Now that we have your attention, let’s pump the breaks a bit. No, Aaron Hicks had a ceiling nowhere near that of Byron Buxton‘s. However, they do share something that could turn out to be a very positive commonality. The Twins are going to head into the 2015 season with a big question mark at center field, and since we’ve seen this play out before, the answer may be in front of us.
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Aaron Hicks was thrust from being a Double-A player into the role of opening day center fielder. Although he did have a torrid spring training in 2013, he hadn’t ever faced live pitching at anything above the Double-A level.
Now, with that situation unfolding again, the question remains, is Byron Buxton ready?
Buxton hasn’t seen pitching above the Double-A level either, and the Twins once again find themselves scrambling for options. Danny Santana likely will, and should be, the Twins starting shortstop. This leaves the door wide open for Byron to make his splash.
Although his 2014 season was all but lost due to injury, Buxton has proven he is more than major league ready at every level he has played at. His defense has been there for a long time, with his bat not anything to scoff at either. This summer in the Arizona Fall League, Buxton is hitting .333/.417/.381.
Terry Ryan and the Twins brass may not be completely in favor of Buxton making the leap after watching the experiment with Hicks crash and burn. However, as we established early on, they are significantly different players with drastically separated abilities. With that in mind, the situation should be handled as if it is a completely separate situation, because, well, it is.
So yes, Byron Buxton may be the next Aaron Hicks, and Twins Territory, it’s time to start hoping that’s the case.