Who Is Torii Hunter Really Mentoring?


The Minnesota Twins brought back fan favorite Torii Hunter this offseason. In signing him to a one-year, $10.5 million contract, there is significantly more to his addition to the team than meets the eye. There’s no doubt that Torii can still hit, but he doesn’t fit the bill of the defensive help Minnesota needed. A significant portion of his paycheck will be to mentor a young centerfielder, but it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of.

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Byron Buxton is the Twins top prospect, and arguably baseball’s top prospect as well. Although he missed significant time during the 2014 season, Buxton is still seen as an elite player that should figure into the All-Star consideration for years to come. It’s not Buxton that may benefit most from veteran leadership however, it’s the man he may be taken over for. That’s right, Aaron Hicks has everything to gain and very little to lose from Torii Hunter.

Thus far as a professional, Hicks has failed to live up to the hype that surrounded him. A former first-round pick, Hicks never carried the prospect tutelage that Buxton did, but the Twins expected so much more. After solidifying a strong minor league career with a breakout Spring Training in 2013, Hicks was thought to have arrived.

Now two years removed from that spring, Twins fans have watched as Hicks has been synonymous with low batting averages and lack of effort. Nothing from his minor league days has translated to the major league level, and he’s often looked overmatched. Enter Torii Hunter.

You can’t teach talent or ability, but luckily enough, Hicks has plenty of those two things. At this point in his career, he needs to be taught process. Looking at a player who has failed to realize his potential, and seemingly taken some of it for granted, Torii Hunter will have his work cut out for him. Showing Hicks the right way to do things, and the best process to follow for success will be his goal. Whether or not Hicks wants to listen and expand upon the teaching probably determines how his career goes from this point.

We looked at all of the reasons Hicks should succeed in a piece earlier this week, but his biggest supported should be them player now sharing locker proximity with him. A season ago, Hicks progressed through Double and Triple-A showing he can get it done. It will now be leaning on Torii’s process that helps that come to fruition.

Next: Is Aaron Hicks Ready For Launch?

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