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Kahrl: Twins Could Jump Up

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#41 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:26 PM

If Plouffe and Willingham both come out of the gate strong and Sano is deemed ready for the big time, as well, I suspect Plouffe will be as likely (and perhaps more so) to be traded as Willingham. He'd almost certainly be perceived to have more value and if you feel neither will be a critical piece of the puzzle beginning in 2015, there's no reason not to deal the player who would bring the best return.


No argument here. If he plays well enough to have good trade value, hallelujah. I figured I was already pushing it asking for Willingham and Correia to bring trade value. I would trade Perkins for the right offer too.

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 31 December 2013 - 02:50 AM.


#42 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:32 PM

Actually, his minor league history showed he took some time to adjust at mastering each successive level of promotion. The Twins FO ignored that history, inexplicably jumped poor Aaron Hicks not one, but 2 Levels, and then rather unfairly expected a major league level performance- at the lead-off spot no less- from a guy who, other than a meaningless Spring Training, hadn't demonstrated he was ready for the move.

This time around should go better, but I would bet that he starts in Roc., and following his past history, will begin to demonstrate mastery of AAA and heat up as springtime temperatures move into the summer month weather.

I think the biggest decision on Hicks will be whether or not he remains a switch hitter.


Kind of late in the game to be converting from a SH, no? Not saying it hasn't happened before, or can't happen with Hicks, it just seems like it maybe should have happened years ago if the transition was going to be smooth.

Regardless, I think Hicksie will bounce back in a big way this year.

#43 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:58 PM

Maybe I am weird or way off base but I don't want Sano or Buxton up until they are essentially overly ready. At 20 or 21 in six years when they hit the FA market at least one of them might be gone as the going rate for super stars seems to be around 25 mil per year. I don't want to train them in the Majors. I want them to be truly ready for the six years we have some control over them.


It's easy enough to buy out 1-2 years of free agency by giving the player a guaranteed contract through his arb seasons.

I agree that neither player should be rushed but if they're ready for MLB, call them up.

#44 Jim Crikket

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 10:21 PM

It's easy enough to buy out 1-2 years of free agency by giving the player a guaranteed contract through his arb seasons.

I agree that neither player should be rushed but if they're ready for MLB, call them up.


Just need to get them extended before either of them decides to switch representation to Scott Boras. Once that happens, there will be no buying out of FA years.
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#45 cmathewson

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 11:17 PM

I expect a bounce back. I expect him to be above average at the plate and will above average in the field. He has the tools. He showed that, when he is not under undo pressure, he has the skills. The combination of jumping over AAA and leading off against the best rotation in the league to start the year was just too much to ask. After he started off 0-12, his confidence was shot. A fresh start will do him a world of good.
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#46 Trevor0333

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:07 AM

I think it's pretty much a guarantee Hicks, Sano, & Meyer all start in AAA. Counting on them for a successful 2014 is being very optimistic.

I just don't see any chance for this improved staff to improve with Willingham, Kubel, & Arcia manning the corners. Pressley doesn't have the range to make up for it. The BABIP is going to be atrocious on fly balls.

2015 can't come quick enough for this pitching staff to have a chance.

Edited by Trevor0333, 31 December 2013 - 07:09 AM.


#47 old nurse

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:22 AM

Actually, his minor league history showed he took some time to adjust at mastering each successive level of promotion. The Twins FO ignored that history, inexplicably jumped poor Aaron Hicks not one, but 2 Levels, and then rather unfairly expected a major league level performance- at the lead-off spot no less- from a guy who, other than a meaningless Spring Training, hadn't demonstrated he was ready for the move.

This time around should go better, but I would bet that he starts in Roc., and following his past history, will begin to demonstrate mastery of AAA and heat up as springtime temperatures move into the summer month weather.

I think the biggest decision on Hicks will be whether or not he remains a switch hitter.

While Hicks may have started off every level slowly, he adjusted by mid season in high A and AA. That he was not showing similar improvement at the big league level is the difference with last season compared to the previous two seasons.

