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Twins demote starting center fielder Aaron Hicks to Double-A

Jun 25, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

Aaron Hicks AP

For the second straight season Aaron Hicks was the Twins’ Opening Day center fielder only to hit terribly and lose the job. This time he’s been demoted to Double-A, where he played in 2012 before the Twins misguidedly decided that he was ready to make the jump to the big leagues as a 23-year-old.

Hicks has actually been on the MLB disabled list with shoulder problems, but if not for the injury he’d probably have been demoted to the minors a couple weeks ago. He’s hit just .194 through 129 career games in the majors.

Not so long ago Hicks was one of the best outfield prospects in baseball and he’s still just 24 years old, but he’s a mess right now. Last month he gave up switch-hitting, which he’d done all his life, and then less than a month later he decided to take it back up again. Hicks has been terrible, but Minnesota’s handling of Hicks has also been highly questionable throughout.

  1. zzalapski - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    This is why Twins fans should dial back their enthusiasm for Buxton and Sano just a wee bit.

  2. migoli - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    So Hicks has struggled so clearly every player that comes up after hicks will also struggle and not be their own unique situation? Brilliant .

    • TBaySlim - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      yes because the twinks have a long and great history of developing young talent under gardy (see Carlos Gomez, Matt garza, Kyle Lohse).

      • happytwinsfan - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        see Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana,
        more recently Brian Dozer, Kyle Gibson

      • zzalapski - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Gibson is having his first decent (not great) season to date: 3.92 ERA (103 ERA+), 47/27 K/BB in 85 IP. He is 26 years old.
        Dozier is having his first above-average season to date: slashing .252/.366/.454 for a 127 OPS+ at a middle infield position. He is 27 years old.

        If you’re going to tout the Twins’ recent “success” at developing homegrown players on two guys who may not have much better seasons in their career, hey, be my guest.

  3. bear1138 - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Ya, I don’t really blame the Twins. Hicks earned the job in 2013 with a great spring. Skipping AAA isn’t necessarily unheard of especially for a non-contending team like the Twins. They were (and have been) more than patient with his growing pains at the Major League level.

    He was 23 last year now 24. We’re not talking a 19 year old kid. He had time at the lower ranks of the minors.

    He’s just a bust. Plain and simple. It happens.

    • Cris E - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      Hicks is a bust? No, the early promotion experiment was a bust. He goes back into the machine for more work and they wait longer. Lots/many/most prospects aren’t ready to hit at 23 or 24 and he’s just one more. In fact his OBP was .330-.340, so he wasn’t even an utter and complete flop, just bad at contact and power.

      Look back to March: they had a hole in the roster, no pressure to win and a young player who’d played well in camp. They took the shot and he wasn’t ready, so he goes back.

      • bear1138 - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        Hey, I hope he does turn it around. I’m a loyal Twins fan. The plate discipline has to improve. His inability to recognize pitches out of the zone is problem #1. Even the greatest hitter in the league won’t do very well on pitches out of the zone. Too many strikeouts. Looks overmatched and over his head in many ABs. You can’t really teach plate discipline though. It’s an instinct that special players have. And that concerning/disheartening fact is Hicks hasn’t really improved, despite half a season at the majors last year, a demotion to AAA the other half of last year, and now half a season more at MLB level.

      • pwshrugged - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        It’s hard to argue against his bust-worthiness at this point. Say what you want about being young and improving and all that, but Hicks has looked consistently lost at the plate since Opening Day last year. He hasn’t improved, and he’s not showing glimmers of a brighter future, either. Maybe he turns it around, but so far… there’s really not a lot of reason to think he will.

  4. mazblast - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I think assigning him to AA is for a twofold purpose–One, to get his confidence back before advancing him to AAA; and Two, that’s where he’s been rehabbing. Get him in a comfort zone, get him to relax, do some planning, maybe bring him along the regular way this time.

    He’s not a lost cause or a bust–yet.

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