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Article: Are we giving Aaron Hicks a raw deal?

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#1 glp_vt

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 06:40 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...icks-a-raw-deal

#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:15 AM

Well done article! Thanks!

I'm with you on the on-base percentage. Call him passive or whatever, but he is getting on base.

The BABIP... I'm not sure. Not a lot of his contact early in the season was very hard, so I think that as/if he starts hitting the ball with more authority, that number should go up, as should the HR/FB% At least we can hope.

The defense has not be great, but I don't think it's too terrible either.

But, the batting average does stand out and is hard for most people to ignore.

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:24 AM

As you touched on with GB rate, I think his BABIP has to do with bad contact, which also results in low ISO power.

The OBP is great but simply put, Hicks needs to square up on the ball more often. Can he do it?

*shrugs*

And BTW, right now Hicks has a higher OPS+ than Revere or Presley. He was marginally higher than Span until last night's game.

Tis a strange game, baseball is.

#4 cmathewson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:40 AM

I just think he deserves a little patience. He's a notorious slow starter throughout his career. He's starting to show signs of breaking out of (yet another) early season slump. He needs to make better contact, for sure. But his ability is much higher than what he has shown so far. I hope they let him play for a while and see how it goes.

#5 kdrupp09

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:42 AM

I just think he deserves a little patience. He's a notorious slow starter throughout his career. He's starting to show signs of breaking out of (yet another) early season slump. He needs to make better contact, for sure. But his ability is much higher than what he has shown so far. I hope they let him play for a while and see how it goes.


Hopefully he is doing just what is said in this quote, breaking out. If he can get his BA up to .220-.230 area I think that is ok for the time being.

#6 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:45 AM

Hicks almost has as many walks this year as he did all of last year, that is extremely encouraging and shows he is not swinging at bad pitches, he has all the tools to be successful, at this point it may be a confidence or bad luck thing more than anything else. Ultimately I think he will be fine, he should absolutely stay as the starting CF until Buxton is ready, and at that point hopefully he will be a nice option for us as a LF.

Also in his last 15 games (I know I know SSS) he has picked it up a bit with a .238 BA and .742 OPS

Likely the average and power will come up (as he has shown in his minor league abilities and even his power last year) I would be shocked if he can't hit .250 from here on out the rest of the year (Which would end the season around .225 I believe?). The key will be if he can keep his walk rate up, if he can, we might be looking at a guy who could potentially give us a .250/.370/.360 slash line the rest of this season.

Also he is only 24...still plenty of time.
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#7 jokin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:47 AM

Well done article! Thanks!

I'm with you on the on-base percentage. Call him passive or whatever, but he is getting on base.

The BABIP... I'm not sure. Not a lot of his contact early in the season was very hard, so I think that as/if he starts hitting the ball with more authority, that number should go up, as should the HR/FB% At least we can hope.

The defense has not be great, but I don't think it's too terrible either.

But, the batting average does stand out and is hard for most people to ignore.


FWIW, Hicks DRS ranks 17th of 21 qualified CFers, while his UZR ranks him 18th of 21. "Not terrible"? Let's just say "not good", then.

As far as his alleged "May resurgence" at the plate goes (per post #7 above)....for the month, his .592 OPS ranks him 29th among CFers. For the season, he actually has a slightly higher OPS (.595) overall.

As far as the BB% goes, it just seems a matter of time before his numbers start to fall from this year's 16.8%, towards his 2013 BB% of 7.7%, as pitchers adjust. Hicks will have to change his passive ways, or the OBP will inevitably fall.

#8 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:54 AM

Hopefully he is doing just what is said in this quote, breaking out. If he can get his BA up to .220-.230 area I think that is ok for the time being.


If he hits .230 with this walk rate, he could be leading off with a .370 OBP. I am guessing the defense will improve and you have a pretty decent to good CF.

