Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:46 AM
Disagreeing with the group-think syndrome--Hicks wasn't rushed! He spent nearly 5 full years in the Twins system before April 2013. This is like any college athlete including a red-shirt season. Rookies in any sport typically struggle--and we should expect it--irrespective of how many years are spent in "developmental leagues". There is something of a "Rookie hazing" in MLB (other sports too)--many a "close" pitch was a called strike for Hicks. Hicks' difficulties were magnified by batting him leadoff and being "encouraged" to take pitches, to work the count (and the pitcher). I am convinced Hicks would have performed much better if slotted 8th or 9th in the lineup rather than 1st.
Other indications about Hicks and his "struggles". Hicks was assigned to extended Spring training (in his first full-season) to convert him to a switch-hitter. This should have been noticed as a huge red flag, that hicks really wasn't an heir apparent to Hunter. Hicks was a 1st round choice. If there was (is!) a problem with breaking balls from RHPs, it should have been noticed before he was drafted--and be fully incorporated in his pre-draft evaluation. Ergo, Hicks was over evaluated and likely shouldn't have been a first round selection. To me, there were plenty of indicators that Hicks would struggle at first, especially when tasked as a leadoff hitter, and Hicks knowing full well that Buxton was deemed "the future". There is also way too much faith in experience at Rochester as a precursor to success at Minnesota especially in light of the numerous examples of "struggling players" to outright flops that have come through the Twins system.
Finally, (signals end of my rant!) Hunter wasn't an example of an "overwhelmed player" examined the stated statistics of the article. Hunter was "disciplined"--and he responded with the hoped-for ferocity in his performance when he wasted restored to the active roster. Hicks would be an example of "overwhelmed", but not Hunter.