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Article: Aaron Hicks and Rebounding

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:58 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...-and-Rebounding

#2 B Richard

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:57 AM

Skipping winter ball is a little bit of a head scratcher for me, especially when the team recommended it. You would think after a season of struggles he'd be eager to improve his game. Maybe he just wanted to work out on his own terms, who knows. I will say, however, having watched him in person several times during the year, he has all the tools to succeed at the big league level. I've seen him turn on triple digit heat and pull it down the right field line, and I have seen him hit breaking stuff (struggles nonwithstanding...). He is athletic enough to make plays in the field, he just needs to find himself. Maybe some time off was all he needed. Let's hope he's a part of this team's future- he could certainly be a valuable asset.

#3 wagwan

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:09 AM

I believe that the article misses the fact that Hicks did rebound in AAA eventually and was one of the Wings top players heading into the playoffs. He should be expected to be at the top of the mix for the center field job.

#4 johnnydakota

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:10 AM

My guess is he hasnt had an off season since he was drafted...Might be just what the doctor ordered....go Hick

#5 lightfoot789

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:09 AM

My guess is he hasnt had an off season since he was drafted...Might be just what the doctor ordered....go Hick


Could not have said it better. Let's look at all the guys who play winterball:

Do they seem to hit the wall during thier full seasons?

I predict a monster year for Hicks for just that reason. REST (mental & physical)

#6 shs_59

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 05:44 AM

Hicks , assuming last season's massive over-rush didn't completely ruin him, will one day be an adequate or quality big leaguer. It might be 3 years from now, but it will happen eventually.

I tried to preach patience with him this time last year, but several fans ended up getting their wish (big league debut) instead of Rochester debut and it went as i predicted horribly wrong.

If you go back to this time last year, even after the fraudulent Spring-training and send him to AAA rochester i guarantee you he would of hitt better than .222/.317/.333

It really is all too bad, really.

Edited by shs_59, 30 January 2014 - 02:15 AM.


#7 blindeke

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:27 AM

Plus, what was the rush exactly? Twins weren't (and aren't) going anywhere. (.... yet.)

#8 Badsmerf

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:28 AM

I believe that the article misses the fact that Hicks did rebound in AAA eventually and was one of the Wings top players heading into the playoffs. He should be expected to be at the top of the mix for the center field job.

What? He had 4 games at the end of the year he got hits in. I guess if you call that rebounding and being a top player we should sign Juan Castro and hand him the starting SS role again. You don't have an OPS of .650 after only 72 AB's and feel confident because of a 4 game stretch (which accounted for 15 of those AB's... think how terrible the other 57 were!). He also struck out 21 times in AAA. This wasn't simply not doing very well, it was complete failure.

As for him rebounding. His success lies in his ability to hit RH pitching. His struggles are well documented on this site. I'm not a huge believer that he will somehow figure it out this late in the game. The Twins should have forced him to stop switch hitting when it was evident he was very good at it. There is still hope, but I'm on the boat that sees his future as a replacement level player (which really is ok).
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#9 cmathewson

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:32 AM

Plus, what was the rush exactly? Twins weren't (and aren't) going anywhere. (.... yet.)


The rush was mostly unnecessary. The Twins had traded two center fielders in the off season, leaving the system as a whole a little thin at the top end. Coming into spring training, they expected Mastroianni to take the job and Hicks to maybe get a midseason call-up. That plan was derailed by two events: Hicks raked in spring training and Masto broke his leg on the last day of spring. Lacking a quality replacement for Mastro, they were forced to go with Hicks.

I say it was unnecessary because they did not have a back-up plan in case of injury. Well, they did, but it was Clete Thomas. And that was the mistake. They should have signed someone better than Clete to replace Revere. If Hicks earned his way up misdseason, great. But don't force it. But they were extremely hopeful Hicks would be able to make the jump over AAA. Given his history, it was a long shot from the start.

I remember his first day like it was yesterday: Verlander threw him one big hook after another that Pitch FX said were six inches outside and the ump called him out on strikes three times. After that, he expanded the strike zone so bad he couldn't hit anything for 10 days, until Bruno got him back in the groove with the plate discipline that is the foundation of his game.