#48 stringer bell

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:25 AM

Kind of late in the game to be converting from a SH, no? Not saying it hasn't happened before, or can't happen with Hicks, it just seems like it maybe should have happened years ago if the transition was going to be smooth.

Regardless, I think Hicksie will bounce back in a big way this year.

I've weighed in on this before. How many switch hitters have gone exclusively RH? I can think of precious few and if Hicks is helpless against RH pitching, he is worthless or close to it. His history suggests it takes longer to adjust LH, but that he eventually does. If he wants to remain a prospect to be a major league regular, it will be as a switch hitter IMHO.

#49 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:36 AM

I've weighed in on this before. How many switch hitters have gone exclusively RH? I can think of precious few and if Hicks is helpless against RH pitching, he is worthless or close to it. His history suggests it takes longer to adjust LH, but that he eventually does. If he wants to remain a prospect to be a major league regular, it will be as a switch hitter IMHO.


Agreed. I may feel differently if Hicks was naturally a LHB but as a righty, he needs to remain a switch hitter or he's a platoon player.

#50 thetank

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:40 AM

Win range for 2014:

Low - 72
High - 93

Best guess? 81

I think it is possible that if injuries hit that the Twins might only win 55 games. They haven't improved the offense and expecting contributions out of early 20 year old players doesn't usually happen. Phil Hughes may have another bad year like he did with the Yankees.

Ricky Nolasco is at best going to go .500 with this team because he isn't pitching for the Dodgers any more. The bullpen could digress. A couple of key injuries and the season could be over early.

#51 Shane Wahl

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:46 AM

Whoa! Is the Hicks dropping switch-hitting thing finally put to rest then!? Yay!

#52 jokin

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:50 AM

While Hicks may have started off every level slowly, he adjusted by mid season in high A and AA. That he was not showing similar improvement at the big league level is the difference with last season compared to the previous two seasons.


...Except you left out the part that he was promoted two levels not one, which kind of messes up your "similar improvment" metrics analysis.

#53 old nurse

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:14 AM

...Except you left out the part that he was promoted two levels not one, which kind of messes up your "similar improvment" metrics analysis.


The point missed was the thinking the Twins thought he might start slow and adjust, 2 levels or not. Be mindful of the number of players that spent no time in AAA. In the past is has not been an uncommon jump. Granted it doesn't always work, but Hicks at the time was a top 100 prospect. He got a shot. It didn't work.
This year Pinto looks to be penciled in as catcher. 19 whole games at AAA. Santana could impress as SS, Meyer could come out in spring training and show he belongs. AAA has not been a necessary step for players.

Edited by old nurse, 31 December 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#54 jokin

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:47 AM

I've weighed in on this before. How many switch hitters have gone exclusively RH? I can think of precious few and if Hicks is helpless against RH pitching, he is worthless or close to it. His history suggests it takes longer to adjust LH, but that he eventually does. If he wants to remain a prospect to be a major league regular, it will be as a switch hitter IMHO.


Agreed. I may feel differently if Hicks was naturally a LHB but as a righty, he needs to remain a switch hitter or he's a platoon player.


Hicks has had only one year where he had a respectable split (2012 @ New Britain- .881OPS RH- .828OPS LH). His disastrous year with the Twins, particularly as a left-handed batter, carried over in Rochester, and then, instead of working to correct this and other deficiencies in his game (as the Twins suggested), he took the winter off.

The window is closing quickly on Hicks, with Buxton hot on his heels.....As far as switching positions, the Twins could probably do better in a starting RFer and batting in the 8 spot than him if the current gaping holes in his game remain problematic. The time is soon coming for the Twins to tweak their investment in Hicks to see what can be salvaged from that huge talent-set that Hicks possesses. I would say that Hicks needs to duplicate his 2012 performance at Roc. in 2014 or he's soon on a MLB career path as a platoon player or 4th OF (and/or relief pitcher?;)).

I too, see a bounce-back year for Hicks based on his historical learning curve, and I'm hopeful that he proves ready to move up to CF by June, aligning right as Presley has fully demonstrated he's really just a 4th OF...or, gulp.....Presley becomes Hicksie's platoon partner for the rest of 2014?

