Top 15 Prospects: #1


Who: Aaron Hicks

Where: OF

How Acquired: 2008 Draft, 1st round (14th overall)

Highest Level Reached in 2009: A

Hicks has it all. He was athletic enough and has a good enough arm to be a serious prospect as a pitcher (many teams who picked before the Twins were rumored to be interested in him on the mound), but while it is certainly understandable to be wary of athletic outfielders who are way behind with the bat, Hicks has shown strike zone awareness right out of the gate. He walked only 4 less times than he struck out in his debut in 2008, and last year he struck out just 15 times more than he walked. Although Hicks had only a .337 wOBA last year, that was a .337 wOBA in the Midwest League, a harsh pitchers’ league, and he did so as a 19 year old. This year, Hicks is hitting just over .100, but his walks and strikeouts are basically in line with where they have been.

Denard Span has done yeoman’s work in centerfield, but as soon as Hicks is ready, Span should buy some real estate in the corners. Hicks runs like a deer and has an absolute cannon. To get you really excited: it’s almost as if Twins brass saw Aaron Hicks running around in centerfield when they drew up the dimensions for Target Field. He was absolutely born to play there.

In short, Hicks has it all: speed, a great arm, athleticism, power, and the ability to control the strike zone. If he doesn’t end up being a very good big league regular – no, a star – I will be shocked.