The fact that he recovered from the worst opening to a season that I've ever seen (in the lead-off role no less), makes me confident he can do this. Hopefully this year. But please, not out of spring training. Give him two months to rake at AAA and then bring him up.
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#10 Linus

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:17 AM

Two thoughts on Aaron Hicks:
1. His experience shows there can be a cost for rushing prospects. Last year was essentially a lost year for him developmentally for him and it substantially increases the pressure on him for the upcoming season.
2. His future is not in a corner outfield spot as he will likely never produce offensively enough to realize maximum value or highest and best use. Best case scenario is that he shows promise in centerfield and the Twins can trade him for a top pitching prospect when Buxton is ready. Seeing what the Twins got for Span / Revere, that wouldn't be all bad.

#11 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:18 AM

I think it's impossible to predict what Hicks is going to do this season. If there's a guy whose 2014 is completely unpredictable, it's Aaron Hicks. He could be a .725-.750 OPS player. He could be exposed against righties and struggle to clear .600. Given his 2013 and how volatile it was from start to finish, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from him.

#12 troyhobbs

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:40 AM

Hicks , assuming last season's massive over-rush didn't completely ruin him, will one day be an adequate or quality big leaguer. It might be 3 years from now, but it will happen eventually.

I tried to preach patience with him this time last year, but several fans ended up getting their wish (big league debut) instead of Rochester debut and it went as i predicted horribly wrong.

If you go back to this time last year, even after the fraudulent Spring-trainging and send him to AAA rochester i guarantee you he would of hitt better than .222/.317/.333

It really is all too bad, really.


Hicks earned an opening day start by having the best ST out of the entire roster. You really would have started him in AAA and had Clete Thomas as the opening day CF? They did bat him lead off way too long and probably should have demoted him sooner but he's got skills, he should be at least OK at some point in the near future with a lot of upside.

#13 Nate Haseman

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:00 AM

I think that heading into Spring Training and the regular season with the experience of dealing with failure at the Major League level will be really beneficial for him. I'm sure that as a young toolsy prospect with such a high ceiling he put an immense amount of pressure on himself. Hopefully he's using this off season to put some things in perspective and comes in with a clear head: see the ball, hit the ball, one pitch at a time.

#14 maars

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:07 AM

What? He had 4 games at the end of the year he got hits in. I guess if you call that rebounding and being a top player we should sign Juan Castro and hand him the starting SS role again. You don't have an OPS of .650 after only 72 AB's and feel confident because of a 4 game stretch (which accounted for 15 of those AB's... think how terrible the other 57 were!). He also struck out 21 times in AAA. This wasn't simply not doing very well, it was complete failure.


This is obviously cherry-picking, but if you look at his last 10 games (35 AB/41PA) Hicks put up a line of .342/.439/.600. He struck out 22% of the time, but he was making much better contact in Rochester's last four series. 7 of his 8 extra-base hits in AAA came in those last 10 games. It's not the biggest of rebounds, but it does give me some hope that he was starting to climb out of his slump and figure things out.

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:08 AM

Hicks earned an opening day start by having the best ST out of the entire roster. You really would have started him in AAA and had Clete Thomas as the opening day CF? They did bat him lead off way too long and probably should have demoted him sooner but he's got skills, he should be at least OK at some point in the near future with a lot of upside.


A lot of people thought he should start in AAA. 50 ABs in March against rusty/bad pitching don't mean squat, really.

I wanted to see him in AAA until Mastro went down, then I waffled. But there were legitimate reasons to keep him in the minors to start 2013 no matter who was "in front" of him on the depth chart. Aaron Hicks has not adjusted to new levels well in his career and asking him to skip a level and go directly to the highest level of competition was a pretty tall order.

#16 Dantes929

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:30 AM

I do remember cautioning that Hicks wasn't the player that he showed in spring training just like I cautioned in 2011 the Valencia wasn't going to bat .350 for a whole season.. I don't think I objected to him making the team to start the season but I do remember the VAST majority of the Strib posters being very adamant that Hicks should be the Twins Opening Day centerfielder so either your memory was faulty or you were on different boards than I was.

#17 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:31 AM

My guess is he hasnt had an off season since he was drafted...Might be just what the doctor ordered....go Hick


Per Twinsbaseball.com that is exactly the case--he had never had an off-season and wanted one. I think it was the right move for him. Barring injuries, start him in Rochester and bring him up during the summer (after trading Willingham??).

