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Article: Revisiting Aaron Hicks and Switch-Hitting

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#21 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 04:26 PM

Lets everyone stick to the topic of Hicks, please, and off unwarranted attacks on team officials or discussion of moderators.

#22 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 04:38 PM

Here's a question. How bad would Hicks have to be from the left side before the Twins directed him to stop switch hitting altogether, especially when Hicks says he feels more comfortable from that side, a side that he sees 70% of his ABs from?

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#23 drock2190

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:35 PM

Call me a pessimist but I dont see Hicks being anything other then a 4th outfielder in the future. He's only had two decent seasons that he batted very well and they were both fueled by high BABIP which happens a lot in the minors but not the majors unless your a talented player. Make matters worse the highest ISO hes had was .173 the year he did well in Double AA.

Looking back that draft year was pretty bad especially the first round. The best players are Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer and Andrew Cashner. Cashner would have been a nice pick.

#24 cmathewson

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:17 PM

This is actually really important. Right now, Hicks gets a platoon advantage on 100% of his RH at-bats. How will his slash line react to only getting a platoon advantage 1/3 of the time? I'd imagine it'll drop precipitously (from his current RH-only line).


Some right handers actually hit better against right handed pitchers. I know Gaetti was like that. I never hit lefties well myself, and I was a decent left handed hitter when I wanted to. But I had no power from the left side, so I only batted right, and I hit better against righties than lefties. I think that's typical for natural right-handed hitters like Hicks.

I don't have the data in front of me, but it seems like platoon disadvantage is more of a left-handed thing. In other words, lefties struggle more in general with lefties than they do with righties. But they see so few lefties that they hit well overall. Jacque Jones is an example. On the other hand, righties who struggle against righties don't stay in the game, because nobody can justify a guy who can just hit right handed against lefties. Though righties hit better against lefties, they have to be at least competent against righties or they will not stay in the game. Matt LeCroy is exhibit A. Trevor Plouffe is on the cusp.
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#25 drock2190

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:33 PM

But they see so few lefties that they hit well overall. Jacque Jones is an example.


Career batting average versus righties: .289 Lefties: 233

I think its safe to say he didnt hit very well overall. Of course for hicks that would be an excellent average :)

#26 stringer bell

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:47 PM

If Hicks were to give up switch-hitting there is a real good chance that he will still have a severe platoon split and would be labeled a part-time player. I am not an expert, but I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with his left handed swing. I do see Hicks having problems with breaking balls and having the ball break away from him would make the problem worse.

#27 stringer bell

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:56 PM

Career batting average versus righties: .289 Lefties: 233

I think its safe to say he didnt hit very well overall. Of course for hicks that would be an excellent average :)


Batting average splits tell us something, but a lot of the time, not everything. There are several guys who put up decent averages but have no extra-base pop against same-handed pitchers.

#28 longstrangetrip

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:32 PM

Good discussion of a topic clearly worthy of discussion. The delta between his RHB and LHB numbers is too large to ignore.

I'm much more troubled, though, by the comments this week about his lack of preparation. It is astounding to me that a big league ballplayer would show up not knowing who the opposition pitcher is...just astounding. To me it hints at a lack of passion for the game. I would venture to guess that well over 75 % of the participants on this board generally know in the morning who is going to be on the bump against the Twins that night. And that's because we have a passion for the game. Baseball is a cerebral game, and it's fun to think about strategy and matchups, and how you're going to beat a guy. I guess I always assumed major leaguers thrived on that kind of thinking too, but it's clear Aaron doesn't.

I'm 63 years young tomorrow, and grateful that I can still play this game I love twice a week...don't want to even think about hanging up my spikes for the last time. My next game is Sunday morning, and I know who is pitching and am already thinking about his patterns and tendencies. Sometime tomorrow I will review notes I keep about at bats I have had against him in the past, and even put some thought into their key relievers. And I will show up Sunday morning with a plan. Shouldn't we expect the same from Hicksy?

#29 stringer bell

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:49 PM

First of all, Happy Birthday! LST. Secondly, I am glad that you are able to play baseball at 63. I love to golf and this year I've been limited to 9 holes all year and I'm afraid that might be it for the season if not my career. Regarding Hicks--We are interpreting an anecdote into a whole pattern. It may well be that Hicks never is aware of who is pitching, but I doubt it. I have said that I think the team is setting the table to send him down and using this perception of lack of preparation rather than inability to hit. Maybe it is just the frustration--bad performance with little outward sign that he's trying to address the problem--that drove the brass to disclose the behind-the-scenes goings-on.

#30 longstrangetrip

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 09:01 PM

You're probably right, stringer...either a precursor to sending him down or one final attempt to fire him up.

