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According to LEN3- It appears the Twins are near the end of their patience w/ Hicks

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#31 big dog

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:57 AM

As a long time teacher, I hope the Twins realize that you don't EVER give up on a young person. There's always a chance, probably a decent chance, that someone like Hicks can turn it around. In this case, between Santana and Buxton, there's a good chance we don't need Hicks.

But, his development is still crucial, as a trade chip or a fill-in or a regular. In other words, the Twins should not allow their disappointment in Hicks to distract them from the goal at hand: develop this kid, make him a ball player, whatever it takes.


The problem with this is that the roster can only have 40 people and you can only option them so many times. So you can't keep trying forever. You have to pick and choose who you let go. Hicks isn't making it easy to want to keep him.

#32 golfboy1

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:11 AM

Hunter was very similar to Hicks. Even after a full season in the bigs, he needed to be sent back to AAA before he figured it out at age 26. Hicks is only 24 and has yet to play a full season in Rochester. He was rushed up because of the 2 trades before he was ready. I hope the Twins don't give up on him. I think he has the potential to be a late bloomer like Hunter and Gomez and if they toss him out, he'll bloom somewhere else. (Gomez was also 26 before he got it - his 3rd season with Milwaukee).



I doubt they will cut ties with him just yet. Hopefully he will figure things out in the minors although I don't have all that much confidence he will.

I'd love to think it will play out like Hunter or Gomez but there are significant differences. Gomez always had great talent, he just needed to learn to play under control & not swing at pitches 3 ft out of the strike zone. Hunter was also overly aggressive & it just took a little longer for him to develop. If a pitcher threw the ball over the middle of the plate they both could do damage. Hicks can swing right thru a mistake pitch plus plate discipline isn't his problem.

Hicks has NEVER shown the ability to hit RH pitching plus he doesn't seem to have the same drive or desire that Gomez & Hunter displayed. With them it was never a question of them trying hard enough or wanting it enough. I don't get that same vibe from Hicks.

#33 DJL44

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:22 AM

Lots of armchair psychologists here.

He needs to go to AAA so he can get more experience hitting RHP from the RH side of the plate. That's all they need to say.

#34 JB_Iowa

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:26 AM

I honestly don't understand this Hicks story or where the information being fed to LEN3 is coming from.

In mid-May (not quite a month ago), we read about his lack of preparation including the line that he sometimes came to the ballpark w/o knowing th days opposing pitcher. In partial response to that one, Berardino made it clear that Hicks always knew who they were facing when he talked with him pre-game. (not going to look up that tweet/story but I remember it).

Then on May 29, the PP published an article entitled "Twins' Hicks Arriving Early, Taking More Cuts"
http://www.twincitie...aking-more-cuts

which included this:

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said a bat has to be pried out of the hands of center fielder Aaron Hicks.

"He has had a bat in his hand every five seconds," Gardenhire said. "It's a little overkill for him."


Since the initial stories, Hicks' line has been: .263/.391/.316/.707

Not stellar but better than the start of the year and moving up.

In the last 7 days: .400/.500/.600/1.100

I realize he hasn't played much but it's hard to see anything too wrong there.

Then on Saturday, Hicks injured his shoulder making a pretty good diving catch -- personally, I wondered if he injured his shoulder right when the catch was made given the way he landed. I don't know why anyone would question soreness/stiffness in his shoulder.

We've seen other stories this week about Hicks' shoulder stiffness/soreness. There's also been some speculation around here that he needs to go to AAA to work on his game as a full-time right-handed batter. But they've just been ordinary stories/reports.

But I have been searching around the net and can't find anyone else with the venom of LEN3's comments.

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=Arial] They finally criticized him in the press for not preparing well. And he hasn't responded.

There are people in the organization who believe he's blowing his chance here. [/FONT][/COLOR]



Hasn't responded? It looks to me like he has responded on the field. And from the little I could find, it sounds like he was working harder.

