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Thread: Article: TD Top Prospects: #3 Aaron Hicks

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    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Article: TD Top Prospects: #3 Aaron Hicks


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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    I agree with this. Guys with this upside need some patience. Think of Hunter and Span. Neither had the career at this point that Hicks has had. Warts and all. It's no exaggeration to say that the presence of Aaron hicks gave the Twins the confidence to trade two center fielders in one offseason. That's the best endorsement you can make.

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    We all know the succession of successful Twins in CF. It sounds as though Hicks might be a combination of Puckett, Hunter, and Span with some of the best from each of them. My question. Is there a non-Twin comp from the past 20-30 years who compares more favorably to Hicks potential than any of our three beloved former Twins?

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    There is a nice article by Mike Newman on FanGraphs - Like Aaron Hicks, Buxton Will Require Patience
    Newman notes that Hicks has seemed underwhelming at times probably because the expectations were so high.
    Some interesting points were that Hicks has never been less than above average at any level and in 2012 his offense was 33% better than league average.
    He then goes on to talk more about Buxton, but I was encouraged by what I read about Hicks.

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    Hicks seems underrated to me. Last year- Denard Span had a .340 OBP with a .400 SLG yet was worth nearly 4 WAR according to Fangraphs due to plus defense in center along with baserunning. This seems like a realisitc baseline for Hicks.The guy whose skill-set Hicks actually reminds me of is Mike Cameron. Mike Cameron was a tremendous big league player worth over 50 WAR for his career. He was the third best position player on the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

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    286 mark was certainly an improvement, but was buoyed by a .346 BABIP
    For some reason, I've totally missed his high BABIP when looking at Hicks' 2012 numbers until. However, his career in the minors has a high trending BABIP. Is he fast enough for this to be sustainable (less luck involved), is this a product of less defensive talent in the minors, or some other factor. It's interesting that players like Ben Revere and Billy Hamilton's (not nessarily presented for comp purposes) minor league careers also have high trending BABIPs.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverslugger View Post
    We all know the succession of successful Twins in CF. It sounds as though Hicks might be a combination of Puckett, Hunter, and Span with some of the best from each of them. My question. Is there a non-Twin comp from the past 20-30 years who compares more favorably to Hicks potential than any of our three beloved former Twins?
    The one I've heard and used in the past was Carlos Beltran. I think Beltran had a couple of 30/30 seasons, and Hicks will likely not top the 15-20 HR range. He also won't steal bases at the high percentage that Beltran did, or likely hit for as much BA. But I think a general scouting report would indicate the he can be a poor-man's Carlos Beltran.

    I really like Hicks. Spent a good ten minutes talking to him at Twins Fest, and then another couple of minutes each day. Just a terrific guy. I'd talked to him, kind of, at previous Twins Fests and he was really quiet and reserved. He spoke this year with an excitement, a poise and a confidence that I hadn't seen before. He's smart. He knows the opportunity he's been given this spring and he's excited about it. It was just kind of neat to see that change in confidence. Like he knows he belongs, and I think that's very important. I'll have an article on him in the coming days.

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    No way Hicks should be ranked above Arcia or Meyers but it's pointless to argue the rankings. As far as Hicks' BABIP two thing come to mind. First, Arron swings hard. If he makes square contact the ball gets through the infield fast. Yes he is a leadoff talent but has BJ Upton type power potential. Hicks doesn't hit a lot of slow rollers like Span and Revere. Second, he will make poor contact more often from the left side of the plate and with his speed he will beat out throws at any level. I think his BABIP will always be above average when he's healthy. That being said I'm still not sure he's ever going to harness his full abilities and be the MLB player the Twins hope. Aaron's trouble from the left side of the plate is a HUGE problem. One that will be magnified at the major league level.

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    If the OBP is .38 of what difference is it that he Ks 20% or 10%? How many of said Ks are "caught looking"? I would guess higher than most since said high walk rate means he takes many close pitches. The high K rate when combined with the hitting success, indicates resilency--he likely won't be sulking because he struck-out. I do believe Hicks will spend most of this season at Rochester--partially due to said "high K rate".

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Twins Twerp's Avatar
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    Ok I like to be optimistic too, especially about Twins Prospects, but "best" ...didn't Kirby play center?

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    Senior Member Triple-A Steve Lein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitz View Post
    There is a nice article by Mike Newman on FanGraphs - Like Aaron Hicks, Buxton Will Require Patience
    Thanks for posting that link. I like the talk about the "game" they play before the actual baseball game. My townball team plays the same thing while our opponent is taking their infield, we call it "2-ball". Our rules are if you miss or drop the ball, or make a bad toss, you turn your cap 90 degrees. Once the hat comes full circle around your head it's taken off, then after your next fault you are out. Good times, though I never win...
    Follow me on Twitter: @HangingSL
    Spring Training Regular since 2010.

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    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
    Ok I like to be optimistic too, especially about Twins Prospects, but "best" ...didn't Kirby play center?
    I didn't say he'd go down as the best CF in franchise history, just that he has a chance to be the best in their current succession (Hunter, Gomez, Span, Revere). Even that's admittedly pretty optimistic, but from my view Hicks has all the requisite skills. For those who doubt his power, I would say nearly doubling his previous career high for homers in his first year in a tough league for hitters is a good sign that he's still growing in that department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverslugger View Post
    Is there a non-Twin comp from the past 20-30 years who compares more favorably to Hicks potential than any of our three beloved former Twins?
    I read somwhere, and I'll try to find it, where he was compared to Eric Davis. When I read that, I was a bit baffled, but I'll try and find it to share.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Clearly Aaron Hicks is an intelligent, perceptive ballplayer, which is why he is able to read a pitcher's balance, lateral motion and mechanics well enough to predict out-of-zone pitches.

    Whiffing on pitches comes from a flaw in a different skill set. Getting your hands to the right place for good contact requires developing a habit of tracking every pitch as if you're going to offer. Joe Mauer, of course, is great at that. Is he whiffing on pitches in the zone, or out of it? It may come down to a problem with his balance or stance. I'm guessing Hicks will cut down his whiffs with more experience.

    Meanwhile, it's hard not to feel giddy about this young man's future. Now more than ever, Twins pitchers will want a fast man with a great arm in center field.

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