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Even though Hicks is better than AP and DM......

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#21 ashburyjohn

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:54 PM

When he hits the ball, it stays hit.


Never heard that quote before. My new favorite.

#22 Halsey Hall

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:55 PM

Because the rotation is set, center isn't. And right now, Meyer won't make the Rochester rotation. We've got alot of starting pitching, good starting pitching, and those towns with minor teams will have plenty to be happy about this year. Some will move thru the year, and Meyer probably rise, but no need for him at the majors just yet.

#23 Outlier

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:05 PM

By the end of last season Hicks was so messed up at the plate that he didn't even hit well in AAA. He needs to regain some level of composure and plan at the plate before he gets challenged by MLB pitchers again imo. It's possible that the Twins could make feel that he is ready again but I would like him in AAA. Allow him to come up with very little pressure in June.


One argument against Hicks in AAA could be if Dozier went to AAA last year instead of struggling for almost 2 months in the Majors, would he have made the turn around? Perhaps Bruno, et al are best equipped to get him where he needs to be regarding your concerns.

#24 cmathewson

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:35 PM

While I don't agree that wins are the most important goal of this season, I certainly understand that philosophy. But why can't we compare the idea of promoting of Meyer to the majors to the decision to re-promote Hicks? And why aren't/weren't Presley and Mastro viable options?


OK I'll play. There are two fundamental differences: the players are at different stages in their development cycles and the team has more needs in center than starting pitcher.

First, raw numbers are helpful, but they are not the primary way the Twins evaluate whether a guy is ready. Take their respective AA seasons. Hicks started slow and then dominated the league for the second half. He was among that league's best players. Meyer started strong, got hurt, and pretty much shut down before having a good AFL season. He never dominated.

Anyway, the Twins know a lot more about these guys than we do. They thought enough of Hicks to thrust him into the pressure cooker last year. It didn't work, but that doesn't mean it can't work. And it sure doesn't put him at the back of the line or anything.

Second, there currently is no room for Meyer, whereas there is a definite need for Hicks. Presley is a good bench option, but what we saw in September is his upside. Mastro had a decent year in 2012. But that was his upside. His game is speed, and he has reportedly lost a step with the injury and age. So those are the options, barring an acquisition.

Hicks is better now and much better in the future. I don't know what you expect from him. He's always been a guy who relies as much on walks and XBhits as anything. He's not a contact hitter and never will be. But that doesn't mean he can't be an above average center fielder with the bat, and a potential gold glove outfielder. Would AAA help him? Probably. How much? Open question. Guys like him get there eventually. I don't believe in talented guys ruining their careers through rushing. Grinders like Presley have to earn their way every level. One bad habit and they're done. Guys like Hicks have much larger margins for error.
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#25 cmathewson

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:40 PM

Never heard that quote before. My new favorite.


Credit where credit is due, it's a Dick Bremerism, purportedly picked it up in town ball.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#26 LaBombo

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:58 PM

The Fans at Fangraphs have Hicks at a higher OPS

Hence the word "established" in my post. Pending good evidence to the contrary, you could substitute the words 'remotely valid'.

And yes, Oliver's WAR thinks Hicksie's web gems will offset the continued struggle at the plate that it projects. But it's a small overall edge derived from the much less quantifiable variable of the Offense + Defense = WAR equation.

Also, none of the projections account for the potential increase in offensive advantage for the Preslianni platoon as a result of them facing same-side pitching less often. That's not a given, with Presley having had some reverse platoon splits, but it's certainly worth noting.

But we agree that it's not worth arguing over (as opposed to discussing?). The decision has been made, and center probably belongs to Hicksie until B^2 arrives. His projected progression and ceiling took a hit last year, but it looks like a setback instead of a wall. He should be a good player, and how the Twins handled the choice probably won't have a drastic effect on either the outcome of the season or his future as a baseball player.

#27 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:19 PM

Why would someone assume that sending down Hicks to AAA would be good for him? His dad was a pro baseball player. Hicks has a professional center fielder's body, big league power and a hell of an arm. In my world, sending him down would be opening wounds and leaving him questioning himself and his ability. This is one time you leave the kid in MLB and let him learn to play at that level.

#28 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:25 PM

Why would someone assume that sending down Hicks to AAA would be good for him? His dad was a pro baseball player. Hicks has a professional center fielder's body, big league power and a hell of an arm. In my world, sending him down would be opening wounds and leaving him questioning himself and his ability. This is one time you leave the kid in MLB and let him learn to play at that level.

