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Thread: Article: Second Chance for Aaron Hicks

  1. #21
    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    All the stats on the back of his baseball card count. But if you are trying to use his 2013 season at age 23 to forecast what's to come, I think he (more than most) deserves a closer look. I've posted this before, but it gives me comfort to review it again.

    By my reading of his game log, there was a six week stretch starting in late April where his OPS was almost .700. Not bad for that age. Then he got hurt and was out three weeks. When he came back, he seemed to pick up where he left off and posted OPS above .800 for a couple of weeks.

    After the All Star break he was really terrible at bat, and I believe it was said he had some physical issues again sometime before being sent to AAA after July. Because he had been clearly getting himself out, the first two weeks in April, and then had a bizarre week right after that where his OBP was .476 based on top of a .167 BA, presumably having adjusted to the pitchers' approach to him, the start and end of his season combined for horrifying numbers.

    If that's cherry picking, so be it, but the Small Sample Size of 29 games where he stunk was smaller than the Small Sample Size of 52 games where he was a useful major league player. He still, to me, has fantastic promise.

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  3. #22
    Super Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
    All the stats on the back of his baseball card count. But if you are trying to use his 2013 season at age 23 to forecast what's to come, I think he (more than most) deserves a closer look. I've posted this before, but it gives me comfort to review it again.

    By my reading of his game log, there was a six week stretch starting in late April where his OPS was almost .700. Not bad for that age. Then he got hurt and was out three weeks. When he came back, he seemed to pick up where he left off and posted OPS above .800 for a couple of weeks.

    After the All Star break he was really terrible at bat, and I believe it was said he had some physical issues again sometime before being sent to AAA after July. Because he had been clearly getting himself out, the first two weeks in April, and then had a bizarre week right after that where his OBP was .476 based on top of a .167 BA, presumably having adjusted to the pitchers' approach to him, the start and end of his season combined for horrifying numbers.

    If that's cherry picking, so be it, but the Small Sample Size of 29 games where he stunk was smaller than the Small Sample Size of 52 games where he was a useful major league player. He still, to me, has fantastic promise.
    Great Post... I love combing through Game Logs... There is a bunch of useful information looking at days by days.

    Hicks will be a Solid Twin for a long time. If it's this year is up to Aaron.
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  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    Great Post... I love combing through Game Logs... There is a bunch of useful information looking at days by days.

    Hicks will be a Solid Twin for a long time. If it's this year is up to Aaron.
    I think 2013 was a bit of an abberation as well. You just get the feeling that he is too talented to be as bad as he was last year.

    It seems like he has the talent to at least be average in most offensive categories, with plus range/arm.

    .270-.280 Average
    20-25 SB
    .330-.340 OBP
    15 HR
    25 2B

  5. #24
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    "Hicks's experience should serve to sober the enthusiasts of Twins' prospect's MiL statistics--"it's a whole new game" as they say." I see no reason for it to sober my view. First off the Hicks experience is quite possibly still in the very early stages. Secondly, Hicks was never ranked as high as these other guys. I accept that some may not make it in the majors but expect that some ranked below Hicks will make it. Purely my own opinion but I think he would have been better off focusing just hitting right handed rather than pushing the switch hitting. Of course we will never know if my position is right or wrong ( I suppose the same could be said about Mantle and Murray.) I also am looking forward to an outfield of Hicks, Rosario and Buxton. I've seen enough of Willingham, Young and Arcia. The difference between getting to balls no one expects you to get, and not getting to balls that should be fairly routine, is pretty huge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Stumbling in your first exposure to MLB isn't new, nor is it fatal for your career. Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and others have had false starts, regrouped and gone on to successful careers.
    Span and Cuddyer? That's a pretty wide definition of "false start" or "stumbling". Both of those guys were league-average or better hitters after, at most, 20-30 MLB plate appearances.

    Dozier is obviously the better comp -- basically, you've got to have a disastrous first MLB season (and a fairly disastrous first AAA season makes the comp even better). Unfortunately for Hicks, Dozier's rebound is definitely in the minority among such players...

  7. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Span and Cuddyer? That's a pretty wide definition of "false start" or "stumbling". Both of those guys were league-average or better hitters after, at most, 20-30 MLB plate appearances.

    Dozier is obviously the better comp -- basically, you've got to have a disastrous first MLB season (and a fairly disastrous first AAA season makes the comp even better). Unfortunately for Hicks, Dozier's rebound is definitely in the minority among such players...
    Actually Cuddyer was up and down in 2002 and 2003 so pretty good comparison. If Hicks gets a shot this year and does well. and he is regular in corner OF next year that would be good. I think it is possible.

  8. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    Of course.... it's never really been a question... only with fans.
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  9. #28
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    All we really know is that he was bad last year, really bad. We also know that he walked a good amount in the minors, and that until he shows he can hit MLB strikes, that won't happen in the majors. So it's all about the swing, can he fix the swing or not. Oh, and his defense was not elite as advertised, that needs to improve, imo. But he's certainly way too young to give up on, but then, I don't know anyone that has done so.
    Lighten up Francis....

  10. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
    Actually Cuddyer was up and down in 2002 and 2003 so pretty good comparison. If Hicks gets a shot this year and does well. and he is regular in corner OF next year that would be good. I think it is possible.
    A few trips between AAA and MLB does not mean the guy had a false start or stumbled. After his 20 PA cup of coffee, Cuddyer was a league average MLB hitter. Span was above average after his first 30 PA month.

