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

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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.

#41 kab21

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 10:19 AM

Whether or not Hicks can be this year's Dozier is dependent on whether or not the Twins feel that he has mentally reset himself. He was a big mess. It's possible that he has but just looking at his .650-.700 OPS after the first month disguises how poor his AB's were in his better months.

I still like Hicks as a solid OF'er but his upside isn't as high as some think or thought.

#42 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:32 PM

Some of you guys think that sending a player to AAA is like putting a plant in an organic garden with good sunshine and adequate water, and that, in that environment, the plant comes back strong, healthy and ready to produce.

I think you need to spend some time in AAA yourselves and admire the wonderful environment in Rochester or wherever. Sure, you can puff up an OPS down there by feasting on some bad pitching, but it's not the same thing as becoming a quality MLB player.

Sometimes, with some guys, you need to learn on the job. And the job is hitting MLB pitching. The wrenching decisions of going back and forth to AAA and the Majors, that has an impact on a kid's understanding of his talent.

When it comes to Hicks, I stand by this: He's a good kid with good pedigree, he has a MLB body, arm and speed. He has all the skills to be a very good professional. It ain't doing anyone any good to send him to Rochester and wait for the snow to melt. Let the kid play, let him rob some HRs, let him run the bases, let him hit free and easy down in the lineup. We will see what he's got. If he can't produce, we got Buxton.

Edited by ChiTownTwinsFan, 17 March 2014 - 07:41 PM.


#43 LaBombo

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:35 PM

Some of you guys think that sending a player to AAA is like putting a plant in an organic garden with good sunshine and adequate water, and that, in that environment, the plant comes back strong, healthy and ready to produce.

I think you need to spend some time in AAA yourselves and admire the wonderful environment in Rochester or wherever. Sure, you can puff up an OPS down there by feasting on some bad pitching, but it's not the same thing as becoming a quality MLB player.

If you've played at Rochester or have extensive evidence it's a hellhole that is widely regarded as punishment by the organization's players, please share. Otherwise you don't know any more about it than the rest of us, so how does that help your argument? Fwiw, I've actually been there on business several times, and it's really a pretty nice city.

And Hicks was pretty freakin' far from puffing up his OPS when he played there last year. Maybe it was the injury, maybe it wasn't. The way to find that out would have been to have him try AAA again. But instead the Twins are setting him up to fail and get demoted again, which, and I'm just spitballing here, might be worse for him than enduring the horror of having to play in Rochester for a few weeks.

Interesting that you keep bringing up the scouting trope about body type. Puckett and Hrbek are two of the most iconic players in Twins history, and they both looked like they were chosen at random from the stands for a 'Play an Inning of Major League Ball!' Veeck promotional stunt.

Edited by LaBombo, 17 March 2014 - 08:38 PM.


#44 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 05:42 AM

Okay, let's step back a little and tone it down. I think there are good reasons for Hicks to go north with the Twins or to start the season in Rochester. Agree to disagree and keep the discourse civil and on track.

Edited by ChiTownTwinsFan, 18 March 2014 - 06:04 AM.

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