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Thread: Article: Hicks Positioned to Take the Leap

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    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Article: Hicks Positioned to Take the Leap


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    Senior Member Double-A
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    Here is what you willl hear about Hicks when he is sent down- He needs triple A AB's - we have three young centerfielders and we need Hicks to play everday - He needs to work on his __________ so we sent him to triple A. He will be the centerfielder an hour after the full year of service date passes. That is usually around June 1st. No way out of spring training.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Otwins View Post
    Here is what you willl hear about Hicks when he is sent down- He needs triple A AB's - we have three young centerfielders and we need Hicks to play everday - He needs to work on his __________ so we sent him to triple A. He will be the centerfielder an hour after the full year of service date passes. That is usually around June 1st. No way out of spring training.
    Actually the 'full year of service time' is about 2 wks into a year. Then MN will have him for 2 wks short of 7yrs before he'd have FA rights instead of 6yrs.
    What you may be thinking of is arbitration rights...which is about mid June.
    But we all fear you are correct

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Why should I buy a ticket if things don't change? Twins management has to realize that there's not much reason to be interested in this team if we get another year of the same old crap as the last two years. With promising new faces like Hicks, at least we get to cheer for the future.

    Bring up the kids, give them a taste of the bigs. Let them see the giant new stadium and hear the enormous volume of thousands of people. Will they be intimidated? Fine, get the novelty out of the way. Screw all the clever contract moves. This team sucks, and everybody knows it. Make some big changes, or lose your fan base.

  6. #6
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.
    IMO, Joe Benson needs more than a good spring to earn a chance at starting in the majors. He looked horrible during his first MLB stint and couldn't hit anywhere last year even when healthy. There were serious question marks about his plate approach even before 2012, so I personally don't think he should even be in the conversation at this point. Maybe after a few good months in Rochester.

    For me, the choices come down to Mastroianni, Hicks or outside stopgap. Choosing Mastro would require them to find another fourth OF who can play center. If the org truly believes it will be more beneficial for Hicks' development to get a few months in Triple-A before tasting the majors, so be it, but I'd hope that's the only factor in their evaluation. I don't believe the contract stuff should have much bearing.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    They might believe it but I don't.

    Revere was clearly ML ready when he was called up. Parmelee was 24 and had to go back to AAA before getting what looks like a more permanent call-up, and we know how things went with Dozier, where they predicted his success based on AA numbers. Parmelee and Revere both showed success at AAA.

    If anything the Gomez comparison should be cause for hesitation. Hicks may be ready, but he should spend at least some time in AAA to make sure.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    I think Hicks needs to start the season in AAA for financial reasons regardless. I think what Seth was saying is he hopes Benson shows he can be that stop gap CF instead of going outside the organization.

    Now in spring training if Hicks is so much better than everyone else playing then yes he needs to start the season as the CF but not if he is tied for the job because of the financial implications noted above.

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    Senior Member Triple-A raindog's Avatar
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    Waiting a few weeks to get an extra year of service time is absolutely a good idea. And it's not like he couldn't use some time at AAA.

    As for Benson, it's been said he also played through some injuries last year, accounting for some of his struggles. Maybe Seth knows a little more about that.

    EDIT: As much as I like Benson, I just came across this piece of trash:
    http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_r...2_a7&eref=sihp
    Last edited by raindog; 12-10-2012 at 07:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.
    IMO, Joe Benson needs more than a good spring to earn a chance at starting in the majors. He looked horrible during his first MLB stint and couldn't hit anywhere last year even when healthy. There were serious question marks about his plate approach even before 2012, so I personally don't think he should even be in the conversation at this point. Maybe after a few good months in Rochester.

    For me, the choices come down to Mastroianni, Hicks or outside stopgap. Choosing Mastro would require them to find another fourth OF who can play center. If the org truly believes it will be more beneficial for Hicks' development to get a few months in Triple-A before tasting the majors, so be it, but I'd hope that's the only factor in their evaluation. I don't believe the contract stuff should have much bearing.
    In defense of Benson, I did hear that there were other, unpublicized injuries that took their toll on him, in addition to the injuries that were known to Twins fans. I wonder if, at any point in the season, he was even close to 100% healthy? Either way, though, it was a totally lost season, and he certainly has a chip on his shoulder going into 2013.

