06-12-2014, 12:22 AM #21
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A) The Twins "bet big" on him--and the results make them look foolish.
B) The Twins are huge about playing "The Twins Way". Hicks is perceived as not getting it.
C) Hicks had "lost his future CF status" the moment Buxton was drafted--Hicks became expendable. The fact that Hicks "has struggled" means when Hicks' value has plummetted to "bust" status. The hoped-for return (think trades of Revere/Span) for "moving" Hicks is neglible.
D) Even worse, if Hicks winds-up at another team, turns everything around and becomes a useful ML player--the Twins look even worse than they do today vis`a vis` Hicks.
So yes, there are many who are "upset" with Hicks.
06-12-2014, 12:40 AM #22
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As a long time teacher, I hope the Twins realize that you don't EVER give up on a young person. There's always a chance, probably a decent chance, that someone like Hicks can turn it around. In this case, between Santana and Buxton, there's a good chance we don't need Hicks.
But, his development is still crucial, as a trade chip or a fill-in or a regular. In other words, the Twins should not allow their disappointment in Hicks to distract them from the goal at hand: develop this kid, make him a ball player, whatever it takes.
06-12-2014, 01:21 AM #23
Arcia seems to have figured out playing in the majors leagues is better than Rochester. Arcia is the better player but Hicks is should be good enough to man CF until Buxton is ready. Which might not be until 2016.
06-12-2014, 05:28 AM #24
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06-12-2014, 06:15 AM #25
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Hunter was very similar to Hicks. Even after a full season in the bigs, he needed to be sent back to AAA before he figured it out at age 26. Hicks is only 24 and has yet to play a full season in Rochester. He was rushed up because of the 2 trades before he was ready. I hope the Twins don't give up on him. I think he has the potential to be a late bloomer like Hunter and Gomez and if they toss him out, he'll bloom somewhere else. (Gomez was also 26 before he got it - his 3rd season with Milwaukee).
Last edited by ScottyB; 06-12-2014 at 06:20 AM.
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Stan Zbornak (06-12-2014)
06-12-2014, 07:55 AM #26
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06-12-2014, 07:58 AM #27
So we have to be content speculating, that's just how it is. For my part, I totally understand the team's frustration. I'm frustrated watching him and his decisions, I can't imagine being on the same team as him.
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06-12-2014, 08:17 AM #28
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It is an organizational choice. You can decide to be matter of fact and not get into motivations or character about a player.
In yesterday's game, Suzuki was out at second on a close play trying to get a double. It didn't need to be a close play. He didn't hustle out of the box. The Twins have a choice on how they present it. They can not mention it and minimize it if asked. They can be matter of fact by doing no more than simply acknowledging he didn't run hard out of the box. They can elaborate and get into why he didn't run out if the box. This might include joking about it, giving an opinion, speculating on character or motivation. I am not sure if it came up at all in the press conference. If it wasn't asked about, it was Gardenhire's choice whether to bring it up.
Which is better for the team?
06-12-2014, 08:41 AM #29
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It's interesting to me because it seems like Hicks has made some significant progress since abandoning switch hitting. Since the switch, his line is 231/412/308. For the last 30 days, it's 267/400/311. Both lines are above average (112 wRC+). It's a better line than Escobar or Nunez in the same time frame (wRC+ of 107 and 102 respectively).
Heck, Fuld's season line is 250/291/365 (wRC+ of 82).
I understand that he's not living up to expectations, but since he was called out, he's been hitting better than average, and he's been hitting better than his replacement. What else is he supposed to do?
06-12-2014, 08:47 AM #30
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He'll get sent down and he might not come back again this season but the Twins aren't going to release him - just like Perkins, who filed a grievance, sucked and pissed off the fanbase to an incredible degree. Hopefully the time in AAA helps him.
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Mike Frasier Law (06-13-2014)
06-12-2014, 08:57 AM #31
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06-12-2014, 09:11 AM #32
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I doubt they will cut ties with him just yet. Hopefully he will figure things out in the minors although I don't have all that much confidence he will.
I'd love to think it will play out like Hunter or Gomez but there are significant differences. Gomez always had great talent, he just needed to learn to play under control & not swing at pitches 3 ft out of the strike zone. Hunter was also overly aggressive & it just took a little longer for him to develop. If a pitcher threw the ball over the middle of the plate they both could do damage. Hicks can swing right thru a mistake pitch plus plate discipline isn't his problem.
Hicks has NEVER shown the ability to hit RH pitching plus he doesn't seem to have the same drive or desire that Gomez & Hunter displayed. With them it was never a question of them trying hard enough or wanting it enough. I don't get that same vibe from Hicks.
06-12-2014, 09:22 AM #33
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Lots of armchair psychologists here.
He needs to go to AAA so he can get more experience hitting RHP from the RH side of the plate. That's all they need to say.
06-12-2014, 09:26 AM #34
I honestly don't understand this Hicks story or where the information being fed to LEN3 is coming from.
In mid-May (not quite a month ago), we read about his lack of preparation including the line that he sometimes came to the ballpark w/o knowing th days opposing pitcher. In partial response to that one, Berardino made it clear that Hicks always knew who they were facing when he talked with him pre-game. (not going to look up that tweet/story but I remember it).
Then on May 29, the PP published an article entitled "Twins' Hicks Arriving Early, Taking More Cuts"
which included this:
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said a bat has to be pried out of the hands of center fielder Aaron Hicks.
"He has had a bat in his hand every five seconds," Gardenhire said. "It's a little overkill for him."
Since the initial stories, Hicks' line has been: .263/.391/.316/.707
Not stellar but better than the start of the year and moving up.
In the last 7 days: .400/.500/.600/1.100
I realize he hasn't played much but it's hard to see anything too wrong there.
