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Article: Hicks Positioned to Take the Leap

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:52 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...o-Take-the-Leap

#2 Otwins

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:05 PM

Here is what you willl hear about Hicks when he is sent down- He needs triple A AB's - we have three young centerfielders and we need Hicks to play everday - He needs to work on his __________ so we sent him to triple A. He will be the centerfielder an hour after the full year of service date passes. That is usually around June 1st. No way out of spring training.

#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:31 PM

I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.

#4 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

Here is what you willl hear about Hicks when he is sent down- He needs triple A AB's - we have three young centerfielders and we need Hicks to play everday - He needs to work on his __________ so we sent him to triple A. He will be the centerfielder an hour after the full year of service date passes. That is usually around June 1st. No way out of spring training.

Actually the 'full year of service time' is about 2 wks into a year. Then MN will have him for 2 wks short of 7yrs before he'd have FA rights instead of 6yrs.
What you may be thinking of is arbitration rights...which is about mid June.
But we all fear you are correct

#5 jimbo92107

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:59 AM

Why should I buy a ticket if things don't change? Twins management has to realize that there's not much reason to be interested in this team if we get another year of the same old crap as the last two years. With promising new faces like Hicks, at least we get to cheer for the future.

Bring up the kids, give them a taste of the bigs. Let them see the giant new stadium and hear the enormous volume of thousands of people. Will they be intimidated? Fine, get the novelty out of the way. Screw all the clever contract moves. This team sucks, and everybody knows it. Make some big changes, or lose your fan base.

#6 Nick Nelson

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:17 AM

I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.


IMO, Joe Benson needs more than a good spring to earn a chance at starting in the majors. He looked horrible during his first MLB stint and couldn't hit anywhere last year even when healthy. There were serious question marks about his plate approach even before 2012, so I personally don't think he should even be in the conversation at this point. Maybe after a few good months in Rochester.

For me, the choices come down to Mastroianni, Hicks or outside stopgap. Choosing Mastro would require them to find another fourth OF who can play center. If the org truly believes it will be more beneficial for Hicks' development to get a few months in Triple-A before tasting the majors, so be it, but I'd hope that's the only factor in their evaluation. I don't believe the contract stuff should have much bearing.

#7 Alex

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:32 AM

They might believe it but I don't.

Revere was clearly ML ready when he was called up. Parmelee was 24 and had to go back to AAA before getting what looks like a more permanent call-up, and we know how things went with Dozier, where they predicted his success based on AA numbers. Parmelee and Revere both showed success at AAA.

If anything the Gomez comparison should be cause for hesitation. Hicks may be ready, but he should spend at least some time in AAA to make sure.

#8 Brandon

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:54 AM

I think Hicks needs to start the season in AAA for financial reasons regardless. I think what Seth was saying is he hopes Benson shows he can be that stop gap CF instead of going outside the organization.

Now in spring training if Hicks is so much better than everyone else playing then yes he needs to start the season as the CF but not if he is tied for the job because of the financial implications noted above.

#9 raindog

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:02 AM

Waiting a few weeks to get an extra year of service time is absolutely a good idea. And it's not like he couldn't use some time at AAA.

As for Benson, it's been said he also played through some injuries last year, accounting for some of his struggles. Maybe Seth knows a little more about that.

EDIT: As much as I like Benson, I just came across this piece of trash:
http://www.fannation...f2_a7&eref=sihp

Edited by raindog, 10 December 2012 - 07:05 AM.


#10 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:26 AM

I would like to see Joe Benson, who is just starting to jog now after his most-recent knee surgery, have a strong spring and win the starting CF job out of camp. If so, he may get a month or two to see what he can do. That way, Hicks can continue to show his all-around game. And yes, I fully believe in waiting to bring up a top talent prospect until you know you have him for an extra full season. That's just smart.


IMO, Joe Benson needs more than a good spring to earn a chance at starting in the majors. He looked horrible during his first MLB stint and couldn't hit anywhere last year even when healthy. There were serious question marks about his plate approach even before 2012, so I personally don't think he should even be in the conversation at this point. Maybe after a few good months in Rochester.

For me, the choices come down to Mastroianni, Hicks or outside stopgap. Choosing Mastro would require them to find another fourth OF who can play center. If the org truly believes it will be more beneficial for Hicks' development to get a few months in Triple-A before tasting the majors, so be it, but I'd hope that's the only factor in their evaluation. I don't believe the contract stuff should have much bearing.