  11. #30
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    I should of mentioned in my earlier post that I doubt Mastro will be any competition this spring. He was limping around pretty bad for a part of this morning. His ankle is still giving him problems. I hate to see that after last year, but I think he'll be on limited action when Gardy gets here. He did take batting practice and shagged in the outfield and looked normal, but after earlier warm ups he was really hurting.

  12. #31
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
    Actually Cuddyer was up and down in 2002 and 2003 so pretty good comparison. If Hicks gets a shot this year and does well. and he is regular in corner OF next year that would be good. I think it is possible.
    And I'm pretty sure Span got sent down in 2008 or so for a while, lit up AAA and came back up and stuck with the Twins, but I really don't care enough to look it up. Point remains the same. Hicks wouldn't be the first guy to struggle and still come back to have a productive career. I think even some guy named Mantle followed the same indirect route a few years ago.
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  13. #32
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    Terrific article Seth!! I have my doubts about Hicks being a consistent everyday player but there is no doubt he has the talent. I think a fair comparison would be Joe Benson. He showed signs of greatness in a few games too and was released. However, Hicks will be given plenty of time to put it all together. If he does the Twins will have their LF for the next 5-7 years.

  14. #33
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
    Sure, we're all fans. I'm just saying that the Twins have likely never considered it. Certainly not publically.

  15. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuchadoro View Post
    Great response. I am not cherry picking stats here. Just checked out the splits of 4 guys. Mickey Mantle hit .330 from the right side and .281 from the left. Eddie Murray hit .283 from the left and .276 from the right. Kirby Pucket hit .337 against lefties and .311 against righties. Joe Mauer hit .336 against righties and .297 against lefties. Couple observations. Mantle is probably considered the greatest switch hitter of all time but one has to wonder about that 49 point difference in batting average in his splits. By contract Puckett had only a 26 point split difference. Maybe Mantle should have just stuck with the right side. Hard to believe he would have done worse than .281 and maybe he does better against righties and lefties by always seeing and practicing from the right side. Judging by Mauer splits it reinforces the idea that righties do better against righties than lefties do against lefties. Morneau also had a large difference. My point is that Hicks has worked so hard to hit from the left side against righties but it is hard to believe he couldn't have done just as well or possibly much better hitting solely right handed. I agree it is late in the game to switch but is it really so ridiculous to think he can do it. I think most will agree that he has a major league right handed swing. Is his pitch recognition really going to suffer that much if he sees righties pitching while he is a rightie? Will it really be worse than what we have seen from him as a lefty? I suspect that if they made him just a righty from the get go he would already have two major league years under his belt by now.

  16. #35
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Hicks is due for a rebound. His career OPS even and odd year seasons:

    2008 .900
    2009 .735
    2010 .829
    2011 .722
    2012 .844
    2013 .650/.597 (AAA/MLB)

    If this trend continues, he should be right at Span's career high (.819) OPS (age 24 as well) season and I think that worse case scenario would be Span's average career season (.738) OPS.

    Presley is a 4th OF type and this team should not really bench Hicks or send him to AAA for him. For the Twins to be competitive, they need Hicks to be the starter and perform well and not at AAA.

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  18. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    And I'm pretty sure Span got sent down in 2008 or so for a while, lit up AAA and came back up and stuck with the Twins, but I really don't care enough to look it up. Point remains the same. Hicks wouldn't be the first guy to struggle and still come back to have a productive career. I think even some guy named Mantle followed the same indirect route a few years ago.
    I just think there is a world of difference between getting a cup of coffee as a fill-in or bench guy then getting sent down, like Span and Cuddy, and being given a starting job, failing, and getting demoted like Dozier and Hicks. The two situations aren't at all similar from a player performance standpoint.

  19. #37
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
    Maybe Mantle should have just stuck with the right side. Hard to believe he would have done worse than .281 and maybe he does better against righties and lefties by always seeing and practicing from the right side.
    Mantle also walked considerably more from the left side, leaving him with nearly identical OBP splits.

    Career OPS from each side, .965 left, .999 right, not much of a difference.
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  21. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
    Mantle also walked considerably more from the left side, leaving him with nearly identical OBP splits.

    Career OPS from each side, .965 left, .999 right, not much of a difference.
    You are right of course. His OBP was only slightly better from the right side. Being more of an OBP guy you would think I would have noticed that. I wonder why his walk rate was so much better from the left side but his average was so much better from the other side. Very odd stats as I read them. His strikeout splits were almost identical to his walk splits. You would think with the average being so heavily in favor of his right side that lefties would have been more afraid of him leading to more walks than the righties, especially since his slugging % was a little better from the right side also. Are right handers really that much smarter than lefties?

  22. #39
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
    You are right of course. His OBP was only slightly better from the right side. Being more of an OBP guy you would think I would have noticed that. I wonder why his walk rate was so much better from the left side but his average was so much better from the other side. Very odd stats as I read them. His strikeout splits were almost identical to his walk splits. You would think with the average being so heavily in favor of his right side that lefties would have been more afraid of him leading to more walks than the righties, especially since his slugging % was a little better from the right side also. Are right handers really that much smarter than lefties?

    Good food for thought, but I've got no answers.
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  23. #40
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer crarko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
    Are right handers really that much smarter than lefties?
    Mozart, Einstein, Da Vinci, and Neil Armstrong probably didn't think so.

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