Then he had 2 injuries/near injuries in the field. The first on the leaping catch which saved a HR at the end of May. Gardenhire responded to that by keeping him on the bench for a couple of games as a precautionary measure (there was some discussion that he hurt his side going above the wall). And now we have the shoulder soreness -- if you watch that catch, I don't know why anyone might question that his shoulder might be sore.

The thing that bothers me most is LEN3's statement that: "There are people in this organization who believe he's blowing his chance here". I don't know if this LEN3 printing some speculation because frankly, his coverage has been blown away by most other reporters coverage, or if someone in the Twins organization is feeding this to hm.

I've gone through a lot of other posts and can't find any other reporter speculating in this way.

While I think Aaron Hicks may well be put on the DL or optioned to Rochester, I think some of this pot-stirring may well be bad, lazy journalism.

#35 adjacent

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:29 AM

It seems to me that there are 2 aspects of the problem: One is Hicks struggles, the change from switch hitting, should he be demoted?, etc. On that aspect, pretty much everyone agrees that he should go to AAA at least to easy the transition to exclusive right handed hitting and so on. And then who knows.. Will he come back and be a great player? I don't think anybody knows right know.
The second aspect is the "Slowey" treatment that he is receiving: the organization using the friendly media (Dick Bremer, the Star Tribune bloggers) to question his motivations, to spread rumors that should be better kept inside. That to me is a horrible practice. How do you feel if in your job your boss pread the rumor that you are not really trying to work hard? And to do that to a 24 yr old, that was rushed to the majors because of organizational need? That part is really a shame, and is not the first time they do that.

#36 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:47 AM

I have always seen Hicks' problem as one of maturity. In hindsight it appears giving up on switch hitting was an reactive response to criticism and an attempt to appease his detractors. It appears now that he simply handed the Twins the excuse they needed to send him down - to build his skills as a right handed hitter against right handed pitching.

Santana's play has removed the desperation the Twins have about centerfield.

The Twins are making a legitimate playoff push - no more time for projects on the roster. I think we have seen the last of Aaron Hicks for 2014.

#37 kab21

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:58 AM

My interest in Hicks has increased since he has given up SH. Clearly he needs time in AAA to work on this but he has tools at least.

I wish people would stop using 25 PA sample sizes as evidence that Hicks is doing better since time X. He's had like 5 hits in that time. All he needs is a couple bloopers and he looks 'average' over 25 PA's.

I was at the Texas game (possibly his first day giving up SH) and he had a couple of hits but he also made a couple boneheaded plays also. I can't remember what but stuff like getting picked off or doubled off. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the Twins angst is that he's not only playing poorly but he is also making the bad rookie mistakes. Those might be tolerated if you are playing well (like the suzuki example) but perhaps unfairly they will get blown up if you are doing terrible.

#38 TheDean

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:06 AM

Lots of armchair psychologists here.

He needs to go to AAA so he can get more experience hitting RHP from the RH side of the plate. That's all they need to say.


These comments on the Twins "Nearing the end of their patience" combined with posters that are fine seeing Hicks getting sent away... I feel like I watch baseball in a totally different universe.

Speculation:

  • "People" in the FO don't like his effort.
  • Hicks has a bad attitude.
  • Hicks seems like he doesn't have much drive to win.
  • Hicks isn't willing to make adjustments to succeed at the ML level.

Facts:

  • Since being "called out," Hicks has put up respectable numbers across the board and has made good plays in the field in limited playing time.
  • The Twins organization is scraping the barrel for CF depth.
  • Hicks is the best OF on the 25-man roster (okay, this is just my opinion, but an educated one?)
  • Hicks chose to abandon switch hitting because he felt it gives him a better chance at success long-term. We can debate whether that decision was a smart one, but you cannot deny that making such a large change in approach demonstrates his determination to be a successful major-league player, whatever it takes.
  • He is near the Mendoza-line in BA and has a very respectable OBP. His OPS+ is 7 points higher than last year. He surprisingly has positive BbRef oWAR at this point (0.3).