Then on Saturday, Hicks injured his shoulder making a pretty good diving catch -- personally, I wondered if he injured his shoulder right when the catch was made given the way he landed. I don't know why anyone would question soreness/stiffness in his shoulder.
We've seen other stories this week about Hicks' shoulder stiffness/soreness. There's also been some speculation around here that he needs to go to AAA to work on his game as a full-time right-handed batter. But they've just been ordinary stories/reports.
But I have been searching around the net and can't find anyone else with the venom of LEN3's comments.
They finally criticized him in the press for not preparing well. And he hasn't responded.
There are people in the organization who believe he's blowing his chance here.
Hasn't responded? It looks to me like he has responded on the field. And from the little I could find, it sounds like he was working harder.
Then he had 2 injuries/near injuries in the field. The first on the leaping catch which saved a HR at the end of May. Gardenhire responded to that by keeping him on the bench for a couple of games as a precautionary measure (there was some discussion that he hurt his side going above the wall). And now we have the shoulder soreness -- if you watch that catch, I don't know why anyone might question that his shoulder might be sore.
The thing that bothers me most is LEN3's statement that: "There are people in this organization who believe he's blowing his chance here". I don't know if this LEN3 printing some speculation because frankly, his coverage has been blown away by most other reporters coverage, or if someone in the Twins organization is feeding this to hm.
I've gone through a lot of other posts and can't find any other reporter speculating in this way.
While I think Aaron Hicks may well be put on the DL or optioned to Rochester, I think some of this pot-stirring may well be bad, lazy journalism.
06-12-2014, 09:29 AM #35
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It seems to me that there are 2 aspects of the problem: One is Hicks struggles, the change from switch hitting, should he be demoted?, etc. On that aspect, pretty much everyone agrees that he should go to AAA at least to easy the transition to exclusive right handed hitting and so on. And then who knows.. Will he come back and be a great player? I don't think anybody knows right know.
The second aspect is the "Slowey" treatment that he is receiving: the organization using the friendly media (Dick Bremer, the Star Tribune bloggers) to question his motivations, to spread rumors that should be better kept inside. That to me is a horrible practice. How do you feel if in your job your boss pread the rumor that you are not really trying to work hard? And to do that to a 24 yr old, that was rushed to the majors because of organizational need? That part is really a shame, and is not the first time they do that.
06-12-2014, 09:47 AM #36
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I have always seen Hicks' problem as one of maturity. In hindsight it appears giving up on switch hitting was an reactive response to criticism and an attempt to appease his detractors. It appears now that he simply handed the Twins the excuse they needed to send him down - to build his skills as a right handed hitter against right handed pitching.
Santana's play has removed the desperation the Twins have about centerfield.
The Twins are making a legitimate playoff push - no more time for projects on the roster. I think we have seen the last of Aaron Hicks for 2014.
06-12-2014, 09:58 AM #37
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My interest in Hicks has increased since he has given up SH. Clearly he needs time in AAA to work on this but he has tools at least.
I wish people would stop using 25 PA sample sizes as evidence that Hicks is doing better since time X. He's had like 5 hits in that time. All he needs is a couple bloopers and he looks 'average' over 25 PA's.
I was at the Texas game (possibly his first day giving up SH) and he had a couple of hits but he also made a couple boneheaded plays also. I can't remember what but stuff like getting picked off or doubled off. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the Twins angst is that he's not only playing poorly but he is also making the bad rookie mistakes. Those might be tolerated if you are playing well (like the suzuki example) but perhaps unfairly they will get blown up if you are doing terrible.
06-12-2014, 10:06 AM #38
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- "People" in the FO don't like his effort.
- Hicks has a bad attitude.
- Hicks seems like he doesn't have much drive to win.
- Hicks isn't willing to make adjustments to succeed at the ML level.
- Since being "called out," Hicks has put up respectable numbers across the board and has made good plays in the field in limited playing time.
- The Twins organization is scraping the barrel for CF depth.
- Hicks is the best OF on the 25-man roster (okay, this is just my opinion, but an educated one?)
- Hicks chose to abandon switch hitting because he felt it gives him a better chance at success long-term. We can debate whether that decision was a smart one, but you cannot deny that making such a large change in approach demonstrates his determination to be a successful major-league player, whatever it takes.
- He is near the Mendoza-line in BA and has a very respectable OBP. His OPS+ is 7 points higher than last year. He surprisingly has positive BbRef oWAR at this point (0.3).
Hicks needs PAs, not bench time, especially in light in changing to RH only. He deserves PAs because he is talented, has desire to succeed, and fills a position of organizational need. A demotion to AAA should be based on his need for PAs, not speculation about poor character or the FO/Strib's desire to never have vacancy in the doghouse located under the team bus.
06-12-2014, 10:37 AM #39
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Also, Hunter (and Gomez) never really struggled like Hicks is doing -- even before they "got it", they were .250 AVG hitters with .100+ isolated power. Hunter in particular didn't K much either. Neither one was a good MLB hitter at that point, but those are pretty standard MLB lines, either for bench/role players or developing players.
Hicks' line is just weird -- consistent sub-.200 AVG, power evaporating, but walk rate rising? Enough weird stuff going on there to suggest maybe he's still a capable player just mired in a bizarre phase right now, although he could very well be an incapable player in such a phase too.
He won't get tossed out yet -- hopefully he can play everyday in Rochester for awhile, maybe even well into 2015, and see what happens.
06-12-2014, 10:45 AM #40
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Progress will be when he starts looking like a .250+ AVG baseline hitter, or when he can sustain .120+ isolated power. Walks and OBP are nice, but he has to have SOMETHING else.