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  • 2012 Rock Cats MVP: Aaron Hicks

    Aaron Hicks deserves all the high fives he gets for his 2012 performance.Just 5 months ago, I questioned whether Aaron Hicks had earned his promotion to AA. At that time, he was coming off a less-than-impressive High-A slash line of .242/.354/.368 in 2011. More importantly, he was repeating High-A that season, so I had reason to be suspicious.

    Boy, was I wrong. Hicks unquestionably had a breakout season in 2012 that, at least for me, firmly places him in the top five Twins prospects going into 2013. His numbers tell most of the story: .286/.384/.460; 21 2B; 11 3B; 13 HR; 61 RBIs (even though he served as leadoff hitter the last half of the season); 79 BB; 116 K; 32 SB; 11 CS. He accumulated 472 at-bats and scored in even 100 runs.

    Hicks led the Rock Cats in several offensive categories, but I want to examine him compared to Eastern League batting leaders. After all, he profiles as a future major league regular, so we should be comparing him to the best players in his division, not just on his team. His .286 average is good for 15th in the league. The 11 triples are tied for first in the league, and the 100 runs are solidly in first place in the entire league. Hicks tied for first in walks, was third in stolen bases, and eighth in on-base percentage. All of these numbers boil down to this: an incredibly solid season.

    It was disappointing that he did not receive a September call-up. I understand that the outfield is relatively full with Ben Revere, Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee and Darin Mastroianni. I get it -- Hicks would not have received regular playing time, and it would cost the Twins money to have him sitting on the bench making major league minimum salary. But September call-ups can serve another function aside from helping to ensure that a team has enough healthy bodies at the end of the season: they can be a reward. And Hicks certainly was deserving of a reward.

    (For the record, I also believe that at least one of Chris Colabello (fantastic story and hit the cover off of the ball), Oswaldo Arcia (professional hitter), or Chris Herrmann (catching depth) could have been selected for an extended look at Target Field this final month of the season, too. But Hicks, above all others, looked like he had earned a call-up in 2012.)

    But there is another reason to like Hicks: he is one of the most polite and well-spoken professional athletes that I have ever met. I spoke to him just a couple nights ago, and am not sure that I recall meeting an athlete as humble. I'm certain, of course, that I have seen the last of Hicks in New Britain. I suspect he'll open 2013 in Rochester as their every day center fielder, and will be in position for a call-up next season at this time, if not a little sooner (especially if either Denard Span or Revere is traded). Congratulations, Aaron, on a fantastic season, and good luck in the future.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Fan From Afar's 2012 Rock Cats MVP: Aaron Hicks started by Twins Fan From Afar
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Hicks is the best choice, but gotta give a lot of credit to Chris Collabello as a close 2nd. 98 RBI
    1. Forever34's Avatar
      Forever34 -
      A couple years ago I remember seeing Hicks at #9 on the list of best prospects in all of baseball. Though I had read of his supposed 5 tool ability and knew he was a much heralded prospect it was hard to believe the hype when the guy was putting up pedestrian numbers in low A ball. Last season he put up less than exciting stats in Fort Meyers and I was all but set to write him off as someone who was never going to put it together and be what he was supposedly capable of being. Today I'm glad to admit I was wrong and look forward to seeing him roam the spacious grass of Target Field as soon as possible.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      A very nice season for a gifted athlete. It appears that Hicks has turned the corner and he should make his Target Field debut sometime in 2013. Hicks LH performance was very encouraging.
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Thanks for the comments, guys. Colabello had a fantastic season, also. He was officially named the team's MVP, and it's hard to argue with the logic. He was remarkably consistent nearly all season, set the RBI record, and delivered a few big, big hits to tie/win games late.

      Oh yea, and he is 28 and had never played affiliated baseball!!

      RBIs being somewhat a team statistic, Colabello was definitely aided by having Hicks and Arcia on base at such a great rate.

      Terry Ryan told Colabello a couple weeks ago (when Ryan was scouting for Sept. call-ups) that Colabello "was the glue that held the team together."
    1. Klochner's Avatar
      Klochner -
      Hicks repeated A ball in Beloit, he only played one year in Ft. Myers.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Klochner View Post
      Hicks repeated A ball in Beloit, he only played one year in Ft. Myers.
      Yeah, he was supposed to go to Elizabethton that first year, but there was a need in Beloit so he was pushed a little too quickly.
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Klochner View Post
      Hicks repeated A ball in Beloit, he only played one year in Ft. Myers.
      Yeah, he was supposed to go to Elizabethton that first year, but there was a need in Beloit so he was pushed a little too quickly.
      Yep, good correction!
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      Hicks season gives us fans some hope for the future and is much needed. Hope he keeps progressing. I remember another 5-tool #1 draft pick BJ Garbe? who never developed so that term 5-tool has been scarred ffrom that experience.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      Quote Originally Posted by wavedog View Post
      Hicks season gives us fans some hope for the future and is much needed. Hope he keeps progressing. I remember another 5-tool #1 draft pick BJ Garbe? who never developed so that term 5-tool has been scarred ffrom that experience.
      I guess the good thing about Hicks is that he has had good seasons in the minors and made some progress. 2011 was tough at Ft. Myers, but he was excellent in the AFL. BJ Garbe on the other hand, never had a good season or showed any progress in the minors.
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