    As for the service time argument, yes I do think it matters in this situtation. I'm accepting that there is little chance that the Twins are going to compete for the playoffs in 2013. If you believe that Hicks is the best CF option for this team (which I do) to open the season, then, yes, if this team was playoff contender, perhaps it makes the most sense to sacrifice that extra year of team control and put the best player on the field the full season. With this Twins club, however, the focus clearly is on the future. Sacrificing a few weeks, or 2 months, or whatever it is, of Hicks in CF doesn't damage the present very much, and if we believe that Hicks is the future CF for the Twins, having an entire extra year of team control makes Hicks more valuable, not just to the Twins, but to other teams in the future, should a guy like Byron Buxton make Hicks a tradeable commodity at some point.
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    I am mot sure why worrying about future arbitration matters. By the time he is eligible, they will have almost all players making the minimum. At some point, they do need to sell tickets somehow. But I think Seth and others are correct in assuming it is about money for the Twins

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    Senior Member All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    I don't think the Twins will send him down to AAA for arb. reasons if he blows them out of the water in ST. I think he's going to get a lot of chances to impress the coaches and if he does, I bet he's with the club at the start of the season.

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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    I need to side with Seth on this one, ie, I am on record from several months ago stating that Joe Benson will have a break out season in 2013. Thus, I believe he can and will be the starting centerfielder on opening day. It is my understanding that he went in for knee surgery expecting a minor cleanout. When in his knee, the surgeons learned there was a lot of damage and did a much more serious procedure.

    We don't know how long that injury had been affecting his play. Yes, he got off to a more than slow start at Rochester which weighed on his psyche. But the effect of his injuries (hamate bone and knee) certainly was a major reason his entire season was a disaster.

    With that said, I believe the Twins believe he is a legimate candidate to be in center on opening day. He has the skills that in many ways are equal to Hicks. Unlike some, I don't believe his play with the Twins in September, 2011 was a disaster. I saw a tremendously skilled young man getting his first glimpse of the 'show.' I remember the game he almost hit for the cycle as a glimpse of what could come. Does he have some things he needs to work on, certainly. But when it happens, he could become a superstar!

  14. #14
    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    I'm really high on Hicks as well and it's nice to see that the org thinks he's good enough to play already. He could develop into the best leadoff hitter in the game.

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    I don't know if the clock will have a huge impact on Hicks. He might not be ready, he might struggle and get sent down, but I don't think they'll worry too much about service time.

    In any event, I'm excited for him. Here's hoping.

  16. #16
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    I am mot sure why worrying about future arbitration matters. By the time he is eligible, they will have almost all players making the minimum. At some point, they do need to sell tickets somehow. But I think Seth and others are correct in assuming it is about money for the Twins
    It has nothing to do with money, in my opinion... It has to do with this... The Twins (most likely) aren't going to compete for a playoff spot in 2013 no matter who they bring in or call up... They've got prospects now that should potentially make them competitive for awhile starting in 2014 or 2015. If Hicks starts the season with the Twins (and stays up for good), he'll be here through 2018. If they have him spend a month in Rochester to start the season and then call him up (and he stays up for good), he'll be here through the 2019 season. Has nothing to do with money. Has everything to do with keeping what may become a quality player for an extra season in his prime when the Twins should be competing.

  17. #17
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    I think he'll get a chance right away. I think you're right about it being his job to lose. Benson or Mastro could beat him out. But I expect him to win the job out of Spring Training. He won't make the team if he doesn't win the starting job. But I expect him to win the starting job.

    Here is a complete list of top position player prospects they have promoted directly from AA:

    Mauer
    Revere
    Benson
    Parmelee
    Dozier

    Not all of those guys stayed up. But the guys who were drafted in the first round stayed up. Also note: Hicks was the highest drafted position player since Mauer (16th overall). From the time he was drafted until the time they signed Sano, he was by far the best position player in the system. I think it's fair to say the really want him to win the job out of spring training.

  18. #18
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    I don't know if the clock will have a huge impact on Hicks. He might not be ready, he might struggle and get sent down, but I don't think they'll worry too much about service time.

    In any event, I'm excited for him. Here's hoping.
    With the Twins, I don't think the free agency or arbitration 'clocks' will matter. IF they think he's ready, they'll have him start the season with them. There is plenty of precedence for that. Joe Mauer was on the opening day roster in 2004. Last year, Parmelee and Hendriks were Opening Day roster guys.

    the only scary thing about opening up this kind of competition for spring training is that typically spring training stats mean absolutely nothing.

  19. #19
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I doubt they are going to worry about his arbitration clock.

    Benson still could end up being a better play, but after last year's mess, he needs to right the ship in AAA.

  20. #20
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I don't think ST is going to matter in terms of statistical performance unless there is some wild difference between one and the other two. If Hicks looks like he can handle the role, I think it will be his job. From many Twins fans writing him off before 2012 to leading off and playing CF in 2013? I would love that on principle!

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