In defense of Benson, I did hear that there were other, unpublicized injuries that took their toll on him, in addition to the injuries that were known to Twins fans. I wonder if, at any point in the season, he was even close to 100% healthy? Either way, though, it was a totally lost season, and he certainly has a chip on his shoulder going into 2013.

As for the service time argument, yes I do think it matters in this situtation. I'm accepting that there is little chance that the Twins are going to compete for the playoffs in 2013. If you believe that Hicks is the best CF option for this team (which I do) to open the season, then, yes, if this team was playoff contender, perhaps it makes the most sense to sacrifice that extra year of team control and put the best player on the field the full season. With this Twins club, however, the focus clearly is on the future. Sacrificing a few weeks, or 2 months, or whatever it is, of Hicks in CF doesn't damage the present very much, and if we believe that Hicks is the future CF for the Twins, having an entire extra year of team control makes Hicks more valuable, not just to the Twins, but to other teams in the future, should a guy like Byron Buxton make Hicks a tradeable commodity at some point.
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#11 mike wants wins

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:59 AM

I am mot sure why worrying about future arbitration matters. By the time he is eligible, they will have almost all players making the minimum. At some point, they do need to sell tickets somehow. But I think Seth and others are correct in assuming it is about money for the Twins

#12 TheLeviathan

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:03 AM

I don't think the Twins will send him down to AAA for arb. reasons if he blows them out of the water in ST. I think he's going to get a lot of chances to impress the coaches and if he does, I bet he's with the club at the start of the season.

#13 roger

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:14 AM

I need to side with Seth on this one, ie, I am on record from several months ago stating that Joe Benson will have a break out season in 2013. Thus, I believe he can and will be the starting centerfielder on opening day. It is my understanding that he went in for knee surgery expecting a minor cleanout. When in his knee, the surgeons learned there was a lot of damage and did a much more serious procedure.

We don't know how long that injury had been affecting his play. Yes, he got off to a more than slow start at Rochester which weighed on his psyche. But the effect of his injuries (hamate bone and knee) certainly was a major reason his entire season was a disaster.

With that said, I believe the Twins believe he is a legimate candidate to be in center on opening day. He has the skills that in many ways are equal to Hicks. Unlike some, I don't believe his play with the Twins in September, 2011 was a disaster. I saw a tremendously skilled young man getting his first glimpse of the 'show.' I remember the game he almost hit for the cycle as a glimpse of what could come. Does he have some things he needs to work on, certainly. But when it happens, he could become a superstar!

#14 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

I'm really high on Hicks as well and it's nice to see that the org thinks he's good enough to play already. He could develop into the best leadoff hitter in the game.

#15 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

I don't know if the clock will have a huge impact on Hicks. He might not be ready, he might struggle and get sent down, but I don't think they'll worry too much about service time.

In any event, I'm excited for him. Here's hoping.

#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:52 AM

I am mot sure why worrying about future arbitration matters. By the time he is eligible, they will have almost all players making the minimum. At some point, they do need to sell tickets somehow. But I think Seth and others are correct in assuming it is about money for the Twins


It has nothing to do with money, in my opinion... It has to do with this... The Twins (most likely) aren't going to compete for a playoff spot in 2013 no matter who they bring in or call up... They've got prospects now that should potentially make them competitive for awhile starting in 2014 or 2015. If Hicks starts the season with the Twins (and stays up for good), he'll be here through 2018. If they have him spend a month in Rochester to start the season and then call him up (and he stays up for good), he'll be here through the 2019 season. Has nothing to do with money. Has everything to do with keeping what may become a quality player for an extra season in his prime when the Twins should be competing.

#17 cmathewson

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:56 AM

I think he'll get a chance right away. I think you're right about it being his job to lose. Benson or Mastro could beat him out. But I expect him to win the job out of Spring Training. He won't make the team if he doesn't win the starting job. But I expect him to win the starting job.

Here is a complete list of top position player prospects they have promoted directly from AA:

Mauer
Revere
Benson
Parmelee
Dozier

Not all of those guys stayed up. But the guys who were drafted in the first round stayed up. Also note: Hicks was the highest drafted position player since Mauer (16th overall). From the time he was drafted until the time they signed Sano, he was by far the best position player in the system. I think it's fair to say the really want him to win the job out of spring training.

#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:56 AM

I don't know if the clock will have a huge impact on Hicks. He might not be ready, he might struggle and get sent down, but I don't think they'll worry too much about service time.

In any event, I'm excited for him. Here's hoping.


