Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Store

Recent Blogs

Photo

Article: The Mysterious Lost Season of Aaron Hicks

  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#1 Cody Christie

Cody Christie

    Twins Contributor

  • Twins Contributors
  • 632 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:51 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...-of-Aaron-Hicks

#2 MichiganTwins

MichiganTwins

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 344 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:27 AM

I dont think we should give up on hicks at all. He has got a lot of talent and my bet is he starts to contribute next season but maybe not at the start.

#3 Brandon

Brandon

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 754 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:00 AM

I wonder if he can still be a great SP prospect with his 97 MPH fastball instead of OF

#4 Rosterman

Rosterman

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 981 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:40 AM

Man, what a year. Mastro nd Benson could've put themselves into the mix early, even Ramirez was a possibility. But ended up with Hicks.

He batted lead-off for that first month and was dismal. He was moved back in the order. He needed to go down at that point. I'm not sure why he didn't.

Clete Thoams got the call and shined, then became...Clete Thomas. Another guy who could've run away with the position.

Hicks came back. But he couldn't out Clete Clete.

At this point, the service time bunny appeared. It should continue with Hicks starting anew at AAA Rochester in 2014 rather than learn in the majors. I can't believe that Presley will be our starting centerfielder.

Hicks will continue to develop. He may not be the centerfielder of the future, but putting him at one of the corners with hit Buxton in center is a plus. Batting him second (if he cuts downs on the K's) behind Buxton may prove to be the best 1-2 in baseball, especially with Mauer continuing in the #3 spot.

Like September, spring training you face a multitude of pitchers of different skill levels. Batters tend to be ahead of pitchers. The weather is nice. It can be more relaxed.

#5 MichiganTwins

MichiganTwins

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 344 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 04:16 PM

Yeah I really like Hicks too. He has got mad skill and he will show it.

#6 Danchat

Danchat

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 436 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 04:53 PM

I think the key for Hicks is to forget this year and refocus for 2014. There isn't anywhere to go but up for him. (Well, I guess there is Mendoza line and the Butera line...)

I hope he can cut those strikeouts. Our batting coach needs to teach to hit for contact. Unfortunately it seems to be the other way around currently. Our pitchers are throwing for contact and our batters are swinging to miss...

#7 Marta Shearing

Marta Shearing

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:09 PM

Didnt gardy recently make a snyde comment about hicks that ended up on twitter? Maybe the biggest change hicks needs is a manager who wont throw him under the bus. This kid is crazy talented, and I'd much sooner watch him take his lumps rather than watch a no talent bum like Pressley. But he's scrappy and he gets after it. Blah blah blah.

#8 Marta Shearing

Marta Shearing

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:10 PM

For starters, hicks needs to scrap switch hitting.

#9 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    Twins Moderator

  • Twins Moderators
  • 4,438 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:50 PM

I think he starts in Rochester and remains there till he earned it. I'm hoping he doesn't have the slow start thing again given that was facing much tougher talent in the big leagues. In his defense, he did end his season on a high note, and I hope he gets off to a great start and forces his way back. In the mean time, Presley gets the starting CF job and a chance to prove if he can stay. If they both hit well, there's a potential trade chip in there.

#10 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,000 posts

Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:35 PM

I responded to this blog post a few days ago, but will summarize here:

There is nothing that shocking whatsoever about Aaron Hicks' season. What, Shane?

April: How many players in recent baseball history have jumped a level and then been asked to bat leadoff for the MLB team? I have asked that before and I don't think I got an answer.

The rest of the season: Aaron Hicks has never been a fast adjuster upon promotion. In 2012 he did do very well in New Britain, but if I remember correctly, he started out slow there and it was only after being down in the lineup for awhile and THEN getting put up at the top of the NB lineup that he ended up going off. He has always been slow in even normal step-by-step movements up the system.

His post-April numbers are not at all that surprising given B, and the April numbers are terrible, but really not completely surprising either.

The attitude towards Hicks around here is what is surprising though. It's as though people are ignoring his entire minor league career. And ignoring the fact that he was thrust into a ridiculous situation to begin with this season.

#11 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 6,792 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:34 AM

[quote name='Shane Wahl']I responded to this blog post a few days ago, but will summarize here:

There is nothing that shocking whatsoever about Aaron Hicks' season. What, Shane?