My conclusion:
Hicks needs PAs, not bench time, especially in light in changing to RH only. He deserves PAs because he is talented, has desire to succeed, and fills a position of organizational need. A demotion to AAA should be based on his need for PAs, not speculation about poor character or the FO/Strib's desire to never have vacancy in the doghouse located under the team bus.

#39 spycake

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:37 AM

Hunter was very similar to Hicks. Even after a full season in the bigs, he needed to be sent back to AAA before he figured it out at age 26. Hicks is only 24 and has yet to play a full season in Rochester. He was rushed up because of the 2 trades before he was ready. I hope the Twins don't give up on him. I think he has the potential to be a late bloomer like Hunter and Gomez and if they toss him out, he'll bloom somewhere else. (Gomez was also 26 before he got it - his 3rd season with Milwaukee).


Hunter actually "got it" just before his 25th birthday in 2000 -- he dominated AAA, was recalled, and basically hit like classic Torii the last few months of the MLB season. Gomez arguably started "getting it" at age 25 too, when his power took a big jump. Hicks is still short of both of their ages -- turns 25 in October -- but he's closer than you suggest.

Also, Hunter (and Gomez) never really struggled like Hicks is doing -- even before they "got it", they were .250 AVG hitters with .100+ isolated power. Hunter in particular didn't K much either. Neither one was a good MLB hitter at that point, but those are pretty standard MLB lines, either for bench/role players or developing players.

Hicks' line is just weird -- consistent sub-.200 AVG, power evaporating, but walk rate rising? Enough weird stuff going on there to suggest maybe he's still a capable player just mired in a bizarre phase right now, although he could very well be an incapable player in such a phase too.

He won't get tossed out yet -- hopefully he can play everyday in Rochester for awhile, maybe even well into 2015, and see what happens.

#40 spycake

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:45 AM

It's interesting to me because it seems like Hicks has made some significant progress since abandoning switch hitting. Since the switch, his line is 231/412/308. For the last 30 days, it's 267/400/311. Both lines are above average (112 wRC+). It's a better line than Escobar or Nunez in the same time frame (wRC+ of 107 and 102 respectively).


In addition to being small samples, those are still very strange and unsustainable batting lines. How many guys have a .400+ OBP with .040-.080 isolated power? And low .200s AVG?

Progress will be when he starts looking like a .250+ AVG baseline hitter, or when he can sustain .120+ isolated power. Walks and OBP are nice, but he has to have SOMETHING else.

#41 Winston Smith

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:48 AM

Management 101; don't berate employees in public!
For some reason the Twins coaches and front office think this is a way of improving performance. I doubt you'd find many books on management (non-military) that would agree.

May all our prospects be All Stars and the beer be free.


#42 gunnarthor

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:12 AM

Management 101; don't berate employees in public!
For some reason the Twins coaches and front office think this is a way of improving performance. I doubt you'd find many books on management (non-military) that would agree.

I'm not sure management did so much as it was LEN's opinion.

But also, even if it was the Twins, most teams do this at some point. Earlier this season, the Nats manager called out freaking Bryce Harper. Torre publicly embarrassed ARoid. I'm not sure if Terry Collins comments on D'Arnaud are much different than the ones from Gardy on Hicks.

#43 cmathewson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:17 AM

I have been taking a short hiatus, but I have to comment on this one.

First, I agree that this is a typical LEN III thing, using "unnamed" sources to make claims about a player. He is one of the worst at this. Who knows what was actually said or gestured about Hicks. It could be simple frustration that LEN III misinterpreted. He seems to be getting lazier. Yesterday, he was quoting Phil Miller--his colleague--in a blog post. So I take everything he writes with a huge grain of salt.

Second, there is something to the way the Twins are managing Hicks that makes little sense. They promote him twice before he's ready, all the while removing any depth behind him both times. When he struggles, they don't talk about on-field performance but work ethic or getting-after-it-ness or busting-your-tail-icity or whatever. They set him up to fail and then they complain about him publicly when he fails. It is the worst sort of management. LEN II might be exaggerating now, but both Antony and Gardy have said things publicly twice this year to throw him under the bus while they took zero responsibility for their mismanagement.

