The Minnesota Twins are one of the most notable franchises when it comes to the slow acceleration of prospects through their minor league system. No matter the talent or readiness of the player, the Twins and Terry Ryan are synonymous with the slow promotion of their prospects. All of that got scrapped last season when Aaron Hicks was made the opening day center fielder.
For the Twins, it can be said that they were fresh out of other options, and for Hicks, well he tore the cover off the ball in spring training. Having never played above the Double-A level, the jump to manning the center of the Target Field outfield was a big one.
In his first season with the Twins, Hicks hit an ugly .192/.259/.338 with 84 strikeouts and only 24 walks. In his first 48 games this year, Hicks followed up with a .198/.338/.262 line. The strikeouts continued to be a problem, and there was even a temporary discontinuation of his switch hitting acumen.
Following a demotion to Double-A this year, it looks like Hicks may be figuring some things out.
Aaron Hicks was the 14th overall pick by the Twins in the 2008 draft. He was a highly regarded prospect (not to the height of a Miguel Sano or Byron Buxton, but nonetheless) and still possesses a relatively high ceiling.
In 43 games for Double-A New Britain this season, Hicks hit .297/.404/.466. With 28 walks and only 27 strikeouts, he also showed a strong command of the plate, something he was once well-known for. A recent promotion to Triple-A has also taken place for Hicks.
While it’s only been in limited action (four games), Hicks has already homered and walked twice while not yet striking out.
In 2015, the Twins will begin to give strong consideration to Buxton making his jump to the big league club, however, it likely won’t come until September. With Jordan Schafer the only true center field option on the 25 man roster, Hicks is only doing himself favors down on the farm.
Twins Territory must continue to hope the resurgence of Hicks is not simply a mirage, and that his first true rise through the farm system will coincide with his success at the Major League level.