Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

MinnCentric Forums


Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Article: Aaron Hicks and Rebounding

  • Please log in to reply
68 replies to this topic

#41 Craig Arko

Craig Arko

    Kepler 425b or bust

  • Members
  • 3,238 posts
  • LocationEarth
  • Twitter: crarko

Posted 29 January 2014 - 02:44 PM

I tell you, the one thing I don't want to see is Hicks become the next Carlos Gomez, going on to shine elsewhere because we gave up on him a couple years too soon. Patience am good ™.

#42 ericchri

ericchri

    Generally Clueless

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:30 PM

While I agree you would look for a power bat to man a corner outfield spot, that's typically because many of those power bats profile so bad defensively, they can't play anywhere else. In the case of Hicks, he might never be a 20+ HR hitter (though he showed flashes of power that make it seem possible if not likely), I wonder at the reasoning that his bat won't be good enough for a corner. He profiles as a potential higher OBP guy, something this team desperately needs at the moment. It almost feels like people are falling into the same stereotypes that Gardy gets mocked for frequently, deciding that certain positions are supposed to be certain types of hitters.

Until last season, Hicks' worst seasons were still a .722 and .735 OPS, and the rest were above .800, and even those two "bad" seasons included an OBP of over .350. Would it really be so horrible to have a .750 OPS'ing corner outfielder who had an OBP over .350 and enough speed to take/steal extra bases occasionally? I'm not trying to predict that's the hitter he will be, but I don't find it particularly far-fetched to think he could. If that included well-above average defense for the position as well, why is that not good enough? To me, I would see an Alex Gordon with a little less power, a little more discipline, and that's a good baseball player.

#43 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 7,455 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:38 PM

Shouldn't be discouraged. Chris Young was/is an above average baseball player. Perhaps he is in decline, but his last six years he's been worth 13.7 WAR. I'd take that kind of value out of Hicks.


I think the term "was" is important. Of that 13.7 WAR - 9 of it came in two seasons. Meaning he was roughly a 1 WAR player the other four. I know it's not fair to discharge those seasons, but the WAR total is a bit misleading if you don't parse it out a bit.

I had higher hopes for Hicks than a 1-2 WAR player and maybe his peak will look like those two outliers for Young. I'm just not sure about that.

#44 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 10,127 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:38 PM

I recall reading on Fangraphs that no one had ever started that badly and become good, but that could have been an offhand comment on a chat.....and not analysis......

I agree with Brock. I have no idea what is happening next with him. But I still wish he had quit switch hitting two years ago. I think he'd be a good MLB player already.

#45 JP3700

JP3700

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 294 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:59 PM

I think the term "was" is important. Of that 13.7 WAR - 9 of it came in two seasons. Meaning he was roughly a 1 WAR player the other four. I know it's not fair to discharge those seasons, but the WAR total is a bit misleading if you don't parse it out a bit.

I had higher hopes for Hicks than a 1-2 WAR player and maybe his peak will look like those two outliers for Young. I'm just not sure about that.


His discrepancy in WAR is heavily weighted by how his defense was measured those years. In his two superstar years he was out of this world good defensively. In his down years he was a negative defender. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, so it all balances out. He was probably closer to league average his down years and just a star his two breakout years.

Either way, I'd take the total value anyway I can get it. Whether it be a consistent 2+ WAR a year or two superstar level years mixed in with some mediocre years.

The Diamondbacks got 14.7 WAR over his 6+ years of team control. I'd take that with just about any prospect.

#46 Linus

Linus

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,013 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:47 PM

Offensively, I agree. I still think he has a chance to stick as a corner outfielder because of his superb defensive skills. The Twins signed three new starting pitchers (plus Pelfrey) who pitch to contact, and the Twins will need the best defense they can put on the field in order to keep opponents from scoring.


The point is not whether he can play a corner outfield spot - clearly he can. The point is what course of action brings the Twins the greatest return on this asset. My contention is that he is more valuable as center fielder trade chip than staying in Minnesota and playing a corner spot, especially with corner outfielders in the pipeline. Good centerfielders are much more valuable than good corner outfielders.