April: How many players in recent baseball history have jumped a level and then been asked to bat leadoff for the MLB team? I have asked that before and I don't think I got an answer.

The rest of the season: Aaron Hicks has never been a fast adjuster upon promotion. In 2012 he did do very well in New Britain, but if I remember correctly, he started out slow there and it was only after being down in the lineup for awhile and THEN getting put up at the top of the NB lineup that he ended up going off. He has always been slow in even normal step-by-step movements up the system.

His post-April numbers are not at all that surprising given B, and the April numbers are terrible, but really not completely surprising either.

The attitude towards Hicks around here is what is surprising though. It's as though people are ignoring his entire minor league career. And ignoring the fact that he was thrust into a ridiculous situation to begin with this season.[/QUOTE]

It turns out that that the ones who really found this all that mysterious and were blindly ignoring all the warning signs from Hicks' minor league career were the Skipper, who strongly advocated for Hicks back in January:

[QUOTE]"But as I told Terry, when all these things were going on -- Span and then Revere -- we talked about it, if he trades this guy, what are you going to do here? ... If he trades both of them, what are you going to do?"The one thing I asked Terry, I just want to make sure that Aaron Hicks has the opportunity to come into spring training -- if we trade Span, and we end up trading Revere too, and this was (said) way before (those trades) -- I said I want the opportunity to give him a shot at my centerfield job."
[/QUOTE]


And the former Executive of the Year:

[QUOTE]The guy has earned it [Starting in CF and leading off]. I find it almost humorous that people are talking about service time, starting the clock. We didn't trade Span and Revere to stall the next guy. ... I can't ever feel guilt about stopping a guy that deserves to be there..............
Are we trying to win, or what are we doing? Can you imagine if we sent somebody [down] that did what the kid did? [Here Ryan is referring to Hicks' performance in 20 spring training games], and I had to look at Willingham and Morneau and Perkins and Mauer and those guys that are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that. I hear this stuff. Not here.[/QUOTE]

They both qualified their statements later on in their interviews, but why didn't the media press them on where the back-up plans were in CF and batting leadoff? Because they had no legitimate back-up plans for both those roles (Mastro was not a legitimate alternative as a starting CF, even before his injury), this is squarely on both of them.

Edited by jokin, 15 September 2013 - 12:39 AM.


#12 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,000 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:05 AM

Yeah, that's a pretty clear indictment of both of them. I do not expect anything different from Gardenhire since he is, you know . . . I won't say it. But from TR it is a bit strange. It tells me that they really think of AA has Majors-Light or something. And that's dumb. I remember at the winter meeting Ryan indicating that even Benson was a contender.

The big thing to me was the leadoff situation. I wouldn't have been so bothered with a healthy Mastro in CF for awhile . . . if he batted 8th. They just had no leadoff hitter (probably should have gone wild and crazy and put Mauer there).

#13 Oldgoat_MN

Oldgoat_MN

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 666 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:40 AM

...
This kid is crazy talented, and I'd much sooner watch him take his lumps rather than watch a no talent bum like Pressley. ...


Wow. You realize that in the last 3 years Presley has never been as bad as Hicks has been this year, right?

Just because you have confidence in Hicks doesn't automatically make anyone else at his position a 'no talent bum'. Presley can keep the position warm until someone comes along and wins it on merit rather than promise.

#14 glunn

glunn

    Head Moderator

  • Twins Moderators
  • 5,091 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 04:20 PM

... This kid is crazy talented, and I'd much sooner watch him take his lumps rather than watch a no talent bum like Pressley....


Moderator note --

It is a violation of TD policy to call a player a "no talent bum." You are free to comment on a player's lack of talent or performance, but "no talent bum" crosses the line into insult territory and trolling.

Please be more respectful and less inflammatory.

#15 Alex

Alex

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 04:57 PM

In Nick Nelson's article about calling Hicks up, I mentioned a major red flag. There were other concerns but for me it was his strikeout levels. He's never struck out less than once every five PAs and I thought that was a massive signal he wasn't ready, especially a player with his skillset.

At best, he'd be comparable, but jumping two levels it was far more likely that he'd end up striking out more -- and not just more a lot more. This turned out to be the case and in the majors, he struck out once nearly every three times at the plate.

