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Thread: Article: Put Him in Coach? Aaron Hicks is Ready for Center Field

  1. #21
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    I am really rooting for him not so much for what he can contribute for this year but to prove we can rely on him for the future. An outfield of Hicks, Buxton and Rosario could truly be elite defensively. I never really appreciated elite outfield defense until I saw a series at home against the Rays a couple years back. We lost the series instead of sweeping it because we didn't get to balls we should have and they got to balls I thought they had no chance at. What a difference it makes! There will be games where there are 2 or 3 extra base hits that are turned into outs. When Denard Span moved to right field a few years ago he showed the impact of having speed in the corners as well as center field. I can definitely see Hicks being a superior corner outfielder.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfchest View Post
    I'm a huge fan of having a guy in the corner that can handle CF so you don't need a pressley/Tyner/etc. type on your bench.
    That is a good point. You could have a guy with defensive flexibility like Escobar back up CF (but who could hit better). You could open the door for a nice platoon at 3B, LR, or RF. For example, if you had a left handed hitter with good splits against righties, he could platoon with Plouffe at 3B, with the DH or LF, etc.

  4. #23
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    I'm hopeful and more optimistic than some that Hicks will start showing the promise we saw from him and will be a solid CF for us, but I have to say anytime a team talks about removing any competition for a player to make him feel better I start worrying a lot. He's supposed to play in the majors, but can't handle the pressure of a player coming for his job? Isn't this the logic the Vikings used with Ponder? No competition, and he'll feel so confident, it'll be great! How'd that work out?

  5. #24
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandbun View Post
    I'm hopeful and more optimistic than some that Hicks will start showing the promise we saw from him and will be a solid CF for us, but I have to say anytime a team talks about removing any competition for a player to make him feel better I start worrying a lot. He's supposed to play in the majors, but can't handle the pressure of a player coming for his job? Isn't this the logic the Vikings used with Ponder? No competition, and he'll feel so confident, it'll be great! How'd that work out?
    No one in the organization said that. That was speculation from those here. He had to beat out Presley or go back to AAA. He did that, resoundingly.

    The pressure is off primarily because of confidence, maturity and familiarity. Also, batting eighth should help.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  6. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    No one in the organization said that. That was speculation from those here. He had to beat out Presley or go back to AAA. He did that, resoundingly.

    The pressure is off primarily because of confidence, maturity and familiarity. Also, batting eighth should help.
    Phil Miller ‏@MillerStrib 18h The idea, Gardy said, is to take as much pressure off Hicks as possible. He'll play every day.

  7. #26
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Yeah, I read Gardy's statement as it was batting him eighth to reduce the pressure, not removing the competition (such as it was).

    I expect by May sometime to see Hicks again hitting lead off.

  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
    Yeah, I read Gardy's statement as it was batting him eighth to reduce the pressure, not removing the competition (such as it was).

    I expect by May sometime to see Hicks again hitting lead off.
    Looking again you're probably right. I don't follow Miller and just grabbed the quote from Wetmore's retweet which didn't include the previous tweet. So I missed the context. Sorry. I still don't like that he's working without a net though.
    Last edited by sandbun; 03-28-2014 at 11:14 AM.

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    There may certainly still be the pressure to live up to expectations -- that never really goes away until you do.

    Two ways to read that sentence.

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  11. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfchest View Post
    Me and a buddy were just discussing how odd it was that Hicks was as bad as he was last year. One thing that has been pretty consistent for him is IsoD and I also understand this generally translates very well up the chain.
    Does it? Seems like every recent Twins prospect has had real trouble in the BB% and K% departments upon hitting MLB (and some of them even in AAA).

    Of course, it's quite possible that most of these "prospects" were more of the AAA/AAAA variety to begin with, but it was a bit alarming to see it happen (and so severely) to Hicks and Arcia last year, two honest-to-goodness prospects.

    FWIW, this spring, Hicks has 2 BB vs 6 Ks in 49 PA. (And Arcia 3 BB vs 16 Ks in 53 PA.)

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  13. #30
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    Not sure honestly

    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Does it? Seems like every recent Twins prospect has had real trouble in the BB% and K% departments upon hitting MLB (and some of them even in AAA).

    Of course, it's quite possible that most of these "prospects" were more of the AAA/AAAA variety to begin with, but it was a bit alarming to see it happen (and so severely) to Hicks and Arcia last year, two honest-to-goodness prospects.