#18 Dantes929

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:36 AM


2. His future is not in a corner outfield spot as he will likely never produce offensively enough to realize maximum value or highest and best use. Best case scenario is that he shows promise in centerfield and the Twins can trade him for a top pitching prospect when Buxton is ready. Seeing what the Twins got for Span / Revere, that wouldn't be all bad.

I think you overrate the average corner outfielder. Span was a better than average centerfielder but his speed also made him a superior corner outfielder. He got to way more balls than Cuddyer could have and it saved a lot of outs even with Cuddyer throwing out guys. Buxton and Hicks would be a great tandem and allow our pitchers to throw strikes with a lot more confidence. If Hicks offense is not enough to support him being in a corner spot then it won't support him being in centerfield either.

#19 Dantes929

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:44 AM

"I remember his first day like it was yesterday: Verlander threw him one big hook after another that Pitch FX said were six inches outside and the ump called him out on strikes three times. After that, he expanded the strike zone so bad he couldn't hit anything for 10 days," Again, I compare it to Valencia in 2010. He got a lot of seeing eye and infield singles so he didn't have to stress about his average and then started getting comfortable. Joe Mauer starting 2-26 is worlds apart from rookie Hicks starting that way. Though I know it would never happen I remember thinking at the time that maybe they should let Hicks skip the opening series so he wouldn't have to face some of the best pitching in baseball to start out his career. I also remember the umps screwing him and thinking the same thing you did. These guys aren't machines and things like that do make an impact on the psyche.

#20 Willihammer

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:44 AM

I remember his first day like it was yesterday: Verlander threw him one big hook after another that Pitch FX said were six inches outside and the ump called him out on strikes three times. After that, he expanded the strike zone so bad he couldn't hit anything for 10 days, until Bruno got him back in the groove with the plate discipline that is the foundation of his game.



1st K
http://www.brooksbas...pe=3&league=mlb


2nd K (looking)
http://www.brooksbas...pe=3&league=mlb


3rd K
http://www.brooksbas...pe=3&league=mlb

FWIW I give Hicks a pass on striking out against JV in his first 3 PAs. But it wasn't the umpire screwing up his compass, he just plain got beat.

I'd add, if 3 Ks in that game was what sent him into a 2 month slump, then maybe he doesn't have the fortitude or aggression to stick as a regular. Would love to be proved wrong though.

#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:48 AM

I do remember cautioning that Hicks wasn't the player that he showed in spring training just like I cautioned in 2011 the Valencia wasn't going to bat .350 for a whole season.. I don't think I objected to him making the team to start the season but I do remember the VAST majority of the Strib posters being very adamant that Hicks should be the Twins Opening Day centerfielder so either your memory was faulty or you were on different boards than I was.


Well, I was on this board, which has mixed feelings about everything right down to what day it is today. If you ask around I'm sure you'll find someone who has very strong feelings about the Julian calendar.

#22 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:59 AM

In my Best Quotes article yesterday, I included Hicks' comments about not playing winter ball. Needed a break. Mentally as much as physically. Didn't want to jump from such a bad place right in another season. I tend to agree. Needed to clear his mind.

#23 halfchest

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:10 AM

I think I've posted this before in other threads on Aaron Hicks but if you throw out those awful first ten games, he still put up odd looking numbers but for the OPS buff, they were at least "ok" April 15th - July 31st.

.222/.290/.397/.687

He still had a 3 - 1 K/BB ratio which sucks but he put some power out there took a few more walks and at least made some contact. It wouldn't take a lot for him to switch that to a 260/.330/.420 line. A little more discipline and a little more luck on BABIP could get him there. I'm confident he'll be much better this year. May never be an allstar but I think he can at least be a solid role player.

[TABLE="class: sortable stats_table"]
[TR="class: hl"]
[TD="align: right"]
.222[/TD]
[TD="align: right"].290[/TD]
[TD="align: right"].397[/TD]
[TD="align: right"].687[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

#24 halfchest

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:14 AM

Also, Denard Span's OPS over the past four years is .703 to give a little context.

#25 James

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:15 AM

Well, I was on this board, which has mixed feelings about everything right down to what day it is today. If you ask around I'm sure you'll find someone who has very strong feelings about the Julian calendar.

First of all, the Julian calendar is highly overrated...

