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Article: Time For Hicks to Make a Switch?

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:32 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...o-Make-a-Switch

#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:40 AM

Learning to hit right-handed pitching from the right side is going to be a major adjustment. Why on earth do we want Hicks going through a major adjustment in 2014? That's another guaranteed lost season for him, or at least half a season . . . if it even works out at all in any way that makes him better from the right side than the left side.

Here's an idea: admit that the Twins really messed with him and his rather natural path of development . . . one damn level at a time, which isn't such a crazy idea! He was AAA prepared for major league baseball, and he probably would have been only around a .700 OPS with a full season at AAA.

I am going to expect a .700 OPS with the full season with the Twins in 2014.

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:47 AM

Should have happened 2 years ago. If his arrival is pushed out a year, but he's actually good, that might be a good idea......but this is a great example of being conservative, don't change anything, even if it isn't working.

#4 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:57 AM

......but this is a great example of being conservative, don't change anything, even if it isn't working.


True.

I get that batting as a RH against RH pitchers is going to suck, but it likely won't be worse than what he is getting now.

Either that or have him pitch. And I'm not kidding.
The way he's going now he does not belong on a Major League roster. (and I really like the kid)

#5 Shane Wahl

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:11 AM

Have people forgotten the trajectory and performances year-to-year in the minors for Aaron Hicks? People are *this* down on him even though he clearly didn't belong in MLB for 2013? Granted he didn't need an extra year to figure out AA, but that one time occurrence in his career (!) didn't warrant *skipping* a level. The Twins were patient with him, then they really weren't patient and jumped him a level. I think being patient with him is a good idea. Projecting 2013 forward in such a negative way as to consider ending his switch-hitting!?

#6 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

This isn't really about his performance this year, Shane. Hicks has been dreadfully bad hitting from the left side at almost every level.

#7 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:31 AM

.... but that one time occurrence in his career (!) didn't warrant *skipping* a level. The Twins were patient with him, then they really weren't patient and jumped him a level.


No argument here, Shane, but a .447 OPS? He may need a full year of AAA. That wouldn't be all bad, maybe, but we should have a crowded outfield soon after that.

Absolutely agree that his history did not suggest that skipping a level would go well. But Joe Benson played poorly, Mastro got hurt and Hicks hit and fielded (in ST) like he was ready. Cannot fault the Twins for starting the year with him in CF.

#8 twinsin17

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:53 AM

Hicks should definitely drop LH hitting. Improving from a .447 OPS vs. righties is almost a given. Or maybe they should platoon him - RP when we face a righty and in the lineup vs. lefties. The chance of watching a position player pitch would put fans in the seats!

#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:34 AM

That headline was a tease. I thought we were going to discuss putting Hicks back on the mound.

#10 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:06 AM

Shane, given that I said "should have happened 2 years ago".....it should be obvious I am not thinking about 2013....

#11 Willihammer

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:18 AM

Here's an idea: admit that the Twins really messed with him and his rather natural path of development . . . one damn level at a time, which isn't such a crazy idea!


Another possibility: Hicks failed as an MLBer because he's not an MLB talent.

#12 jareddejong42

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:00 PM

Has anybody seen what Shane Victorino has done over the past couple weeks since a hamstring injury relegated him to give up switch hitting? Of course this is a small sample size, but could be considered hope that a change for Hicks could be a good thing.

#13 Thrylos

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:33 PM

Learning to hit right-handed pitching from the right side is going to be a major adjustment. Why on earth do we want Hicks going through a major adjustment in 2014? That's another guaranteed lost season for him, or at least half a season . . . if it even works out at all in any way that makes him better from the right side than the left side...


If it will happen (and should happen) will not be in 2014. It will be in a Caribbean Winter league, maybe supplemented with instructs and will continue in ST.

Since he is hitting RH anyways, there will be no mechanical adjustments, just learning how to pick up the ball off a RHP's hand. And this can be done in a batting cage. And as a matter of fact, he has already been hitting as a righty off righties during BP, when the next team starts a LHP. Not that huge of an adjustment.

I think that it is overdue in a lot of respects and I am surprised that the Twins (being such a LHB-rich team) did not make the switch earlier. But remember who the MiLB Director was...
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#14 nicksaviking

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:43 PM

I think we are overestimating the challange of hitting right-handed vs. right-handed pitchers. Sure there will be an adjustment but it's not like his swing would need to be reworked. It would simply be adjusting to a different angle and picking up the pitch from a different release point. I don't see how it would be all that different than learning how to hit off a side-armed pitcher or a pitcher that often changes arm angles and is good at hiding the ball until it is released.