So, I'd agree with Shane that it wasn't as shocking or mysterious.

#16 orangevening

orangevening

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 130 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:33 PM

With Mastro's injury and Benson's flame out the Twins had little choice. Easy to criticize now, but what choice did they have especially after his spring training performance?. Gardy is stubborn (one of his major faults) and is stuck on putting CF, SS, or 2nd in leadoff especially with Span and Reverre setting up the line up the years before. Gardy hated giving up Morneau, but getting a CF that can leadoff made him happy.

#17 Alex

Alex

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:44 PM

With Mastro's injury and Benson's flame out the Twins had little choice. Easy to criticize now, but what choice did they have especially after his spring training performance?. Gardy is stubborn (one of his major faults) and is stuck on putting CF, SS, or 2nd in leadoff especially with Span and Reverre setting up the line up the years before. Gardy hated giving up Morneau, but getting a CF that can leadoff made him happy.


Easy to criticize now? A lot of us were criticizing it at the time.

We've seen plenty of examples where spring training numbers don't matter and don't show anything, and certainly shouldn't be valued over a much larger sample like minor league performance. I also think they were planning on starting him regardless -- unless he was horrible.

They had Clete Thomas and Antoan Richardson in the minors. There was no real reason they HAD to go with Hicks from the start, nor was there a reason they had to stay with him as long as they did. They could have gone with them for a month until they were sure Hicks would be ready.

EDIT: I realize maybe you're referring to leadoff, that was a bigger team construction issue. They had a ton of unproven hitters in the lineup and very few on base guys that would fit there (and not in the middle of the order). Additionally, If Gardy is so stuck in his ways about lineup construction, I'm definitely ready for someone else's new approach.

Edited by Alex, 15 September 2013 - 05:55 PM.


#18 peterb18

peterb18

    Member

  • Members
  • 87 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:51 PM

There was an old adage in baseball, and I think it applies to Hicks. "Can he hit the Curve Ball"--many great athletes could not overcome this. I think this is the key to his advancement. And hitting the curve is not an easy thing.

#19 Marta Shearing

Marta Shearing

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:05 PM

Wow. You realize that in the last 3 years
Presley has never been as bad as Hicks has been this year, right?

Just because you have confidence in Hicks doesn't automatically make anyone else at his position a 'no talent bum'. Presley can keep the position warm until someone comes along and wins it on merit rather than promise.


He's jason tyner. He's a low ceiling 4th outfielder. Mediocrity. The type of player gardy seems to love.

#20 orangevening

orangevening

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 130 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:00 PM

They had Clete Thomas and Antoan Richardson in the minors.


Thank you for proving my point futher

#21 snepp

snepp

    Speediest Moderator

  • Twins Moderators
  • 4,115 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:29 PM

He's jason tyner. He's a low ceiling 4th outfielder. Mediocrity.


Presley is a much better player than Tyner ever was.
"Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
- Strib commenter educating the elitists on the value of RBI's

#22 Alex

Alex

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:52 PM

Thank you for proving my point futher


The point was both could easily hold a spot for a month or two and certainly wouldn't have been worse than Hicks. They also could have signed someone -- they had the money to do so. In the end, they went with a combination of Thomas and, sometimes, Wilkin Ramirez. Definitely not a winning combination but it was better than Hicks and had they not locked themselves into Hicks, they certainly could have had better options.

If you still think that calling Hicks up was the right move over that, I'm not sure what to tell you.

Edited by Alex, 15 September 2013 - 07:55 PM.


#23 howieramone1406390264

howieramone1406390264

    Banned

  • Banned
  • 715 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:02 PM

One of the major complaints of most fans is prospects are moved too slowly. I thought it was great they threw caution to the wind and gave him a chance. Hicks and not incidentally Gibson, have merely used up one of their nine lives. Nothing has been permanently decided. For what it's worth, BA predicted Hicks would be the opening day centerfielder in 2012.

#24 orangevening

orangevening

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 130 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:13 PM

The point was both could easily hold a spot for a month or two and certainly wouldn't have been worse than Hicks. They also could have signed someone -- they had the money to do so. In the end, they went with a combination of Thomas and, sometimes, Wilkin Ramirez. Definitely not a winning combination but it was better than Hicks and had they not locked themselves into Hicks, they certainly could have had better options.

