Sunday, July 11, 2010

2014 Future Star: Aaron Hicks

According to this report from Minneapolis, the Twins offered Seattle Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks for Cliff Lee.
Twins prospect Wilson Ramos, a major league-ready catcher with Joe Mauer ahead of him, is the name most often mentioned in any deal, and certainly he is expendable. But what about outfielder Aaron Hicks? Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse, citing an unidentified major league source, said the Twins offered him to Seattle, as well.

Those are the team's top two prospects — Hicks is No. 1 — as ranked by Baseball America.
Lee was traded on July 9th. It probably killed the Twins' chances that Hicks sprained his wrist "diving for a ball on July 7."

Wrist injuries can be devastating. Cliff Floyd, for one, lost some superstar years because of wrist trouble.

Hicks, at least, did not break his wrist. Plus, he's still just 20 years old, meaning he is more likely to recover completely than a player at least a few years older. After all, it seems like players' prime years are age 24 to 28. Even if it takes Hicks 2+ years to completely recover to this sprain, which is awfully pessimistic, he's be back to full strength in time for his prime years.

Preseason reports, like this one from MLB.com says...
Scouting report: Hicks has the kind of raw tools scouts love to dream about. He's got terrific speed that he'll be able to use on both sides of the ball (defensively, he already does, but he's got to learn the nuances of baserunning). He's got great bat speed which should generate plenty of power as he matures. A former pitcher who could crank it up into the upper 90s, Hicks has one of the best outfield arms in the Minors. One thing Hicks has above some other raw, toolsy types is an advanced knowledge of the strike zone. All he needs is experience for the performance to catch up with the tools.

Upside potential: When all is said and done, Hicks could be a franchise type player, a power-speed combination who will provide Gold Glove caliber defense in center field.

They said it: "There are a number of things that come to mind with Aaron. He has a lot of talent. With patience and the skills he has, [there's] a chance to be that five tool, complete All Star player." --
Twins farm director, Jim Rantz
This one from something called TwinsTarget.com also praises Hicks' athletic ability and tools...
Hicks was blessed with an incredible set of athletic abilities available to him. He was a successful golfer before he chose to pursue baseball as a career, and his speed is also extremely good. Assuming there are no set backs in his development, Hicks should be able to swipe 30 bases a season once he reaches the major leagues.

In the batter’s box, Hicks stands almost unrivaled in terms of raw power and tools. He has a quick swing that will most likely translate to a solid batting average in the major leagues, as well as superior arm strength, which could lead to around 30 home runs per season once he has fully developed.

The arm strength of Hicks has never been questioned. Both at the plate and in the field, power is not a problem for the young outfielder. Hicks is a well above-average defensive outfielder, but still has plenty of room for improvement. In center field, Hicks has drawn comparisons to Torii Hunter.

Perhaps the biggest downside to Hicks is his occasional lack of focus. Scouts say that because the game comes so easy for Hicks, he simply loses focus and stops paying complete attention. Once he advances to tougher leagues, though, this will surely change.

While the 20-year-old Hicks is far from a sure thing, it is difficult to over-state his ceiling. Hicks has the potential to become a perennial All-Star and hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases at a position that requires immense defensive skill.
Sleep well, Twins fans.

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