#9 lightfoot789

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:56 AM

Very Nice Read;
That being said - I keep reading that Hicks has been asked to put in more work in the clubhouse watching film of pitchers he is about to face and look for tendencies. Why then do they (Twins) not film games at the minor league levels and have players prepare the same way. If they don't have film to research opponents (budget), understood, but to not film every game for players to analyze themselves is crazy. I heard that players are sometimes / periodically filmed individually so they can analyze thier swings at the lower levels. That would seem to be an inexpensive NEED at the lower levels so that players can learn how to learn off film and make the neccessary corrections. Coaches teach off film everyday in high school. You would think with these $6 million dollar and below prospects that it would be important to TEACH players about themselves beyond hearing what to do. There is nothing like seeing your faults and making corrections. Why wait until they reach the MLB. I fault the organization for it's lack of preparation on how to prepare these players to prepare. THOUGHTS....................

#10 lightfoot789

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:02 AM

I said the above to say, that Aaron Hicks should have been forced to prepare properly many seasons ago in the minor leagues. It should be like putting pine tar on your bat in the on deck circle - Natural - "It's just what we do" philosophy (and learned early in their career).

#11 drivlikejehu

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:03 AM

I'm not sure why pitchers have put him on so much, but I seriously doubt it's going to continue. Low-batting average, good OBP hitters are pretty much all power guys... can't think of a single exception. Hicks will either start hitting the ball with authority or his OBP will sink, and take his job with it.

#12 twinsfan214

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:33 AM

Hicks is getting on via walks but also seems to be striking out a lot. It seems like he takes way too many pitches when he has two strikes. Just like with preparation, some pieces are missing with "how he goes about his business". As for using the age card, I remember another player who never lived up to the hype who everyone kept saying "remember, he's only (insert age here)". Delmon Young.

#13 cmathewson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:43 AM

I don't buy the thing about preparation. He works hard. He studies film. He takes extra batting practice. I actually think he overthinks stuff. He could benefit from relaxing and letting his natural ability do some of the work. He needs to start having fun.
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#14 cmathewson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:45 AM

I'm not sure why pitchers have put him on so much, but I seriously doubt it's going to continue. Low-batting average, good OBP hitters are pretty much all power guys... can't think of a single exception. Hicks will either start hitting the ball with authority or his OBP will sink, and take his job with it.


He's taking six and seven-pitch at bats. Fouling pitches off. Working counts. He's working for his walks. I watch about every game on Gameday and his at bats are some of the longest on the team.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:50 AM

He's taking six and seven-pitch at bats. Fouling pitches off. Working counts. He's working for his walks. I watch about every game on Gameday and his at bats are some of the longest on the team.


Hicks at is 4.19 pitches per plate appearance, behind Kubel and Mauer and ahead of Dozier, Plouffe, and Suzuki. All six are over 4 pitches per PA.

This team takes a lot of pitches.

#16 jokin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:52 AM

If he hits .230 with this walk rate, he could be leading off with a .370 OBP. I am guessing the defense will improve and you have a pretty decent to good CF.


It's funny, a year ago at this time, your post is nearly identical to many which appeared in similar threads....a lot of "ifs" and "guessing", as borne out last year..... lots of wishcasting rather than forecasting.

Edited by jokin, 22 May 2014 - 09:37 AM.


#17 Brandon

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:09 AM

I think part of the frustration with Hicks is that we had another huge hole in the lineup with Florimon so we basically had 2 automatic outs in the lineup and with Florimon demoted Hicks gets even more attention now. Escobar is hitting .300+ and with Hicks at least walking his way to first (I guess that's easer than running) Its like we now have only half a hole in the lineup.

#18 Dantes929

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:31 AM

Hicks at is 4.19 pitches per plate appearance, behind Kubel and Mauer and ahead of Dozier, Plouffe, and Suzuki. All six are over 4 pitches per PA.

This team takes a lot of pitches.

