player ON THE TEAM sans Joe Mauer.

    I just think they'd play it conservative. Even if they think he'd hit .300 - who else does he have there to help him? And his service time just begins...

    Also, no reason to sell out every game of the season starting on Opening Day
  4. John Bonnes's Avatar
    Thank you for contributing. I look forward to seeing your writing develop.

    I have to agree with the other comments - it would take an armageddon-like scenario for Buxton to break camp with the Twins. If either Presley or Mastroianni or Hicks is healthy, they would be the center fielder. And to be honest, I think the Twins still might not make Buxton the center fielder.

    It'll be interesting to watch how long Buxton is on the team this spring. It's not unusual for a top prospect like him to be sent down very early, like within the first week or so of games. He'll have had a chance to hang out with big leaguers for a couple of weeks and for the coaching staff to see him up close. But sending him down early gives him a full camp with the minor leaguers and also keeps speculation away about whether he could break camp with the team.
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