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Is Sam Fuld Aaron Hicks' downfall?

aaron hicks center field sam fuld twins
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#1 Trautmann13

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:26 AM

Sam Fuld, wearing previous backup CF Alex Presley's #1, had a very successful first game with the Twins at the Trop. He went 2-5 with an RBI and a lead off double in the top of the 9th that really should have come around to score. We know he can play the field better than most on the 25 man and can steal a base or two. With Hicks already out on thin ice after a disastrous 2013 and, excluding taking more walks so far in '14, more of the same this year.

Will Fuld kick Aaron Hicks out of center or possibly out of a major league job completely? I know I am a lot more excited for Fuld's future here than Hicks' as of now. Given, this is literally 5 at bats in for Fuld, and Hicks clearly has more upside. Will the Fuld acquisition lead to a demotion for Hicks?

#2 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:35 AM

Eh, I would say they will compliment eachother well while improving OF defense when they are in together.

If I was hicks, I would be more concerned about Fuld taking his job as 4th OF next year when Buxton is manning CF.

#3 ashburyjohn

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

The master plan is likely to trade Hicks to a team needing a CF when Buxton is ready to take that job permanently. That plan doesn't work as well if Hicks spends 50% of his coming ABs in AAA instead of in the majors. So I don't see a waiver acquisition who has flunked trials with two previous teams as taking his job away. If Hicks loses the job, it will have nothing to do with Fuld - not being able to lose it for lack of any kind of major league backup for the position is what is a fluky and totally temporary situation. Hicks will go to AAA if and when the front office sees his trade value as so low that going to AAA won't even hurt it.

#4 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:37 AM

At this point I think the only player that can play Hicks out of a job is Aaron Hicks.
All the talk surrounding the waiver claim on Fuld was about him taking Mastro's job, not Hicks'.
And it's not like the Twins have a lot of depth at AAA ready to be the back-up CF.
Fuld is going to probably get more at-bats and more innings than Mastro would have, but Hicks is still the guy (for now).

#5 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:37 AM

However, if Hicks had a very poor next 5 games, I could see him going down for Willy or Ozzie. Herrman looks competent in RF and can catch, so adds more value to the bench since that allows Gardy to always play Pinto.

#6 lukingood

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:46 AM

Hicks is on a quick trip to nowhere at this point as far as a MLB centerfielder. He has no trade value. His best season was a .280 batting average at New Britain in AA. He plays centerfield like he is bored and can't get around on a fastball when batting from the left side. I don't know if it is an attitude adjustment he needs or he just lacks the skill to play. The Twins have exercised far more patience at this point than needed.

#7 cmathewson

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:51 AM

They need two center fielders. They make good platoon partners. Hicks needs days to just work on his swing in extra BP and otherwise watch and learn from the bench. Most young guys do. He hasn't had that all year. Yesterday was his first opportunity to work with Bruno 1X1.

And it's kind of deja vu all over again from last year, when they exacerbated his struggles by forcing him to play everyday without any extra work for the first month+. Last year, they didn't have a choice because Mastro broke his leg in the last game of spring training. This year, they could have easily avoided it if they'd hung onto Presley instead of Bartlett...

At least they righted that wrong by getting Fuld. His presence will help Hicks.
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#8 Shane Wahl

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:51 AM

Sam Fuld is not a good offensive player. In no way, shape, or form should any young talented player be threatened by him. It will be nice to have a late-game OF of Fuld-Hicks-Herrmann at times though.

#9 Shane Wahl

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:52 AM

They need two center fielders. They make good platoon partners. Hicks needs days to just work on his swing in extra BP and otherwise watch and learn from the bench. Most young guys do. He hasn't had that all year. Yesterday was his first opportunity to work with Bruno 1X1.

And it's kind of deja vu all over again from last year, when they exacerbated his struggles by forcing him to play everyday without any extra work for the first month+. Last year, they didn't have a choice because Mastro broke his leg in the last game of spring training. This year, they could have easily avoided it if they'd hung onto Presley instead of Bartlett...

At least they righted that wrong by getting Fuld. His presence will help Hicks.


Exactly this.

#10 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

We've seen this movie before with Go Go and others. Talented young player, can't get him with the program, ship him off for peanuts, player thrives elsewhere. Hicks is 24. We have been patient with Plouffe, who is 27. True, Hicks has looked bored but so has most of the rest of the team until now. BTW in my opinion Plouffe almost always looks bored. Ideally the Twins enter 2015 or 2016 with an outfield of Buxton, Arcia, Hicks.

#11 slash129

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:13 AM

Hicks needs to go to AAA .... Bring up Ramirez as the 4th OF and emergency CF or look for another Fuld type to get DFA'd ... Not all these guys are going to work out ... Pinto and Cowbell look like ML hitters and Plouffe seems to have turned a corner ... Also time to move Eddie R back to OF when his suspension is over ... Dozier looks locked into 2B and Polanco and to lesser degree Beresford appear to provide some organizational depth there as well ...