BTW, his injuries are all of the hustle variety. The current one is from making the game-ending diving catch on Saturday. For them to complain about that kind of injury in light of their other (purported) claims about his laziness is disingenuous.

Third, I agree about not giving up on him. He needs to go down and have a half season of dominance. Then we'll see where he fits. Giving up on a former number 18 overall pick is just a waste. And he deserves better.

Fourth, they aren't paying attention if they think he has continued to struggle in the kind of way Florimon struggled when he was up here. He's been doing OK (not great, not horrible) when given the opportunity for the last month. If you don't believe me, check out the OPS numbers: Last 7: 1.100, Last 14: .719, Last 28 .708.
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#44 Linus

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:53 AM

All this speculation reminds of high school where the shy girl is called "stuck up" because she is reluctant to talk to people. LEN3's "reporting" is not something I would use as information to make any decision about Hick's character or future with the club. For all we know, he is talking to the lowest intern in the PR department for his information. There are plenty of laid back ballplayers that have a strong desire to be great. Let the kid go to Rochester and be in the lineup each day. He'll either get it and possibly be a part of the future or he won't. Not every prospect makes it.

#45 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:57 AM

LENIII wrote: "They finally criticized him in the press for not preparing well. And he hasn't responded."

Examples of Hicks "not responding" since then:

- a walk off base hit immediately after the sit down with Gardy
- robbed a home run
- gave up switch hitting to be more effective
- drew a huge 2 out BB that set up Dozier's big 9th inning hit against Yankees
- and generally has improved his numbers (if only marginally) in limited play.

#46 TRex

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 11:00 AM

cmathewson

[COLOR=#333333]BTW, his injuries are all of the hustle variety.[/COLOR]


I know people love Hicks' diving catch last week, but here is how I see it:

The Twins are in a terrible spot in center field.

The Twins are leading by 8 runs (EIGHT BLEEPING RUNS!) with two outs in the ninth.

Your best (only) centerfielder chooses to make a diving, WebGem catch.

Your best (only) centerfielder sits out the next three games with a sore throwing shoulder.

You might call that a hustle play, but I think it was as boneheaded as not coming to the park knowing who the opposing starting pitcher was.

I don't need everyone to be as cerebral as Cal Ripken or Greg Maddox, but have a little awareness!

While a little off-topic, I really enjoyed the recent Mientkewitz interview and how he felt he was actually better off for having had TK as a manager, even though he was 'walking on eggshells', because it helped him develop a thicker skin and be more prepared for the ups and downs of life in MLB (perhaps too paraphrased, but that is how I read between the lines).

#47 cmathewson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 11:32 AM

cmathewson


I know people love Hicks' diving catch last week, but here is how I see it:

The Twins are in a terrible spot in center field.

The Twins are leading by 8 runs (EIGHT BLEEPING RUNS!) with two outs in the ninth.

Your best (only) centerfielder chooses to make a diving, WebGem catch.

Your best (only) centerfielder sits out the next three games with a sore throwing shoulder.

You might call that a hustle play, but I think it was as boneheaded as not coming to the park knowing who the opposing starting pitcher was.

I don't need everyone to be as cerebral as Cal Ripken or Greg Maddox, but have a little awareness!

While a little off-topic, I really enjoyed the recent Mientkewitz interview and how he felt he was actually better off for having had TK as a manager, even though he was 'walking on eggshells', because it helped him develop a thicker skin and be more prepared for the ups and downs of life in MLB (perhaps too paraphrased, but that is how I read between the lines).


Fair enough. But when you are publicly criticized for failing to hustle or prepare or anything and you've been effectively benched for it, you hustle on every play. What I'm saying is, they can't complain about him not hustling and then complain about him hustling.
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#48 Shane Wahl

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:33 PM

Hicks has actually improved over the last month and now there is this irresponsibility from LEN 3!