#47 Jim H

Jim H

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 439 posts

Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:59 PM

Good article, Nick. People forget how mediocre Hunter was at the beginning of his career. Actually, his minor league career was mediocre as well. He didn't really hit outstandingly in the minors until he was sent back to the minors after being in the majors for more than a year. I remember thinking that Hunter wasn't going to be more than a 4th outfielder. He really wasn't very good defensively either, Kelly played him in leftfield for awhile.

Even after Hunter was established, he really wasn't all that consistent. His season numbers always looked OK but it was generally a hot month in the middle of the season that made them look pretty good. What this indicates about Hicks, I don't know. There are some similarities and Hicks has demonstrated much better plate discipline in the minors than Hunter ever did. I don't that agree that the Twins should have forced him to quick switch hitting either. I just think the Twins and fans should be more patient with him. I think he will be pretty good, eventually, it just might take a few years.

One last point, most posters on this site did indeed want Hicks to go north last spring. There were very few who actually posted that he should be sent to AAA. It wasn't just the Twins who thought his spring indicated that he was ready for the majors.

#48 shs_59

shs_59

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 330 posts

Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:23 AM

Hicks earned an opening day start by having the best ST out of the entire roster. You really would have started him in AAA and had Clete Thomas as the opening day CF? They did bat him lead off way too long and probably should have demoted him sooner but he's got skills, he should be at least OK at some point in the near future with a lot of upside.



THanks for the question hobbs.

Absolutely! I would of started him in AAA Rochester if he mashed in ST, if he didn't hit very well in Spring Trainging I would of sent him to AA New Britian.

Hicks could of hitt better than he did in ST, and I still would of sent him to the minors. Spring Training stats = almost nothing as they are a tiny sample size against inferrior competition (often times)

Plus if i recall, Hicks hitt 4 HR's in spring, 3 of them in one wind blown game.

Hopefully the Twins have learned their lesson.


Now looking ahead to 2014, Where will Hicks start now AA , AAA ? It has to be the latter , but you JUST HOPE that his confidence isn't completely shattered and we have Joe Benson 2.0 on our hands.

Thats why i couldn't believe the lack of patience with so many people on here, regarding Hicks and other young players... when we weren't going to compete last year anyways.


Little frustrating.


I think Dozier was slightly rushed, and possibly Arcia, although we've handeled that much better.

Top Twins prospects ? 1.Byron Buxton (OF-AA)  2.J.O. Berrios (P-AAA) 3.Jorge Polanco (2B-AAA) 4.) Tyler Jay (P-A+)  5. Nick Gordon (SS-A) 6. Tyler Duffey (P-AAA) 7. Stephen Gonsalves (P-A+) 8. Felix Jorge (P-A) 9. Max Kepler (OF-AA) 10.Alex Meyer (P-AAA) 11. Kohl Stewart (P-A+) 12. Wander Javier (SS-RK) 13. Chih-Wei-Hu (SP-A+) 14. A.B. Walker (OF-AA) 15. Travis Harrison (OF-AA) Just Missed :P Nick Burdi (RP-A+), P Jake Reed, C Stuart Turner. (e.Rosario, t. May, m. Sano graduates)


#49 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:52 AM

THanks for the question hobbs.

Absolutely! I would of started him in AAA Rochester if he mashed in ST, if he didn't hit very well in Spring Trainging I would of sent him to AA New Britian.

Hicks could of hitt better than he did in ST, and I still would of sent him to the minors. Spring Training stats = almost nothing as they are a tiny sample size against inferrior competition (often times)

Plus if i recall, Hicks hitt 4 HR's in spring, 3 of them in one wind blown game.

Hopefully the Twins have learned their lesson.


Now looking ahead to 2014, Where will Hicks start now AA , AAA ? It has to be the latter , but you JUST HOPE that his confidence isn't completely shattered and we have Joe Benson 2.0 on our hands.