#55 jokin

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:57 AM

The point missed was the thinking the Twins thought he might start slow and adjust, 2 levels or not. Be mindful of the number of players that spent no time in AAA. In the past is has not been an uncommon jump. Granted it doesn't always work, but Hicks at the time was a top 100 prospect. He got a shot. It didn't work.
This year Pinto looks to be penciled in as catcher. 19 whole games at AAA. Santana could impress as SS, Meyer could come out in spring training and show he belongs. AAA has not been a necessary step for players.


There's virtually zero chance that Meyer is on the roster on opening day, and for Santana, the chances are less than zero. For Pinto, the chances that he sticks the full season with the Twins are maybe a little better than 50-50- but that "pencil" you suggest they use for putting his name on the roster has an eraser on the other end. And Gardy is now in his comfort zone with the chance to stick a grizzled veteran behind the plate on a daily basis, just the slightest chink in Pinto's armor gives the club all they need to go with a Suzuki/Fryer/Hermann trio.

The club will do everything in their power to avoid another debacle of the "Twins (wishful) thinking" of a "slow start and adjust" process, ala Hicks. AAA hasn't always been a necessary step, but it is the majority of the time, particularly for slow adjuster-types like Hicks.

Edited by jokin, 31 December 2013 - 10:59 AM.


#56 twinsfan34

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:58 AM

On Hicks,


It seems he's a natural RH. Did he just struggle with the curveball/slider as a RH vs RHP or something?

Btw, last year as a RH vs RHP, he hit .500 and had an OBP of .667, which is good enough to hit leadoff or third or forth for my team.*





*He was 1-for-2, with a BB in 3 PA :)


http://www.baseball-...year=Career&t=b

#57 cmathewson

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:20 AM

While Hicks may have started off every level slowly, he adjusted by mid season in high A and AA. That he was not showing similar improvement at the big league level is the difference with last season compared to the previous two seasons.


Actually, he did make some adjustments. His April was just abysmal: a .356 OPS. But May, June and July were not horrible, .707, .708, and .671 respectively. Not world beating, but with his defense, adequate. The Twins just wanted more, and sent him down to work on things. Unfortunately, he did not respond to the demotion as they hoped. So it was a lost season and he will need to start over. But he has shown resilience throughout his career.

I expect him to put up an OPS of about .700 in 300 PAs or so in the majors. That's certainly not going to make the difference for the Twins.
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#58 spycake

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:22 AM

While Hicks may have started off every level slowly, he adjusted by mid season in high A and AA. That he was not showing similar improvement at the big league level is the difference with last season compared to the previous two seasons.


Actually, Hicks last two months of high A were just as bad as his first month there:
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2011

And in AA, while he did heat up in July/August, he was perfectly respectable for the entire season, outside of his second month there (May):
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2012

Interestingly, May was the one bad month of his second best minor league season too, 2010 at low A:
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2010

#59 jokin

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

Actually, Hicks last two months of high A were just as bad as his first month there:
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2011

And in AA, while he did heat up in July/August, he was perfectly respectable for the entire season, outside of his second month there (May):
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2012

Interestingly, May was the one bad month of his second best minor league season too, 2010 at low A:
http://www.baseball-...e=bgl&year=2010


Actually, in 2012 after a hot start, Hicks was awful for two whole months- from April 15 through June 19- Hicks was barely batting above the Mendoza line. Curiously, Hicks was installed as the leadoff hitter on June 20, when he started on his tear, batting directly in front of Hermann, Arcia and Colabello.

#60 spycake

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:43 AM

Actually, in 2012 after a hot start, Hicks was awful for two whole months- from April 15 through June 19- Hicks was barely batting above the Mendoza line. Curiously, Hicks was installed as the leadoff hitter on June 20, when he started on his tear, batting directly in front of Hermann, Arcia and Colabello.


Thanks, I was looking at the monthly splits. Interestingly his BB and SO rates weren't all that different during that slump at AA. The difference was his batting average and power.

Compare that to his MLB slump, where the Ks were plentiful and BBs gradually dried up...