#29 LaBombo

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:35 PM

Why would someone assume that sending down Hicks to AAA would be good for him? His dad was a pro baseball player. Hicks has a professional center fielder's body, big league power and a hell of an arm. In my world, sending him down would be opening wounds and leaving him questioning himself and his ability. This is one time you leave the kid in MLB and let him learn to play at that level.


He was terrible at the plate and took some routes on fly balls that would have baffled Magellan. And if he's not more worried about the crap season he had last year more than a 2014 'demotion' to the level above the one where he last had success, well, that's an argument against the probability that he'll help the Twins in a meaningful way.

PS. Who his dad is? What his body looks like? Really?

#30 cmathewson

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:56 PM

He was terrible at the plate and took some routes on fly balls that would have baffled Magellan. And if he's not more worried about the crap season he had last year more than a 2014 'demotion' to the level above the one where he last had success, well, that's an argument against the probability that he'll help the Twins in a meaningful way.


It's not like the universe will implode if a player fails to dominate every level below the majors before getting his chance. Lots of guys struggle in AAA or in their first stint in t he majors and are not forced to go and prove it before eventually succeeding in the majors. Dozier's name has been mentioned. I think about Carlos Gomez a lot. It took him three years to make it. He's pretty good now. Hunter had a really tough time. Cuddyer too. There's not hard and fast rule. But most players struggle like Hicks did in his first year.

The other thing is, you're exaggerating his bad year last year. I can't remember that bad a slump at the beginning of a year. But I remember guys having slumps like that. Ben Revere couldn't hit the ball out of the infield when he first came up. But because it happened in September, after the team was out of it, nobody seems to remember. Denard Span had a 2-48 stint like Hicks. But because it happened in the middle of a year, people forgot it. Hicks' happened under the microscope of the first two weeks of the year. So that's what people remember about him. They forget the 12-game hitting streak or the three-homer game.
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#31 Oxtung

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:10 PM

The thing I've noticed about Hicks this spring is he is much stronger than he was at this time last year. When he hits the ball, it stays hit.


Of course last spring training he hit .370 with 6 doubles, a triple and four home runs. Spring training is the definition of SSS.

#32 Oxtung

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:28 PM

It's not like the universe will implode if a player fails to dominate every level below the majors before getting his chance. Lots of guys struggle in AAA or in their first stint in t he majors and are not forced to go and prove it before eventually succeeding in the majors. Dozier's name has been mentioned. I think about Carlos Gomez a lot. It took him three years to make it. He's pretty good now. Hunter had a really tough time. Cuddyer too. There's not hard and fast rule. But most players struggle like Hicks did in his first year.

The other thing is, you're exaggerating his bad year last year. I can't remember that bad a slump at the beginning of a year. But I remember guys having slumps like that. Ben Revere couldn't hit the ball out of the infield when he first came up. But because it happened in September, after the team was out of it, nobody seems to remember. Denard Span had a 2-48 stint like Hicks. But because it happened in the middle of a year, people forgot it. Hicks' happened under the microscope of the first two weeks of the year. So that's what people remember about him. They forget the 12-game hitting streak or the three-homer game.


Dozier: .234 Avg. 17% k-rate
Gomez: .258 Avg. 23% k-rate. Played elite defense right off the bat.
Hunter: .255 Avg. 17% k-rate.
Cuddyer: .252 Avg. 20% k-rate.
Hicks: .192 Avg. 27% k-rate.

There are their rookie year stats. Hicks had a historically bad year putting the ball in play. There is a big difference between sub-.200 and .250 batting averages. At .250 that means you had a month or two where you managed to hit .270. That isn't true with a sub-.200 average.

BTW, Denard Span hit .294 his rookie year with a strike out rate of only 15%.

#33 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 01:48 AM

I think this is an interesting discussion, and there's no way to know what the right or best answer is. It'll be a hindsight thing regardless of what happens. It's an old discussion of what is more important; doing what is best for a player's long-term development or winning now. And, in each of those things, we pretend to know, but we don't know. Is it better for Aaron Hicks long-term to go to the minors for 2 months or come up right away? There's no way to know. Which gives them a better chance to win? We don't know.