Thanks for the birthday greetings! And by the way, even though I'm still playing ball, I had to put away my golf clubs 3 years ago. It was too tough on the lower back for me, and it hurt to swing a club...swinging a bat seems more natural to me. Oh well...I loved the game, but to be honest I was never a good golfer. I hope you're able to find a miracle cure for whatever is keeping you off the links.

#31 twinsfaninsaudi

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:06 AM

Critical question:

Does he golf left handed or right handed?

#32 gil4

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:14 AM

Right now, Hicks gets a platoon advantage on 100% of his RH at-bats. How will his slash line react to only getting a platoon advantage 1/3 of the time?


That's not really the right thing to compare. He will still have the platoon advantage in all of the AB vs. LHP because that will be unchanged. The question is will he hit RHP better batting righthanded than he does now batting lefthanded.

He has been so bad with the platoon advantage vs. RHP that it's hard to see him doing worse without it, and it might actually help his line against LHP by giving him more swings from the right side.

#33 Willihammer

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:09 AM

Critical question:

Does he golf left handed or right handed?

Dogleg left or right?

#34 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:46 AM

Critical question:

Does he golf left handed or right handed?

yes.

#35 stringer bell

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 10:19 AM

Back to the original topic: I would be very interested if someone has a breakdown of Hicks' swing from both sides and see if there is anything that stands out why he has clearly been a better right handed hitter. I am not an expert, but I just don't see anything that makes him that much worse as a left hander.

#36 jokin

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 10:36 AM

Back to the original topic: I would be very interested if someone has a breakdown of Hicks' swing from both sides and see if there is anything that stands out why he has clearly been a better right handed hitter. I am not an expert, but I just don't see anything that makes him that much worse as a left hander.


Lack of enough innate ambi-dexterity?

#37 cmathewson

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:45 PM

First of all, Happy Birthday! LST. Secondly, I am glad that you are able to play baseball at 63. I love to golf and this year I've been limited to 9 holes all year and I'm afraid that might be it for the season if not my career. Regarding Hicks--We are interpreting an anecdote into a whole pattern. It may well be that Hicks never is aware of who is pitching, but I doubt it. I have said that I think the team is setting the table to send him down and using this perception of lack of preparation rather than inability to hit. Maybe it is just the frustration--bad performance with little outward sign that he's trying to address the problem--that drove the brass to disclose the behind-the-scenes goings-on.


Berardino said he often talks to Hicks about the next pitcher or two. Hicks not only knows him, he has a plan. The whole preparation thing is comparable to Bartlett's leadership thing. It's just Gardy attributing bad habits to guys who are not hyperactive ADD guys like himself. Antony amplifying Gardy's stuff, after Gardy talked privately to the player is not only wrong, it's completely unwarranted.
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#38 Sconnie

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:05 PM

First of all, Happy Birthday! LST. Secondly, I am glad that you are able to play baseball at 63. I love to golf and this year I've been limited to 9 holes all year and I'm afraid that might be it for the season if not my career. Regarding Hicks--We are interpreting an anecdote into a whole pattern. It may well be that Hicks never is aware of who is pitching, but I doubt it. I have said that I think the team is setting the table to send him down and using this perception of lack of preparation rather than inability to hit. Maybe it is just the frustration--bad performance with little outward sign that he's trying to address the problem--that drove the brass to disclose the behind-the-scenes goings-on.

You put your finger on the issue that I have been searching for. Airing dirty laundry is nothing new, but typically the subjects are particular and who makes the statement even more so. Showing up to the ballpark "unprepared" is typically not mentioned, certainly not by the acting GM. That's as much an indictment of the GM and coaching staff as it is of Hicks. His prep skills have been his own throughout his career. It's not like he developed a bad habit of lack of prep in 2014. Usually the manager or hitting coach would say "Hicksy is scuffling a little bit, we'll get him a day off and some extra time in the cage to see if we can't straighten it out". For Antony to come out and say he's too laid back and unprepared points to something more. (Wrong with Hicks or in the plans to do with him)

#39 Shane Wahl

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:02 AM

Berardino said he often talks to Hicks about the next pitcher or two. Hicks not only knows him, he has a plan. The whole preparation thing is comparable to Bartlett's leadership thing. It's just Gardy attributing bad habits to guys who are not hyperactive ADD guys like himself. Antony amplifying Gardy's stuff, after Gardy talked privately to the player is not only wrong, it's completely unwarranted.



Spot on.

#40 Dantes929

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 01:25 PM

If hitting from the left side is an advantage because the batter is closer to 1st base then the advantage should be taken for all it is worth. Batting left, Hicks should be bunting at least once a game. I would bet he could add 50 points to his average doing that alone.