March 7, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (63) runs around the bases after he hit a solo home tun during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Today I was able to watch a Twins game for the first time since the end of the 2012 season. It was just a split squad Spring game. Two of the Twins’ biggest stars in Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are away representing their countries in the World Baseball Classic.
But I made time to watch the game for one reason: All the hype and reports surrounding the play of a certain center fielder. And I was very pleased with what I saw.
The name is Hicks. Aaron Hicks.
It certainly feels the 23 year old prospect is making a Bond-esque entrance to 2013. Just overall badass.
Hicks started his big day with a lead-off, wind driven shot off Cliff Lee. He followed with a 2nd homer in the 5th and a 3rd in the 7th. He then added a single in the 8th, bringing in the tying and go ahead runs for the Twins. Here’s a video of his day.
Yes, 2 of his 3 homeruns were helped by the wind, but he still hit the ball hard. He finished at 4 for 5 with 6 RBI, 4 runs scored, and showed some speed with a stolen base. Sounds like a heck of a Fantasy stat line, doesn’t it?
What’s even more amazing? 5 of his last 7 hits have gone over the fence. Now, it is not to be assumed this will translate into major success once the regular season starts. Example? Don’t forget Luke Hughes from last year’s spring training – he went on a tear with 6 homeruns and 20 RBI. Not even three weeks into the season, he was DFA’d by the Twins after being incredibly unproductive. Granted, Hicks is much better than Hughes.
He’s as locked in as ever right now, and really seems determined to head north with the team at the end of the month. It is definitely becoming clear that Hicks is the frontrunner in to win the starting center field job.
The Twins could still hold him in Rochester to push back his arbitration clock, but I really don’t see it happening at this point. Not with this level of effort and play.
I hope all Twins fans are excited to watch him. I sure as heck know I am.