#12 h2oface

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:06 PM

Hicks is responsible for Hicks' downfall. Hicks and Hicks alone. I am surprised that more the "rebuilding/trade at highest value" proponents aren't calling for Colabello to be traded now while at his highest value :talk028: . I mean, why keep the good players just because they are getting a little old and can be traded for some prospects? Prospects prospects prospects......... get you some prospects. (please take this with a grain of salt. it is not meant to be baiting or trolling)

Edited by h2oface, 24 April 2014 - 12:10 PM.


#13 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:22 PM

We've seen this movie before with Go Go and others. Talented young player, can't get him with the program, ship him off for peanuts, player thrives elsewhere. Hicks is 24. We have been patient with Plouffe, who is 27. True, Hicks has looked bored but so has most of the rest of the team until now. BTW in my opinion Plouffe almost always looks bored. Ideally the Twins enter 2015 or 2016 with an outfield of Buxton, Arcia, Hicks.


Maybe....

I believe that Hicks' ceiling is starting to look like a fair hitting good defense center fielder. Perhaps a 4th OF.

I expect a more likely outfield late next season is Arcia, Buxton and Colabello.

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#14 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:27 PM

Nah, next year's OF is Rosario, Buxton, Arcia imo. Hicks isn't Gomez. He is a switch hitter that can't hit from one side. He isn't being coached to move runners over, and not swing hard. He just isn't a good hitter right now. Could he be? Sure. Will he be? I have strong doubts. I have no doubts about Rosario and Buxton, however (other than the obvious personal ones with Rosario). If Hicks has trade value, great. But to me, the other three I listed are the ones that will matter to this team, both here and as having value.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#15 Boom Boom

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:30 PM

Did you hear how Gardenhire gushed over the guy?

http://www.twincitie...ager-to-get-new

Fuld could be the next Nick Punto.

#16 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:52 PM

Did you hear how Gardenhire gushed over the guy?

http://www.twincitie...ager-to-get-new

Fuld could be the next Nick Punto.


Yep.

Why waste time trying to turn Hicks -- or any young guy -- into a good ballplayer, when you can pick up a guy in his 30s who is already a known quantity? Gripe #1 as we advance into the second decade of the Gardenhire administration.

On a serious note, I think Fuld is a good pick up and having both Hicks and Fuld competing could be a good thing.

#17 cmathewson

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:58 PM

Fuld double, Hicks homer. See? They complement one another.
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#18 cmathewson

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:21 PM

Dick is reporting that the Twins have claimed Kenny Wilson from teh Blue Jays. I'd rather have Wilson than Mastro at this stage.
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#19 70charger

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:02 PM

True, Hicks has looked bored but so has most of the rest of the team until now. BTW in my opinion Plouffe almost always looks bored.


I think it's called "California Casual."

Dick is reporting that the Twins have claimed Kenny Wilson from teh Blue Jays. I'd rather have Wilson than Mastro at this stage.


Pretty sure some people called for this in the other thread. Who's going to claim their prize?

#20 TKGuy

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:23 PM

I don't think Hicks is going anywhere. At least we can get Willingham, Kubel and Colabello out of the game in late inning situations.

#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

Who goes down when Willingham is healthy?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#22 LaBombo

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:39 PM

If Presley wasn't brought to the Twins to compete with Hicks for the starting job, he certainly was brought in with the appearance of competing with him. Just turned 28, acquired via the trade of a popular veteran, and less than two years removed from a half season in which he played at a WAR rate that projected to 2.5 or so over a full season.

Fuld is the kind of guy you bring in when you want everyone to understand that he's the backup and not the long-term answer: a 32 year old career journeyman reserve acquired for nothing. That doesn't make him a bad signing, it just means he has no business displacing Hicks because he struggles for a month or two.

If Hicks is still floundering at the plate in June, he may need to go back to AAA, but because the Twins feel it's the best place for him to work things out, not because Fuld is a better player.

Edited by LaBombo, 24 April 2014 - 03:45 PM.


#23 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:46 PM

Who goes down when Willingham is healthy?


Ideally.. Willingham?

Similar to what happened after Bartlett got healthy? We'll see.

#24 Reider

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 05:19 PM

The only person that decides Aaron Hicks' destiny is Aaron Hicks. Sam Fuld is good defensively and seems to be a better hitter than Mastroianni, so he's a nice compliment to our other out fielders.

#25 DocBauer

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:15 PM

They need two center fielders. They make good platoon partners. Hicks needs days to just work on his swing in extra BP and otherwise watch and learn from the bench. Most young guys do. He hasn't had that all year. Yesterday was his first opportunity to work with Bruno 1X1.

