They are different types of players - Morneau, at his best, was a clear power hitter and that was his prospect status. Hicks would never hit that well but Hicks was always a good prospect, even when he had "bad" years, he was a better hitter than his league would suggest. Fangraphs wrote about the concern of a toolsy guy not developing as fast as people wanted and how it colors peoples views of him. Like Aaron Hicks, Buxton Will Require Patience | FanGraphs Baseball
I definitely don't think you give up on the guy because he struggled this year. I think the best comp is Torii Hunter, who struggled mightily when he first came up, but eventually adapted. That said, 2014 is a make or break year for him in this organization. We need to see him thrive at the major league level at some point next year.
What kind of OF do you want in 2016? - Mr. Everything (5 Tool / Buxton) CF - Solid Hitter who generates 20 HRs (Arcia) LF - Great Defender with modest average and OBP (Hicks) RF
or Mr. Everything (5 Tool / Buxton) CF - Solid Hitter who generates 20 HRs (Arcia) LF - HR Hitter who produces runs and modest fielder (Walker) RF. I want more offense in my OF corner hitters. Even if that OFer became Kepler. We need offense to protect our modest pitching rotation too.
This fangraphs article on Victorino's grand slam got me thinking about Hicks:
The Grand Slam That Almost Wasn?t | FanGraphs Baseball
Why? Well, they point this out:
"Victorino has switch hit for his entire major league career, but gave up batting left-handed in early August... Since giving up batting left-handed, Victorino has had one of the most productive stretches of his career."
The grand slam Victorino hit against Veras to send the Sox to the WS? Did it batting righty vs a righty. Looking at his numbers, the only adverse effect has been a decrease in his BB/K rates while he's put up monster numbers.
The biggest knock I've seen against Hicks giving up switching hitting and batting righty full-time is the adjustment period, maybe a full season or more. If a guy like Victorino can successfully make the change away from switch hitting in mid-season and promptly put up impressive numbers, is this maybe an overrated concern?
To modify things slightly: "...Victorio has hit for his entire major league career..." Hicks would need to spend all of 2014 in Rochester to adjust and prove that this adjustment works!
I still don't understand much of the attitude towards Hicks around here. There is basically nothing out of the ordinary after April. He skipped a level after not doing well initially each year after normal promotions. I still have never gotten an answer about the number of players in recent memory who have skipped AAA and then started the year as the leadoff man for their team. How many players have done that? Is Hicks the only one?