Friday, May 29, 2015

Contemplating Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks makes one of his diving catches in center
field. This one came May 23 on a drive by Chicago's
Adam Eaton.
In Wednesday's post, I referred to Aaron Hicks' "balsa-wood bat," a metaphor for his light hitting. That afternoon, Hicks hit a home run.

Which still leaves the 25-year-old center fielder with a lowly slash line on the season of .240/.269/.320. His OPS+ at this point is 63 percent of league average -- and while those figures come for just 52 plate appearances, they are in line with his career figures to date. Nothing appears to have changed for him as a hitter.

I can, and will, concede that he's flashing some serious leather in center field. But even a Gold Glove centerfielder has to hit better than Hicks has.

And, of course, Hicks isn't going to be the long term center fielder for this team. Byron Buxton will be, and I hope sooner rather than later. 

A couple of years ago, I could envision Hicks as a 20-plus home-run guy with 80 or so walks and 20 to 30 steals. Even with a low batting average, those numbers and strong defense would certainly play in center fielder and possibly in an outfield corner. But he has yet to show genuine power, and the walks have disappeared.

Buxton has hit nine triples in May for Double A Chattanooga; the entire major league roster has nine triples for the season. He's had his ups and downs for the Lookouts, but the talent is inescapable. My expectation is that Hicks will continue to play center in June. And in July, Buxton will get the call. Whether there will be a role for Hicks depends in large part on whether he shows something more at the plate.

No comments:

Post a Comment