I am just guessing here but I would say last year's team did not take lot of pitches. The pitch per plate appearance may have still been high because it takes at least 3 pitches to strike a guy out and we struck out a lot. Taking a lot of pitches is a good thing Not only do you get more walks but pitchers have to come into the zone more often resulting in better pitches to hit overall. I always said that Revere was worthwhile if he got on base at a .330 clip and good at .350 or better. Hicks has been on base at .350 this month. His current clip of .331 would have been 3rd on last year's team. Pitcher's will adjust so I agree he has to do whatever it takes to keep that OBP up. If its by hitting a few homers so they have to be careful or if it means bunting more, whatever it takes. He is playing pretty well right now so give it a rest for a while.

#19 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:39 AM

[quote name='jokin']It's funny, a year ago at this time, your post is nearly identical to many which appeared in similar threads....a lot of "ifs" and "guessing", lots of wishcasting rather than forecasting.[/QUOTE

True, but by almost any measure, OBP, BA, BB rate, even slugging his numbers are way ahead of where he was last year (as CMAT noted, he is a slow starter)

My forecast is his BA ends up in the .225 to .235 range. His walk rate will fall, but his hits will go up more than his BB go down. I think we will see the slugging come up.

My prediction is he ends with a .230/.345/.325 line.

#20 Thegrin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:39 AM

I'm hoping Parmalee;s aggressiveness will impress Hicks and inspire him to be more aggressive. I'd trade a couple of those walks for a double now and then.

#21 cmathewson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:45 AM

It's funny, a year ago at this time, your post is nearly identical to many which appeared in similar threads....a lot of "ifs" and "guessing", as borne out last year..... lots of wishcasting rather than forecasting.


It would all make more sense if they had just been more patient last year. They were out of contention. He had actually made a lot of adjustments. He got hurt and struggled when he returned, so they sent him down. Bad decision. It wasn't like his replacements set the world on fire, but they lost the opportunity of learning whether or not he should start this year in the majors, or he needed more AAA seasoning time. Now we're in the same boat. Don't make the same mistake again.
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#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:17 AM

I don't think he's getting a raw deal. Had the Twins better constructed their roster I'd guess most fans would agree some time in AAA to refine his game would help a lot. The kid just doesn't appear quite ready yet and that's not his fault. The option needs to be there to send him down so we do what's right by him, but unfortunately that isn't the case right now.

We have to hope he plays through it, but there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Hicks has not been very good or encouraging thus far, but that doesn't mean we should give up on him either.

#23 jokin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:23 AM

I don't think he's getting a raw deal. Had the Twins better constructed their roster I'd guess most fans would agree some time in AAA to refine his game would help a lot. The kid just doesn't appear quite ready yet and that's not his fault. The option needs to be there to send him down so we do what's right by him, but unfortunately that isn't the case right now.

We have to hope he plays through it, but there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Hicks has not been very good or encouraging thus far, but that doesn't mean we should give up on him either.


This +.

Edited by jokin, 22 May 2014 - 10:38 AM.


#24 Beezer07

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:23 AM

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

#25 jokin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:26 AM

True, but by almost any measure, OBP, BA, BB rate, even slugging his numbers are way ahead of where he was last year.

My forecast is his BA ends up in the .225 to .235 range. His walk rate will fall, but his hits will go up more than his BB go down.


Not true on his [COLOR=#FF0000]SLG[/COLOR]

Hicks April/May slash line 2013: .168/.246/[COLOR=#FF0000].323[/COLOR]/.569 BB% 9.5% K% 27.4%
Hicks April/May slash line 2014: .196/.331/[COLOR=#FF0000].265[/COLOR]/.595 BB% 16.8% K% 24.8%

I think we will see the slugging come up. [COLOR=#333333]My prediction is he ends with a .230/.345/.325 line.[/COLOR]


This may come closer to fruition. But it's hard to see him hit .345 OBP with a change in approach. If we remember, Hicks radically changed his approach from passive to aggressive at the plate, midseason in 2013, note the [COLOR=#008000]BB%[/COLOR]:

Hicks June-August slash line 2013: .233/.286/[COLOR=#FF0000].371[/COLOR][COLOR=#000000]/[/COLOR].657 [COLOR=#008000]BB%[/COLOR] [COLOR=#008000]5.4%[/COLOR] K% 26.5%

Now, the question of course is, will he or won't he make the requisite changes? And wouldn't he be better off working on making those changes with a AAA option as part of the package to accomplish them?

