Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 56, Aaron Hicks XBH

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 26: Aaron Hicks /

The Minnesota Twins were just 56 days away from opening day in Baltimore on February 2nd. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number as we get closer!

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.

The Minnesota Twins have had some elite athletes work their way up the ladder at center field. Not all of them have worked out for the Twins. Torii Hunter worked out for the team, and Byron Buxton is on his way to doing so, but guys like Rich Becker and Aaron Hicks struggled while in the Twins uniform. After his breakout 2017 season, we look at Hicks today with #56 as that’s how many extra base hits he had in his Twins career.

Hicks’ prospect profile

Hicks was the 14th overall selection in the 2008 draft by the Minnesota Twins out of high school in Long Beach, California. He was an athletic, switch-hitting outfielder with a ton of promise. After hitting .318/.409/.491 with 18 extra base hits and 14 steals in 45 games in his draft season, Hicks received prospect list notice, ranking #39 overall with both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

He opened 2009 in extended spring and then went to low-A as a teenager, where he showed impressive plate discipline and continued to flash athleticism, knocking 22 extra base hits and 10 stolen bases in 67 games while hitting .251/.353/.382. He was bumped up to the #19 prospect for Baseball America and the #26 prospect for Baseball Prospectus.

In 2010, he returned to low-A, and in spite of playing well with a .279/.401/.428 line with 8 home runs and 21 stolen bases and 88 walks, he actually dropped in rankings, to #45 with BA and #51 with BP. He saw a similar odd tumble after a tough season in high-A (.242/.354/.368) where he then went out and was tremendous in the Arizona Fall League (.294/.400/.559) against the best prospects in the game, but dropped off of BA’s list and BP’s list, and he showed up on Pipeline’s first list at #72.

An impressive season at 22 in AA got plenty of attention again, as he hit .286/.384/.460 with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs, and 32 stolen bases. BA ranked him #72, BP had him #46, and Pipeline had him #98.

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He made his debut with the Twins in 2013, winning the opening day job, but then getting sent down in mid-June after hitting .192/.259/.338. He didn’t do much better with 22 games of AAA work, hitting just .222.

Hicks struggled at the major league level again in 2014 and 2015, in spite of hitting well at the minor league level both seasons. He did put up better peripheral numbers in 2015, with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases over 97 games at the MLB level.

The Twins traded him after the 2015 season, hoping to address a need for a catcher by acquiring John Ryan Murphy from the Yankees. In total with the Twins, he played 247 games, hitting .225/.306/.349 with 20 home runs and 26 stolen bases.

Post-Twins career

Hicks had a “meh first season in New York, hitting .217/.281/.336 with 8 home runs. He broke out in 2017, though, hitting .266/.372/.475 around an injury, with 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 88 games, while playing solid center field defense.

Next: Who will be next in Twins team HOF?

As we get closer to opening day, we remember #56 by remembering the “bust” production of Aaron Hicks.

We look forward to that first day of the season against Baltimore!