Wednesday, March 19, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Aaron Hicks

For Minnesota to climb out of their recent losing ways, young players are going to need to come up and become regular players at the major league level. Last season the Twins saw two of their top prospects, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia, make their debuts and there were defiantly some variable results. Arcia showed power but little consistency and the start of the season was a train wreck for Hicks.

Many fans are excited about some of the prospects that could debut in 2014. Miguel Sano is out for the year but Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and top prospect Byron Buxton all have a chance to get to Target Field. These players might turn out to be great but the Twins also need players like Hicks and Arcia to make meaningful contributions.

For the purposes of this series, I am picking out the 25 players most likely to spend the most time on the 25-man roster. This doesn't mean I necessarily think Hicks will start the year in Minnesota. If you look at my projections for him, I still believe he will play over 75% of the season at the big league level.

2013 Recap: .192/.259/.338, 8 HR, 11 2B, 27 RBI (81 Games)
Entering last spring things had to be riding high for Aaron Hicks. He was coming off of his best season as a professional at the Double-A level and he had a chance to make his big league debut. After a tremendous spring, Hicks would start the year as the team's everyday center fielder. Things went awful in those early weeks of the season. He struck out in all 10 of his first big league games and he had multiple strikeouts in seven of those 10 contests. Hicks collected one extra-base hit in the first month of the season and his batting average floated around the .100 mark for far too long. In the minor leagues, Hicks had been praised for his ability to get on base in multiple ways. This didn't show up at the big league level and he would spend the last couple months of the season trying to figure things out at the Triple-A level. Overall, it was a rough rookie campaign and Hicks will look to improve for 2014.

Forecasting 2014: .230/.308/.355, 12 HR, 21 2B, 49 RBI (123 games)
It seems possible for the Twins to start Hicks in Rochester this season so he can prove he belongs at the big league level. Some fans might think Hicks is expendable since Buxton should be on his way to the majors in the next couple of seasons. Even with Buxton in center field, Hicks could be a valuable corner outfielder and lead-off man. A defensive outfield with Buxton and Hicks could be very fun to watch. Hicks will improve on his numbers for a year ago but there will still be some struggles as he adjusts to baseball's highest level. His power will be more evident this season and he will get on base closer to his levels in the minors. By the end of the season, there will still be some kinks to work out and Buxton could be in line for a September call-up. Either way it will be a critical season for Hicks as he tries to live up to his first round pedigree.

25-Man Roster Safety: On the Bubble

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