Thats why i couldn't believe the lack of patience with so many people on here, regarding Hicks and other young players... when we weren't going to compete last year anyways.


Little frustrating.


I think Dozier was slightly rushed, and possibly Arcia, although we've handeled that much better.


I understand the frustration, but I know this is among the least predictable things in baseball. You consider all the data available and make a decision, hoping it works out. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#50 jay

jay

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 30 January 2014 - 10:11 AM

Until last season, Hicks' worst seasons were still a .722 and .735 OPS, and the rest were above .800, and even those two "bad" seasons included an OBP of over .350. Would it really be so horrible to have a .750 OPS'ing corner outfielder who had an OBP over .350 and enough speed to take/steal extra bases occasionally? I'm not trying to predict that's the hitter he will be, but I don't find it particularly far-fetched to think he could. If that included well-above average defense for the position as well, why is that not good enough? To me, I would see an Alex Gordon with a little less power, a little more discipline, and that's a good baseball player.


If he's putting up a .350+ OBP and great defense, that's obviously good enough to play. The issue people are pointing out is that's hardly likely. Developing into a .320ish OBP and .720 OPS in LF or RF? That's fringe starter/4th outfielder territory, even with good defense.

#51 jimbo92107

jimbo92107

    Señor Member

  • Members
  • 1,208 posts
  • LocationSan Diego

Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:28 AM

Hicks is a fantastic physical specimen, highly intelligent, works his butt off, arm like a rocket, fast as heck, courageous to a fault in center field.

I feel pretty good about his prospects for improving at the plate. He's known to be coachable, and he's got some pretty serious experts to help him figure it out. Chances are good.

#52 ericchri

ericchri

    Generally Clueless

  • Members
  • 417 posts

Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:05 AM

If he's putting up a .350+ OBP and great defense, that's obviously good enough to play. The issue people are pointing out is that's hardly likely. Developing into a .320ish OBP and .720 OPS in LF or RF? That's fringe starter/4th outfielder territory, even with good defense.


I guess the point is moreso people are making conjectures about his bat now when honestly we don't really have an idea how good a hitter he's going to be yet. Yeah, his first MLB season was horrible, but somehow that translates into he can never be a good hitter? He has the potential (yes, potential, not a prediction of anything specific) to be a much better hitter than people are giving him credit for. Didn't we just do this with Dozier a year ago? Let's let him find his place as a major leaguer, see what kind of hitter he actually becomes, before we declare he can or can't play a corner outfield position.

I do agree with some in that if he finds himself as a hitter, he may be more valuable as CF trade bait than manning a corner for the Twins, but let's find out who he is first.

Edited by ericchri, 31 January 2014 - 09:08 AM.


#53 SouthDakotaFarmer

SouthDakotaFarmer

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 15 posts

Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:32 AM

I can't remember where are read/heard this, but a few months ago rumor had it that Hicks has benn playing golf all day and everyday this winter. I love me some golf, but back when I played ball in college, if I spent to much time golfing, it would really screw with my baseball swing. Obviously there is a reason I'm sitting on my couch at age 30 and not playing baseball anymore, but does this argument hold merit? I hope I dreamed this up and didn't actually read or hear it.

#54 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,906 posts

Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:09 AM

I guess the point is moreso people are making conjectures about his bat now when honestly we don't really have an idea how good a hitter he's going to be yet. Yeah, his first MLB season was horrible, but somehow that translates into he can never be a good hitter? He has the potential (yes, potential, not a prediction of anything specific) to be a much better hitter than people are giving him credit for. Didn't we just do this with Dozier a year ago? Let's let him find his place as a major leaguer, see what kind of hitter he actually becomes, before we declare he can or can't play a corner outfield position.

I do agree with some in that if he finds himself as a hitter, he may be more valuable as CF trade bait than manning a corner for the Twins, but let's find out who he is first.