If you still think that calling Hicks up was the right move over that, I'm not sure what to tell you.


Please find me anyone, ANYONE who was clamoring for Thomas, Richardson or Ramirez to start in CF over Hicks right after spring training. Yes, people were of the opinion that we shouldn't start Hicks arb time and yes they wanted him to win the job in spring training (and he did). My point is that their decision was easy from their (the FO) point of view. They weren't going to sign a free agent CF and the nobody considered the above players (was Richardson even with the organization then?) a option. Maybe they *should* have, but they were not.

#25 Alex

Alex

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:14 PM

One of the major complaints of most fans is prospects are moved too slowly. I thought it was great they threw caution to the wind and gave him a chance. Hicks and not incidentally Gibson, have merely used up one of their nine lives. Nothing has been permanently decided. For what it's worth, BA predicted Hicks would be the opening day centerfielder in 2012.


We aren't talking about a prospect that was tearing up every level he'd been at. Even the season after his promotion was good, not dominating. As for BA, predicting who would be the opening day CF and what the Twins should have done are two different things. I think most people understood, the way the the front office was putting out information and talking about Hicks, even before spring training, that he was the front-runner.

#26 Alex

Alex

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:19 PM

Please find me anyone, ANYONE who was clamoring for Thomas, Richardson or Ramirez to start in CF over Hicks right after spring training. Yes, people were of the opinion that we shouldn't start Hicks arb time and yes they wanted him to win the job in spring training (and he did). My point is that their decision was easy from their (the FO) point of view. They weren't going to sign a free agent CF and the nobody considered the above players (was Richardson even with the organization then?) a option. Maybe they *should* have, but they were not.


We're talking about two different things then, what they would have done (and did do) and what they should have done and why we are talking over each other.

I think most people, who didn't want Hicks to start in CF, would have preferred they put Mastro out there (prior to injury) or sign a filler, but I did hear Clete Thomas bantered around as a place holder. Then when Hicks struggled and continued to do so, Richardson could have been an option, but no, he wasn't mentioned as an option that I saw earlier.

You're correct that from a front office POV, and how they make decisions, that Hicks was going to be the CF and that they weren't going to add anyone. Like I said in my post above, predicting the Twins choice is different than arguing it was the right one.

Edited by Alex, 15 September 2013 - 08:22 PM.


#27 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 6,792 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:32 PM

With Mastro's injury and Benson's flame out the Twins had little choice. Easy to criticize now, but what choice did they have especially after his spring training performance?. Gardy is stubborn (one of his major faults) and is stuck on putting CF, SS, or 2nd in leadoff especially with Span and Reverre setting up the line up the years before. Gardy hated giving up Morneau, but getting a CF that can leadoff made him happy.


That something as trivial as the mark that Presley will end up making for the entirety of his Twin career would "make Gardy happy" says volumes about the state of the the club. The Twins should have been working full-time on signing or trading for a legitimate back-up plan as a lead off hitter and center fielder from the day they moved Span and Revere. To have such critical aspects so important to a team's potential for success to both be manned by someone coming from AA, someone who has demonstrably struggled moving up just one level, and then having no legitimate, major-league-experience alternatives positioned as back-up when he inevitably faltered, is malfeasance. Both Gardy and Ryan were on record endorsing this very plan.

#28 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,000 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:46 PM

One of the major complaints of most fans is prospects are moved too slowly. I thought it was great they threw caution to the wind and gave him a chance. Hicks and not incidentally Gibson, have merely used up one of their nine lives. Nothing has been permanently decided. For what it's worth, BA predicted Hicks would be the opening day centerfielder in 2012.


They often have moved them slowly. This was demonstrably true through 2009, at least. This, I think, has more to do with the lower levels. The Twins seem to have the idea that AAA is pretty much a waste of time, which is the opposite end of the spectrum.

#29 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,000 posts

Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:49 PM

Also, Hicks may have been fairly fine if he didn't have to start out him MLB career as the leadoff hitter. It demanded that he take more pitches and this was at a time when his pitch recognition and everything was obviously not going to be ready for such a position. So he took more strikes, got behind, and got in trouble.

#30 Marta Shearing

Marta Shearing

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 16 September 2013 - 03:54 AM

Bringing Hicks north was the right thing to do. It just didnt work. I still think he'll be a great player.