With the Twins, I don't think the free agency or arbitration 'clocks' will matter. IF they think he's ready, they'll have him start the season with them. There is plenty of precedence for that. Joe Mauer was on the opening day roster in 2004. Last year, Parmelee and Hendriks were Opening Day roster guys.

the only scary thing about opening up this kind of competition for spring training is that typically spring training stats mean absolutely nothing.

#19 Shane Wahl

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:57 AM

I doubt they are going to worry about his arbitration clock.

Benson still could end up being a better play, but after last year's mess, he needs to right the ship in AAA.

#20 Shane Wahl

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

I don't think ST is going to matter in terms of statistical performance unless there is some wild difference between one and the other two. If Hicks looks like he can handle the role, I think it will be his job. From many Twins fans writing him off before 2012 to leading off and playing CF in 2013? I would love that on principle!

#21 twinsnorth49

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

If he performs up to expectations then they'll look to extend him in a couple of years anyway. If he can play now, he should play.

#22 mike wants wins

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

Seth, control is about money. In your scenario, they could sign him to a deal to keep him. So your clock argument is all about money.

#23 ericchri

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:17 AM

EDIT: As much as I like Benson, I just came across this piece of trash:
Twins sitting on next Mike Trout? - MLB - Baseball - Rumors - FanNation


Heh, I saw that, too. Good for a chuckle. I actually have hopes Benson turns into a really good player again, but that comparison is just a wee bit over the top.

My personal preference with no other factors to consider would be Hicks as the starter. I think Seth has the right idea, though. Hope that Benson has regained his form in order to man the position until Hicks' service clock is in order, and then call him up. Why would anyone not want Benson to be good enough to start? More trade pieces for the Twins, especially since he's apparently the next Mike Trout.:banghead:

#24 drivlikejehu

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

I'd prefer to see Hicks start in AAA. The Twins are very conservative with promotions anyway, so I don't think they would start him in the Majors unless he really was ready, but... the service time issue is definitely significant, and a little extra caution wouldn't hurt either. Names like Travis Snider and Cameron Maybin come to mind, who first got called up at a young age and have been very inconsistent.

Truly elite talents like Trout and Harper are a different story, but Hicks isn't that kind of player.

#25 OldManWinter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

It says 23 comments, but only one by otwin is here?????

#26 righty8383

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

I'm having that problem too. If you go to the forum and find the thread for this article, all the comments will be shown.

#27 Nick Nelson

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:29 AM

[quote name='Seth Stohs']The Twins (most likely) aren't going to compete for a playoff spot in 2013 no matter who they bring in or call up... They've got prospects now that should potentially make them competitive for awhile starting in 2014 or 2015.[/QUOTE]

But it's also about putting an appealing product on the field. Even if the Twins aren't going all-out to win in 2013, they need to give the fans something to come out to the ballpark for. Watching Hicks develop on the big-league stage would be fun perk and would help mitigate the losses of a couple fan favorites. Of course, this ranks behind Hicks' development in importance, so if they truly believe he'll be overwhelmed or set back by the MLB challenge, go ahead and start him in Triple-A.

[quote name='Seth Stohs']If Hicks starts the season with the Twins (and stays up for good), he'll be here through 2018. If they have him spend a month in Rochester to start the season and then call him up (and he stays up for good), he'll be here through the 2019 season.[/QUOTE]

Of course, as twinsnorth notes, if Hicks pans out the Twins can (and probably will) give him a contract extension that buys out a couple years of a free agency. So I really don't think it should be a major factor. They have enough money now that potential contract situations six years down the line shouldn't affect their present decision-making.

[quote name='Seth Stohs']the only scary thing about opening up this kind of competition for spring training is that typically spring training stats mean absolutely nothing.[/QUOTE]

Agreed. They need to enter ST with a plan in place that will only be altered by drastic changes during spring (injury or completely abysmal performances). I hate the idea of an open comp in Ft. Myers where the best performer in 80 AB gets the job.

#28 OldManWinter

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

Now all the comments

#29 ThePuck

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

The last three major supposed ST battles we had, the winner (by stats at least) didn't get the job.

Span losing to Gomez
Harris losing to Punto
Slowey posting the best ERA of all 6 SPs.

I have a hard time believing we actually have ST battles

#30 James

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

I really don't know how I personally feel about this one. If he gets the job out of ST, great. It'll be fun to watch him. If they decide to wait a few weeks so they get an extra arb year out him, I understand that too. If the team legitimately feels he needs some AAA time, and he doesn't get called up until June... I understand that one too. There are many good arguments for taking any of those paths.

I would say that I would be most happy with him starting out of ST, or calling him up to get the extra year. This is all based on the assumption that he has a good spring and is ready for the job.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.