Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ranking Aaron Hicks as a prospect

'Tis the season of prospect lists, and on Tuesday released its rankings of the Top 100 prospects.

The Twins have six of the 100 players -- led by Miguel Sano at No. 12 and Byron Buxton at No. 19. Then they have Alex Meyer at 40, Kyle Gibson at 49, Oswaldo Arcia at 93 and Aaron Hicks at 98.

I don't have a particularly high regard for the MLB rankings, at least as compared to those compiled by Baseball America or John Sickels, and the case of Hicks is a specific example.

After the 2011 season, had Hicks listed at No.24 -- a ranking that had to be fueled my his impressive athletic tools, not his performance. He had spent three years mired in A ball -- two seasons at low-A Beloit, one at high-A Fort Myers -- and had hit .242 in the Florida State League.

At that point, BA and Sickels dropped Hicks from their top 100 lists (Sickels's actually two lists, 50 position prospects and 50 pitching prospects).

Last season, bumped up to Double-A New Britain, Hicks blossomed. It was easily the most productive season of his minor league career, and it came against a higher level of competition than he had ever faced. He did more in 2012 to establish himself as a prime prospect than he had in the previous three years combined, and as a result he's the apparent favorite to claim the center field job in Minnesota.

And for that, he dropped 74 spots in the rankings.

I suppose should be credited with keeping Hicks high in its rankings last year despite his struggles in the lower levels of the minors. But I don't understand the logic of downgrading him when he shows signs of turning tools into skills.

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