    FWIW, this spring, Hicks has 2 BB vs 6 Ks in 49 PA. (And Arcia 3 BB vs 16 Ks in 53 PA.)
    I know I've read that somewhere that discipline is a better sign than something like batting average and translates better as well. So a prospect is more likely to replicate discipline than a high batting average. I don't have a source I just know I've read that in the past and it's one reason I'm hopeful for Hicks. Arcia doesn't have the discipline that Hicks has shown in the minors either. Both of those guys had their first taste last year so this will tell a lot about them in the next few months. Hopefully Arcia avoids striking out 20 times in a row again or whatever that horrid streak he went on last year. I'll see if I can find something that backs up IsoD and how it translates to MLB numbers.

  14. #31
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    To me, it's not as much about walks but pitch selection. If he waits for his pitch, he has a chance (from the left side, anyway).

  15. #32
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    Pitch selection and discipline are meaningless if you can't make contact at pitches in the zone.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfchest View Post
    I know I've read that somewhere that discipline is a better sign than something like batting average and translates better as well. So a prospect is more likely to replicate discipline than a high batting average.
    Could be. I'm pretty sure IsoD is more consistent from year to year than batting average, among MLB players at least. Perhaps with isolated power slotting between them?

    It also seems logical that IsoD would be "easier" to translate from the minors to MLB too, at least compared to AVG or ISO. How much easier, I'm not sure.

    I too am encouraged by Hicks' IsoD history, and I hope it bounces back. I'd really like to see a genuine low K hitter come up from the minors one of these days too, although if they start hitting well otherwise I guess I don't care how much they K. Jorge Polanco looks like the next low-K guy, but he's still in A-ball.

  17. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    FWIW, this spring, Hicks has 2 BB vs 6 Ks in 49 PA. (And Arcia 3 BB vs 16 Ks in 53 PA.)
    I think this is a very brief sample size and given his track record, I am not worried. He is hitting .340 this spring and his walk rate was 7.6% last year.

  18. #35
    Senior Member Triple-A Jerr's Avatar
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    Hicks should have more confidence due to the work he has done since he was sent down.
    Pressure due to Pressley or Bartlett??? I would worry more if, I knew Bartlett was able to replace me

  19. #36
    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    I hope Hicks is ready... I'm pulling for him. If he gets going... I think he will be fun to watch.

    John Fogerty may have to play CF if Hicks isn't ready.
    A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

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  21. #37

    hicks lead off

    Quote Originally Posted by strumdatjag View Post
    I'd like to hope Hicks will become a star and a longterm solution for lead-off (Line-up Hicks, Buxton, Mauer, Sano . . . ), but think it will ultimately be Buxton at leadoff/CF. More realistically, I think we'll be accepting Hicks as a .250 to .275 hitter, at best, taking a role in the #7 or #8 spot with light power but decent speed - playing left field (maybe right if these reports on his arm are correct). There is enough talent in our system and with Mauer as #3 for a few more years, that this type of contribution should be satisfactory, but not dazzling.
    I can see a lineup of Hicks leading off followed by Mauer. Then Buxton batting third with Sano as the classic cleanup. I think Hicks will be a .300 plus, 20 big fly guy. I am extremely high on Hicks. Maybe switch Buxton and Hicks in the order. Mauer is an ideal #2 hitter with his patience and bat control.

  22. #38
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    I hope you're right

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I can see a lineup of Hicks leading off followed by Mauer. Then Buxton batting third with Sano as the classic cleanup. I think Hicks will be a .300 plus, 20 big fly guy. I am extremely high on Hicks. Maybe switch Buxton and Hicks in the order. Mauer is an ideal #2 hitter with his patience and bat control.
    Hicks has a minor league average of .269 and only batted over .300 once in rookie ball. I'll be happy if he can hit the .269, especially after last year. The 20 dingers is more of a possibility but again, he's never hit more than 13 in a year. That said, he's young and guys do often develop more power as they age but the batting average likely won't be near .300 at least not for a full season. If it does and he maintains his current IsoD, well then he's got OBP of .400 which would be amazing I'll settle for a .265/.355/.400 line from him. If he can do that consistently and play solid defense he'll be a very good CF and even solid corner OF for us for years.

  23. #39
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Pitch selection and discipline are meaningless if you can't make contact at pitches in the zone.
    Historically, he'll K about 20% of the time and walk about 15% of the time. So he's not a high-contact guy. When he makes contact, he has a high LD% and a correspondingly high BABIP. He also has a high IsoD throughout his career. So, yeah, Ben Revere he's not. I for one am glad for that.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  24. #40
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    By the way, throughout his career, he has had a BABIP over .300, often close to .350. Last year in the majors, it slumped to .241. In addition to all the mental errors and other mistakes, he was also unlucky.

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