I do know that I spent a lot of time talking with Hicks last week, generally one-on-one. He's focused. He's very thoughtful. He's very smart. He had a tough year physically and mentally last year. But, he's ready to put that behind him.

Can he be this year's version of Brian Dozier and take that big step? I believe he can be, at least to some degree, but that doesn't mean he will be.

I do get the sense, as I wrote in the Roster Projection 3.0 that they will go with Hicks again and leave Presley as the fourth outfielder, and I'm fine with that.

I'll certainly be rooting for him, wherever they send him, but I certainly am not going to pretend I know with 100% certainty whether, for him, it would be best to start the season with the Twins or with the Red Wings.

I do know that he's worked hard, become stronger and seems to have his confidence back.

#34 cmathewson

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:00 AM

Of course last spring training he hit .370 with 6 doubles, a triple and four home runs. Spring training is the definition of SSS.


Yes. He's also added about 16 pounds of muscle to his frame. So there's that.
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#35 tobi0040

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:15 AM

It's not like the universe will implode if a player fails to dominate every level below the majors before getting his chance. Lots of guys struggle in AAA or in their first stint in t he majors and are not forced to go and prove it before eventually succeeding in the majors. Dozier's name has been mentioned. I think about Carlos Gomez a lot. It took him three years to make it. He's pretty good now. Hunter had a really tough time. Cuddyer too. There's not hard and fast rule. But most players struggle like Hicks did in his first year.

The other thing is, you're exaggerating his bad year last year. I can't remember that bad a slump at the beginning of a year. But I remember guys having slumps like that. Ben Revere couldn't hit the ball out of the infield when he first came up. But because it happened in September, after the team was out of it, nobody seems to remember. Denard Span had a 2-48 stint like Hicks. But because it happened in the middle of a year, people forgot it. Hicks' happened under the microscope of the first two weeks of the year. So that's what people remember about him. They forget the 12-game hitting streak or the three-homer game.


Seth nailed it, Hicks lost his confidence last year. Because it is a throw-away year, starting him in AAA and getting some confidence is probably not the worst thing.

#36 Jim Crikket

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:19 AM

I wonder a bit if part of the equation for the Front Office this year, with regard to Hicks, is how close Buxton may be to arriving. If Hicks is going to have some time as the Twins starting CF before Buxton arrives, they need to install him in that position very soon.

Why is that important? First, they need to find out if he'll hit enough to be worth keeping and shifting to a corner OF spot when Buxton takes over CF.

But they also found out a year ago just how valuable competent CFs can be on the trade market and they need to demonstrate to other teams that Hicks is a legitimate MLB-level CF to maximize the return, should they conclude that he's worth more as a trade chip than he would be as a corner OF in Minnesota.

I'm coming around to the conclusion that it's time for them to roll the dice with Hicks and see if he can prove himself at the MLB level to start the season.
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#37 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:40 AM

I have always thought that Hicks should return to starting in CF out of camp. Just not batting leadoff!

#38 ericchri

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:43 AM

But they also found out a year ago just how valuable competent CFs can be on the trade market and they need to demonstrate to other teams that Hicks is a legitimate MLB-level CF to maximize the return, should they conclude that he's worth more as a trade chip than he would be as a corner OF in Minnesota.


I suspect this is factoring into the decision as much as anything. We need to find out about Hicks as a CF before Buxton takes the job permanently. Buxton could potentially force his way up to the majors sometime this year, meaning there's not a lot of time left for Hicks to show his Major League chops, so he needs to do it starting now. I'd like to see him bat lower in the order, though, in hopes he doesn't feel the need to stare at pitches in hopes of taking walks.

#39 cmathewson

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:55 AM

Seth nailed it, Hicks lost his confidence last year. Because it is a throw-away year, starting him in AAA and getting some confidence is probably not the worst thing.


Were we reading the same post? 'Cause I drew a different conclusion from Seth's post, namely, he's confident now and ready to try again.
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#40 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:11 AM

By the end of last season Hicks was so messed up at the plate that he didn't even hit well in AAA. He needs to regain some level of composure and plan at the plate before he gets challenged by MLB pitchers again imo. It's possible that the Twins could make feel that he is ready again but I would like him in AAA. Allow him to come up with very little pressure in June.


Agreed, but I don't even know if he needs to be there until June. Even a month of re-establishing himself as a hitter might be enough to get him back on track.