And it's kind of deja vu all over again from last year, when they exacerbated his struggles by forcing him to play everyday without any extra work for the first month+. Last year, they didn't have a choice because Mastro broke his leg in the last game of spring training. This year, they could have easily avoided it if they'd hung onto Presley instead of Bartlett...

At least they righted that wrong by getting Fuld. His presence will help Hicks.


This. Absolutely this.

Even though Fuld is 4 years older than Presley, it's still hard for me to bash his cutting due to what just seemed to be an atrocious ST. However, while it was fun to root for Barlett initially, keeping him over anyone was a mistake. And they indeed rectified any mistake made. They got less of a hitter, but a better base stealer, and reportedly a little better overall defensive OF by reports.

But Hicks is not threatened at this time. He's not only the best defensive CF we have, which is always important, but especially right now as we need him to cover a little extra ground. He's also young and filled with potential. And I believe the Twins staff and I see the same thing: a kid who worked hard this off season and through ST, and who doesn't appear as lost as he did last season. He's still not hitting or producing like anyone wants, or the Twins need, but he's taking AB's with a better plan and more patience this year.

I don't have his stats handy from the same time last year, but I don't believe he was hitting .182, and quite sure he didn't have on OB 131 points higher. He's always shown the ability to have a decent OB. I'm not saying he's guaranteed to have one that much higher, but consider him improving (as he started to last season before injury) to .240-.250 Avg with some power and speed over the next few weeks, getting a rest once in a while.

The Fuld claim was a good one. And hats off to the Twins for not being so complacent this season and for working to upgrade the roster on a continuous basis.

#26 DocBauer

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:23 PM

Sam Fuld is not a good offensive player. In no way, shape, or form should any young talented player be threatened by him. It will be nice to have a late-game OF of Fuld-Hicks-Herrmann at times though.


I like this observation very much.

Im a big fan and proponent of Herrmann. People don't realize what a good overall athlete he is. And despite being relatively new to being a C, a couple years ago he was ranked as the Twins best defensive C in milb. He played 3B and 1B in college as well as OF, including some CF, even in the lower minors. I think his biggest problem is not having had the time to progress naturally through the system. If you look at his track history, he's shown ability but probably moved a little quickly. I'm not saying he's star material. I'm saying he has potential as a solid, useful utility player. And while I don't think we need a 3rd C, it does offer flexibility. Especially in Gardy's mind, which allows Pinto that many more opportunities.

#27 Deduno Abides

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:25 PM

If Hicks is still floundering at the plate in June, he may need to go back to AAA, but because the Twins feel it's the best place for him to work things out, not because Fuld is a better player.


Hicks is clearly an exceptional athlete who is trying to be a good player. Contrary to general guidance, it may be better for him to try to be more of an athlete and less of a player; i.e., just go up there and rip. He seems like he's trying to follow the Twins way of taking pitches and hitting it around, but it's not working for him. I bet that 25 teams would be happy to have him for the price at which the team gave away David Ortiz and Carlos Gomez, and then they'd tell him to just swing away, like those players did when they left the Twins. I'm surprised the Twins don't do this. With the exception of today's homer (note that he swung at a pitch way out of the strike zone, which he would typically lay off), what he's generally done this year and last year isn't working. Telling him to go up and rip would simplify the game for him. At the rate he's going, he's going to be a low value player, so what's to lose by changing his approach to become more aggressive?

Btw, Fuld is a good pick-up as a fourth OF.

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#28 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:18 PM

Soon we will look like this:
Regular vs RHP
2B Dozierzy
1B Mauerzy
3B plouffezy
DH Collabellzy
RF Arciazy
LF kubelzy
C Suzukzy
CF Fuldzy
SS Florimonzy

Bench:
Pinto
Hicks
Escobar
Willingham

Regular vs LHP
2B Dozier
1B Mauer
3B Plouffe
LF Willingham
DH Collabello
C Pinto
RF Arcia
CF Hicks
SS Escobar

Bench:
Fuld
Kubel
Florimon
Suzuki

#29 zchrz

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:56 PM

I think Hicks should have a very long leash, this is his year to prove his value. Fuld being around is nice depth and a good fit so they can platoon them a bit and give Hicks a break against some tougher pitchers to get him going.

I think the patience is a good sign, considering who is batting behind him most of the time pitchers are really going for the strikeout against Hicks and he is working counts and getting walks. He just needs to hit the mistakes like he did today with that laser homerun, batting lefty even.
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#30 Shane Wahl

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:28 PM

Hicks has always been slow to adapt. He was in way over his head last year. Looking at his development pattern, split time between AA and AAA last year would have been best. Now he is like a AAA player breaking in. Stay calm! The guy is getting back to his ways of having good plate discipline. Now he finally hit a bomb. It's going to take a bit, but by June he will be in stride.

And I still wish Willingham would have been traded at some point last year, even for a Miguel Sulbaran type (or two). Herrmann is likely the odd man out, but the versatility (and it's C versatility, which is important) is valuable and he will start hitting.



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