If this is going to be such a stupid, ridiculous issue for the Twins, then yes, send him down to Rochester until Santana starts to fall flat (he will, at least for awhile). How this organization has handled Hicks (and Parmelee in the past) is beyond my comprehension. And they were about to continue to do it to Pinto too, but luckily something had to give.

#49 Riverbrian

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:36 PM

Personally... I never place a lot of faith in sound bites or quotes. How a manager feels about a ballplayer could never be boiled down to a sentence.

Repeating myself... I was shocked that Hicks made the team out of ST after his 2013. Not using LEN as proof of anything... But... If they had lack of engagement concerns... Aloof issues with Hicks... If you couple that with his actual 2013 statistical performance... It makes the Twins approach to CF beyond baffling. The Twins screwed up.

I have no idea what Hicks is like... I can only judge by what I've seen. Here's what I've seen:

1. I rarely see him hit a ball hard... Hits... Outs... The ball doesn't scream off his bat. The hits he gets are usually soft. Something ain't right... I don't know what it is but something ain't right.

2. He has speed but I rarely see him use it. I don't watch him play and say... "Man... Is he fast". But I've heard that he is. I've seen him range on some flyballs and that's about it. Where are the stolen bases? Where are the extra bases? Where are the moments where Dick or Bert say "Hicks sure can run". He's been here long enough that we would have seen something with his feet by now.

3. We've all heard about his 96MPH high school fastball. I've seen him make one throw that made me go wow!!! Last year Yankee stadium. From the CF wall to 3B on the fly... I know he has it but why doesn't he use it. If he has a rocket arm... Why haven't we seen it. He's just dumping the ball into the cut.

In the short time that Santana has been in CF... I've seen him hit the ball hard... I've seen him use his feet with speed that you notice and what should be even more obvious to all watching... I've seen Santana actually try to throw runners out. Yes he has failed miserably a couple of times but I've seen him try. I don't think he has Hicks's arm but I've seen him try to nail runners more often then I've seen Hicks try in a much much shorter period of time in CF.

Whatever problems the Twins have with Hicks... I dont know and I don't trust the quotes. But my guess is that you all see the problems.

If he has an arm... Show me the gun! If he has speed... Show me an example of his wheels. There ain't many examples. I can find examples with Santana.

For those who think that Hicks is our best OF... I respect your opinion but I honestly believe you mean he has the potential to be our best defensive outfielder and with that I agree completely.

If Hicks is the best we have based on performance. We are in trouble... Because I really don't see it.

Edited by Riverbrian, 12 June 2014 - 12:39 PM.

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#50 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:48 PM

Minnesota without a doubt has some of the worst (maybe not worst, but certainly lazy at times) beat writers around, other then Russo and Sinker (who isn't a beat writer but is great) I don't see a lot worth reading on a somewhat regular basis.

The 4 guys here and Gleeman could write circles around these jokers. The timing of this article by Neal III seems suspect at the very least.
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:whacky028::whacky028: :whacky028::whacky028:

#51 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:02 PM

I don't get why this has turned into a beat writer witchhunt/conspiracy. Sorry to break it to folks but the beat writers don't have to drum up or concoct anything to make this story.

The behavior of Hicks and the team are doing the work for them.

#52 cmathewson

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:03 PM

Minnesota without a doubt has some of the worst (maybe not worst, but certainly lazy at times) beat writers around, other then Russo and Sinker (who isn't a beat writer but is great) I don't see a lot worth reading on a somewhat regular basis.

The 4 guys here and Gleeman could write circles around these jokers. The timing of this article by Neal III seems suspect at the very least.


Berardino is the best we've had in a long time. I like Miller. I really liked Christensen until he moved to the Gopher's beat. I remeber LEN III used to complain about Christensen "eating his lunch". To my mind, he didn't do anything all that special. He just worked hard and is a great writer.
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#53 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:05 PM

I don't understand how these issues, if true, were unknown to the Twins when they traded two CFers and gave him the job last spring. I also don't understand the Twins penchant for using the media to question character.

Edited by USAFChief, 12 June 2014 - 01:08 PM.