#26 kblack1011

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 11:17 AM

I don't think he's getting a raw deal. Had the Twins better constructed their roster I'd guess most fans would agree some time in AAA to refine his game would help a lot. The kid just doesn't appear quite ready yet and that's not his fault. The option needs to be there to send him down so we do what's right by him, but unfortunately that isn't the case right now.

We have to hope he plays through it, but there is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Hicks has not been very good or encouraging thus far, but that doesn't mean we should give up on him either.


Completely agree, Hicks has been sub .200 over the since last year, so saying he getting a raw deal is hard to see. He does have some talent, but he needs to start showing it on the field. He young but he still needs to perform on the field. I really think once Fuld's is back, they need to send him to AAA to develop as a hitter. He still hasn't proved he can hit above AA, so leaving him up in the majors is a mistake.

#27 TCisNotaBear

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 11:41 AM

Hicks is getting on via walks but also seems to be striking out a lot. It seems like he takes way too many pitches when he has two strikes. Just like with preparation, some pieces are missing with "how he goes about his business". As for using the age card, I remember another player who never lived up to the hype who everyone kept saying "remember, he's only (insert age here)". Delmon Young.


... I remember another (maybe better) comparison; Carlos Gomez. We traded him at about the same age; 24-25. I would like to see the Twins give Hicks a majority of the MLB Center feild playing time for at least the rest of this season.

#28 troyhobbs

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 11:50 AM

Take away the horrific start to his career and his numbers aren't quite so bad given his age/experience. He has no business anywhere near the top of the lineup though and that should've been recognized much earlier in the season last year. The expectations have been too high by the fan base and the organization but too much raw talent to give up on the kid.

#29 halfchest

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:05 PM

AT this point, I just want to see him say up and play every day. His minor league track record suggests he'll improve.

As far as defense my understanding of defensive metrics is that you need at least 2-3 years of innings for those to mean anything. It seemed pretty reliable sources pegged him as a plus defender in the minors as well. He's also flashed the leather at times so I guess I still think he's got a shot to be a solid everyday contributor. Let's not forget about this time last year Dozier was looking like a bust and now he may very well be one of the top 2B in the league. Hicks has a similar story and similar rushed timeline/getting sent down. Dozier was playing awesome defense at least. Let's let this one play out til the end of the year, no real other options to send out there anyhow.

#30 tobi0040

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:05 PM

Not true on his [COLOR=#ff0000]SLG[/COLOR]

Hicks April/May slash line 2013: .168/.246/[COLOR=#ff0000].323[/COLOR]/.569 BB% 9.5% K% 27.4%
Hicks April/May slash line 2014: .196/.331/[COLOR=#ff0000].265[/COLOR]/.595 BB% 16.8% K% 24.8%



This may come closer to fruition. But it's hard to see him hit .345 OBP with a change in approach. If we remember, Hicks radically changed his approach from passive to aggressive at the plate, midseason in 2013, note the [COLOR=#008000]BB%[/COLOR]:

Hicks June-August slash line 2013: .233/.286/[COLOR=#ff0000].371[/COLOR][COLOR=#000000]/[/COLOR].657 [COLOR=#008000]BB%[/COLOR] [COLOR=#008000]5.4%[/COLOR] K% 26.5%

Now, the question of course is, will he or won't he make the requisite changes? And wouldn't he be better off working on making those changes with a AAA option as part of the package to accomplish them?


We were looking at two slightly different time frames. I looked at opening day thru 5/20. Between 5/22 and 5/31 last year he had 3 HR and 2 2B. But his slugging was a little higher in the period I looked up this year versus last year. The word "way" I should have called out referred to BA, OBP, and BB rate.