I know that we're all hoping Hicks turns it around this year. I saw a lot of games that he played in last year (more than I probably want to admit). Hicks definitely showed flashes last year. I'm expecting a rebound from him this year. I'm not saying he's going to be a MVP candidate next year, but I'm expecting him to kick it up closer to his minor league numbers next year.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#26 JP3700

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:28 AM

I feel that Hicks was put in a position to fail from the start. Not only did he skip AAA, but he was thrust right into the leadoff spot. Hitting leadoff may not seem like much, but to a young kid who likely isn't even ready for the big leagues, it's additional pressure.

His slash line in the leadoff spot was .047/.109/.047 (.156 OPS) with a 43% K rate. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with adjusting to the league along with facing the likes of Verlander(as some pointed out), but I don't think the additional pressure of leading off helped.

When moved down in the lineup his OPS hovered around .700 and his K rate dropped under 25%.

I think Hicks will be an above average player for years to come with some good years in his prime. His K% will always keep his batting average down, but his skill set of speed, defense, power and plate discipline will make him quite valuable.

.240/.320/.400 with 20+ SB and plus defense(especially at a corner) is about what I'd expect from him.

I think the perfect comp to Hicks is Chris Young. They have an almost identical skill set. They also both struggle against RH pitching and mash LH pitching.

#27 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:32 AM

I think the perfect comp to Hicks is Chris Young. They have an almost identical skill set. They also both struggle against RH pitching and mash LH pitching.


I like this comp for accuracy and the insight behind it. But I'm not sure I'm encouraged that it's the right comp......

#28 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:36 AM

In my Best Quotes article yesterday, I included Hicks' comments about not playing winter ball. Needed a break. Mentally as much as physically. Didn't want to jump from such a bad place right in another season. I tend to agree. Needed to clear his mind.


After the catastrophe that was 2013, I don't blame him. Sometimes, the best "fix" for a problem is to sit back and reflect on it for a bit. Continuing to hammer your head against the wall isn't a good solution.

#29 ND-Fan

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:37 AM

I think he should start at triple A again this year and bring him up soon as he shows that he his ready for majors also keep expectations off him when he arrives. I still think he play into twins future as corner outfield if he can bring same numbers he has from minors to majors. He with Buxton in outfield would make it one of very good defensive outfields and will help cover for Arcia who will be in the outfield but will be playing more for his bat than his defensive abilities. With Hicks and Buxton the centerfielder can cheat more to position that Arcia is in because Hicks could cover the gap left by cheating the other way for Arcia. I think if Hicks develops numbers he has in minors he will be one of better outfielders in the Majors.

#30 Kwak

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

Disagreeing with the group-think syndrome--Hicks wasn't rushed! He spent nearly 5 full years in the Twins system before April 2013. This is like any college athlete including a red-shirt season. Rookies in any sport typically struggle--and we should expect it--irrespective of how many years are spent in "developmental leagues". There is something of a "Rookie hazing" in MLB (other sports too)--many a "close" pitch was a called strike for Hicks. Hicks' difficulties were magnified by batting him leadoff and being "encouraged" to take pitches, to work the count (and the pitcher). I am convinced Hicks would have performed much better if slotted 8th or 9th in the lineup rather than 1st.

Other indications about Hicks and his "struggles". Hicks was assigned to extended Spring training (in his first full-season) to convert him to a switch-hitter. This should have been noticed as a huge red flag, that hicks really wasn't an heir apparent to Hunter. Hicks was a 1st round choice. If there was (is!) a problem with breaking balls from RHPs, it should have been noticed before he was drafted--and be fully incorporated in his pre-draft evaluation. Ergo, Hicks was over evaluated and likely shouldn't have been a first round selection. To me, there were plenty of indicators that Hicks would struggle at first, especially when tasked as a leadoff hitter, and Hicks knowing full well that Buxton was deemed "the future". There is also way too much faith in experience at Rochester as a precursor to success at Minnesota especially in light of the numerous examples of "struggling players" to outright flops that have come through the Twins system.

Finally, (signals end of my rant!) Hunter wasn't an example of an "overwhelmed player" examined the stated statistics of the article. Hunter was "disciplined"--and he responded with the hoped-for ferocity in his performance when he wasted restored to the active roster. Hicks would be an example of "overwhelmed", but not Hunter.