#54 Riverbrian

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:08 PM

I don't understand how these issues, if true, were unknown to the Twins when they traded two CFers and gave him the job last spring.


I agree with this... How Indeed?

Not only last spring... But THIS SPRING!!! I can't grasp the CF thinking this year and I'm really trying to grasp it.
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#55 Shane Wahl

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:10 PM

I don't understand how these issues, if true, were unknown to the Twins when they traded two CFers and gave him the job last spring. I also don't understand the Twins penchant for using the media to question character.


Precisely. What is actually going on in this organization if this kind of thing can actually happen. Either they are making stuff up/exaggerating, or they bumped the guy after one good year at AA knowing that he had the issues that they are now complaining about.

Aside from that, he has been getting better through the year. He just isn't playing now.

#56 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:17 PM

I don't understand how these issues, if true, were unknown to the Twins when they traded two CFers and gave him the job last spring. I also don't understand the Twins penchant for using the media to question character.


One caveat: "question young player's character" - it's rarely a veteran.

#57 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:17 PM

I know there's problems with Hicks, but can someone explain why he is in the Twins'
doghouse? I know he didn't prepare at all, but what are some of the other issues?


He hasn't shown he can hit. He's awful as a hitter. He can't hit. He walks, some, yes. Can't hit. No spark. No charge. No enthusiasm. No drive. No gotta ram that ball back up the middle. No, no, no.

#58 Linus

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

I don't understand how these issues, if true, were unknown to the Twins when they traded two CFers and gave him the job last spring. I also don't understand the Twins penchant for using the media to question character.


This. Which makes me think that most of this is inaccurate and what is going on is no different than the growing pains that most young players experience. I also think people are exaggerating the number of times the Twins have directly and publicly criticized or questioned a players character through the media. Gardy makes some comments in the heat of a loss but I've never heard Ryan do it and Antony once. This whole go around is based on LEN3 and nothing he has written has a direct, credible source attributed to it.

#59 THE DFC

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:56 PM

Hunter was very similar to Hicks. Even after a full season in the bigs, he needed to be sent back to AAA before he figured it out at age 26. Hicks is only 24 and has yet to play a full season in Rochester. He was rushed up because of the 2 trades before he was ready. I hope the Twins don't give up on him. I think he has the potential to be a late bloomer like Hunter and Gomez and if they toss him out, he'll bloom somewhere else. (Gomez was also 26 before he got it - his 3rd season with Milwaukee).


Thank you, sir. This needs to be mentioned.

Also, when Hicks does ultimately arrive in Rochester for the foreseeable future, it needs to be expressed to him that he needs to remold himself into someone that has a bat worthy of being a corner major league OF, and his competition for taking hold of an opportunity like that is with players like Arcia, Plouffe and Rosario.

What does this mean? Well, maybe Hicks should modify his approach at the plate to, gee, I dunno, maybe swing more than once in a blue moon? I appreciate patience at the plate, and no one wants him to be the 2nd coming of Jacque Jones. But, in order to have a SLG that exceeds an OBP--something pretty much imperative from a major league OF--you need to swing the bat and drive the ball.

What's funny is that he has the strength and bat speed to hit the crap out of it.

Ironically, I wish he would take an aggressive approach much more in line with Carlos Gomez or Torii Hunter. I think that alone would make a quality MLB starter, or at worst case, I super valuable trading chip to give him an opportunity to excel elsewhere and get an Alex Meyer/Trevor May or better in return.

#60 TRex

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 02:27 PM

Fair enough. But when you are publicly criticized for failing to hustle or prepare or anything and you've been effectively benched for it, you hustle on every play. What I'm saying is, they can't complain about him not hustling and then complain about him hustling.


If your kid is sitting around the house like a couch potato, and you tell him (or her) to go outside and play and they promptly 'hustle' out into the street chasing a ball, are you going to complain (or at least try to get him to learn his lesson)?:D

Edited by TRex, 12 June 2014 - 02:32 PM.
incomplete analogy