#15 stringer bell

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:49 PM

At this point, no, no, a thousand times no. If Hicks were hitting from his "strong" side 75% of the time and he had to piece together at-bats occasionally facing the same handed pitcher, it might be different. Also, if he was forfeiting batting right handed which costs a number of infield hits for a fast guy, it also might be something to consider. Further Hicks has been switch hitting exclusively for six or seven years. It would take years to catch up again. Hicks' history has been to struggle early and then catch up and the left side catches up last. I still have confidence that Hicks will be a good ballplayer and contributor when the Twins are good again and if he is, it will be as a switch hitter. Break is over. More to say later.

#16 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:57 PM

Further Hicks has been switch hitting exclusively for six or seven years. It would take years to catch up again.

To "catch up" to what? A .500 OPS?

#17 Winston Smith

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:21 PM

Let him pitch. Never mind we have so much quality pitching we don't need more. As far as it goes he could pitch and still play in the field worked for Babe Ruth how hard can it be?

#18 twinsin17

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:30 PM

We're not asking to have him learn to throw left handed here. We just want him to do what he has proven to do more successfully (bat RH vs LH) more often. I don't think that idea is too far fetched.

#19 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:30 PM

I don't see why he cannot just try it for a few weeks and see what happens. If this is something he can adjust to easily, there would be a noticable performance jump, which could justify continuing the experiment. That won't forestall any of his development. If it fails, then you decide.

#20 Don Julio

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:01 PM

If I remember correctly, Hick's dad didn't want him to play baseball and only allowed him to play if he switch-hit. I believe it had something to do with a beaning his dad had in the minors.

#21 darin617

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:10 PM

I thought was going to about changing him into a pitcher, not to become a full time righty.

#22 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:37 PM

The reason he switched in HS was due to his father wanting him to be protected from getting hit in the head, which is far likelier to happen when batting RH vs RH. Hicks' father was hit this way and it was kind of a family decision. It may not be an easy sell.

#23 Shane Wahl

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:50 PM

I am in the minority here, clearly. Was his performance in AA in 2012 against righties just an aberration, then?

#24 Steve Lein

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:54 PM

Learning to hit right-handed pitching from the right side is going to be a major adjustment. Why on earth do we want Hicks going through a major adjustment in 2014? That's another guaranteed lost season for him, or at least half a season


In my opinion, you're blowing the adjustment it would take way out of proportion. He'd instantly be better batting RH vs. righties than he is batting LH vs. righties now, I think.
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#25 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:27 PM

I am in the minority here, clearly. Was his performance in AA in 2012 against righties just an aberration, then?


I'd hope not, but I think it's hard to conclude otherwise, looking at the last four years as a whole. Even in 2012 his Isolated Power was 100 points higher from the right side, so his strong numbers as a lefty were driven far more by plate discipline than authoritative hitting.

Would his plate discipline elude him if he switched to seeing most pitches from a completely different perspective? I guess that's a strong possibility, and the most compelling argument against such a move. But from what I've seen, I don't know that Hicks -- swinging left-handed in the vast majority of his at-bats -- is an MLB-caliber hitter, especially in a corner spot. I see much, much more potential in his righty swing.

#26 Shane Wahl

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:00 PM

Anyone know what the average split gap is between righties vs. lefties and righties vs. righties? Wouldn't this be a baseline to see how far Hicks' numbers would fall from the right side?

#27 h2oface

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:27 PM

If he hits like a pitcher, and throws like a pitcher........ maybe the rest of the teams were right...... he should be a pitcher. I was really rooting for him, though. After his progress last year, and the spring training run, I really thought he would do well. I guess you have to give him one more half season in AAA to see if he can become. He sure is a monster in the field. I really enjoy a center fielder that will dive forward for the ball - something Span would never do.

#28 LaBombo

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:32 PM

Anyone know what the average split gap is between righties vs. lefties and righties vs. righties? Wouldn't this be a baseline to see how far Hicks' numbers would fall from the right side?

From what I've read the average hitter loses about .050-.065 points of OPS when facing same-side pitching.

That should mean that in ideal world where Hicks is adapted to rightie-only, his .713 MLB OPS against lefties would probably put him somewhere around .660, or 100 points higher than his .559 LHB OPS.

#29 Jdosen

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:56 PM

Is there a player anyone can think of that scrapped switch hitting this late in his career and went on to become a successful big-leaguer?

#30 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 06:56 AM

He is only 24