His track record in the minors shows he's struggled with RH pitchers his entire professional career. Just because he struggled in his first stint doesn't make worry... the fact he got completely blown away makes me worry. His numbers started to look better when he started facing more LH pitchers. His splits are .559 to .713. I don't hold out much hope for improving beyond just being bad from that side.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#55 jay

jay

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 31 January 2014 - 01:59 PM

Didn't we just do this with Dozier a year ago? Let's let him find his place as a major leaguer, see what kind of hitter he actually becomes, before we declare he can or can't play a corner outfield position.

I do agree with some in that if he finds himself as a hitter, he may be more valuable as CF trade bait than manning a corner for the Twins, but let's find out who he is first.


Maybe we read this thread differently, but I've seen it as pretty positive given how last year went for Aaron. There was exactly one post saying he won't play a corner which was later clarified as saying he'd just be more valuable in CF.

His track record in the minors shows he's struggled with RH pitchers his entire professional career. Just because he struggled in his first stint doesn't make worry... the fact he got completely blown away makes me worry. His numbers started to look better when he started facing more LH pitchers. His splits are .559 to .713. I don't hold out much hope for improving beyond just being bad from that side.


His splits last year in MLB looked especially bad, but the sample size isn't huge. I was really surprised his MiLB splits weren't as bad as I was expecting. MiLB splits: .813 vs LH, .755 vs RH. http://minorleaguece...3305&split=3000

When you look at average splits across MLB, that's almost exactly what you would expect for a righty who hits lefties better. If he was .813 vs LH, you'd expect roughly 7% worse vs RH for .756. You'd hope for a switch hitter to be more neutral, but at least he's not showing a bigger split than you'd expect anyway. That's a big knock against the "quit switch-hitting" wagon that I wasn't expecting to find. http://www.fangraphs...lits-2002-2012/

#56 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,906 posts

Posted 31 January 2014 - 03:47 PM

That doesn't cover prior to 2011. I feel like it would tell a different story if it did. I might be wrong (happened exactly once), but his struggles are well documented. Nothing points to this being a fluke. His advanced stats (LD% being my favorite) shows he just doesn't hit very well from that side. Maybe he figures it out. I'll just leave it at that. Going back and forth about it does no good. I'm one of the strongest advocates to dropping switch hitting, I really don't feel it is as much an advantage as some.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#57 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Yes

  • Members
  • 5,325 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 31 January 2014 - 07:10 PM

I recall reading on Fangraphs that no one had ever started that badly and become good, but that could have been an offhand comment on a chat.....and not analysis......


"No one" and "ever" are big words.
Check Brian Harper's first 7+1 seasons in the majors or Shane Mack's first 2 seasons in the majors or the aforementioned Carlos Gomez' first 5 seasons in the majors for quick examples (unless you think that these guys were/are not "good"...)
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#58 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 10,127 posts

Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:51 PM

what was it about the quote stating that I read it online that mislead you to believe it was my belief? I read it on fangraphs, not sure what you want from me......

#59 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:18 PM

If he's putting up a .350+ OBP and great defense, that's obviously good enough to play. The issue people are pointing out is that's hardly likely. Developing into a .320ish OBP and .720 OPS in LF or RF? That's fringe starter/4th outfielder territory, even with good defense.


Hick's OBP in the minors:

Year Age Level OBP

2008 18 Rook 409
2009 19 Low A 353
2010 20 Low A 401
2011 21 High A 354
2012 22 AA 384

Last year seems to be an aberration. Given what he did through his AA season as a 22 year old, a 350 OBP is likely. Only those who focus exclusively on 2013 would say it is "hardly likely".
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#60 Willihammer

Willihammer

    ice cream correspondent

  • Members
  • 4,379 posts
  • LocationSaint Paul

Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:33 PM

Hicks was among the most passive hitters in baseball last year. He swung less than 40% of the time. He struckout looking 1 out of every 10 times he came to the plate. He has to become more aggressive, not more passive. The pitching is too good at this level to take a lot of strikes

Edited by Willihammer, 03 February 2014 - 12:35 PM.