Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finding solutions for struggling Aaron Hicks

With the Twins struggling to find offense in the club's games this weekend, there have been a few boo birds flying from the stands at Target Field. Some of this might be angry fans sitting out at a cold baseball game with nothing better to do. For others, it could be the frustration of the last couple seasons coming to a head.

Aaron Hicks has found himself in a little bit of a rough patch to start his MLB career. According to FanGraphs version of WAR, Hicks has been the worst player in all of baseball this season. He has a -1.0 WAR and that places him ahead of the next closest competitors Victor Martinez, Matt Kemp, and Adam Dunn.

The Twins have seen this with Hicks in the past because he has shown a track record of struggling when he is promoted to a new level. He usually finds a way to work out the kinks but this was a bigger jump than he has ever made before. It is hard to know how patient the Twins can be with their young outfielder.

There has to be some solutions to solve the struggles for Hicks. Here are a few different ways the Twins front office could approach the situation.

1.) Send Hicks to Triple-A: He has never played at the Triple-A level and the team might need him to find success at that level before they give him another chance with the big league club. Hicks earned the starting job this spring with his performance but player's numbers can be deceiving in exhibition games.

He looks lost at the plate against big league pitching and he might need to regain some confidence. Triple-A could give him a chance to get out of the spotlight and get his head back on his shoulders.

2.) Move Hicks down in the order: Last weekend when Ron Gardenhire was asked about moving Hicks down in the order, he was against the idea because he didn't want to hurt the rookies confidence. It has been another full week and Hicks hasn't shown any signs of breaking out of his slump.

Moving him down in the order could take some pressure off the rookie and it could help the offense. Gardenhire even said he wasn't opposed to having Mauer take over the lead-off role.

3.) Take away some playing time: It can be tough to get use to life at the big league level. Maybe Hicks just needs some time to adjust and a little less playing time. This could allow him to get some wind in his sails and maybe it would produce some better performances on the field.

The team has given him a couple days off but he didn't exactly come back from the hiatus hitting the cover off the ball. Out of all of the solutions this seems like the least likely since they want Hicks to continue to get at-bats no matter where he is playing.

4.) Be Patient: So far, the team has followed this plan but it is hard to know how long this patience will last. There might need to be some positive signs from Hicks for the club to continue to follow this course of action.

His defense has been good in center field but the offense has been terrible. The strikeouts continue to add up and it seems like the boo birds are going to continue to fly.

Will the rookie have enough to overcome his early season struggles or will the team have to follow a different plan?

If you were in charge of the Twins, what would you do? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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