February 25, 2010

Aaron Hicks Interview

Aaron Hicks is a name most Twins fans are becoming familiar with. Not only is he considered the Twins top prospect by respected scouting establishments like Baseball America, ESPN (Scouts.inc) and Baseball Prospects (among others), he's also considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, ranked as high as no. 19 in ESPN (Scouts.inc) and Baseball America's Top 100 Prospect lists.

Selected by the Twins with the 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Hicks wasted no time making a big impact, hitting .318/.409/.491 in 45 games with the Gulf Coast League Twins. In 2009, Hicks began the season in Extended Spring Training, but Beloit's offense needed a spark and instead of sticking with the status quo and going to Elizabethton, Hicks was sent to Beloit. He didn't put up ungodly numbers, but his plate discipline and defensive prowess were outstanding. He hit .251/.353/.382 in 67 games with the Snappers, but at 19-years-old, those numbers are great. After the season, Baseball America named him the top prospect of the Midwest League.

Despite his age, scouts have compared Hicks to the likes of Torii Hunter, Adam Jones and Darryl Strawberry (among others), all of whom seem to be very realistic examples. He's a great athlete and his bat is really the only question right now, but despite it being raw, he has hit well and should continue to improve with age. So without further ado, here's Aaron Hicks.

Josh's Thoughts: You have widely been considered the Twins Top Prospect, do you feel any added pressure due to this? Do you generally pay attention to prospect rankings? And how do you deal with pressure?
Aaron Hicks: You know, I actually don't worry about rankings. I leave that to my parents who like to see where I'm at in the rankings. I'm more focused on getting to the big leagues and staying there for a long time. I also want to be known to the fans as a guy that never gave up and left everything I had on the field. As for the pressure, I don't worry about that I'm here to play ball the best that I can.

Josh's Thoughts: Tell us a little about being drafted. How did it feel? Before you were drafted, what team did you have the most contact with? Did you have a lot of contact with the Twins? Were you surprised to be taken by the Twins? Did you expect to go sooner or later?
Aaron Hicks: Being drafted was a great feeling and I loved being at the draft. I was contacted a lot by the Dodgers probably because I'm from L.A. (which is obviously close to the big league team). I was liking my chances of going to the Twins but I thought maybe the Cardinals at 13 might draft me but I was told that I was high with the dodgers at 15.

Josh's Thoughts: Prior to the draft, you were also considered one of the top prep-pitchers in the nation.What position did you prefer (pitcher/outfielder)? Was it hard to pass up the scholarship to USC?
Aaron Hicks: I liked pitching because I had to do what was best for my team at that point, but I'm truly a position player; that's my passion. But passing up going to USC was hard. I liked the coaches and how they approached me. They kept me wanting to go there.

Josh's Thoughts: What has been your favorite minor league stadium to play at?
Aaron Hicks: I like the stadium where the (Reds minor league affiliates) Dayton Dragons play.

Josh's Thoughts: What has been your greatest baseball moment?
Aaron Hicks: My greatest (minor league) moment was hitting a grand slam at home in Beloit. But my best moment in High School was being ranked the #1 National Championship high school team and winning C.I.F. Championship at Dodger Stadium.

Josh's Thoughts: What has been the most difficult part about professional baseball? Best part?
Aaron Hicks: I would say traveling and having thousands of fans watching your games.

Josh's Thoughts: What is something people might be shocked to know about you?
Aaron Hicks: I started playing baseball when I was 13.

Josh's Thoughts: Do you have a nickname?
Aaron Hicks: Guys from back home call me "Mr. Superstar" because I ended up being good at every sport I tried like basketball, football, golf, tennis, and soccer.

Josh's Thoughts: If you weren't playing professional baseball, what do you think you'd be doing?
Aaron Hicks: Playing golf.

Josh's Thoughts: What do you like to do in your free time?
Aaron Hicks: Haha, play golf.

Josh's Thoughts: Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Aaron Hicks: Ken Griffey Jr. and Tiger Woods. I know he's not a player, but he's a great athlete.

Josh's Thoughts: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Aaron Hicks: My parents, they always want what's best for me.

Josh's Thoughts: What kind of music do you listen to?
Aaron Hicks: I listen to all kinds of music.

Josh's Thoughts: Did you play any other sports in high school? How good were you?
Aaron Hicks: I played basketball in High School through my sophomore year. I played forward and was pretty good dunking as a freshman.

Josh's Thoughts: Do you have a daily routine during the season?
Aaron Hicks: Really, I just take front toss before the game.

Josh's Thoughts: If you were commissioner for a day, what change would you make in baseball?
Aaron Hicks: Personally, I have no idea what to do if I was in that situation.

Josh's Thoughts: What do you do in the off-season? When do you start preparing for the next season? Have any idea of where you might start the year?
Aaron Hicks: In the off-season, I work out everyday. This past off season, I've been mainly working on running. I've been running since the 4th of November and started hitting on a regular basis on the 1st of December. I have no idea where I'll start, but hopefully it's Fort Myers.

Josh's Thoughts: What are your thoughts on TwinsFest? Do you enjoy signing autographs?
Aaron Hicks: I loved TwinsFest. It was fun meeting the fans and the atmosphere was great. I liked hanging out with the big leaguers and coaches and hall-of-famers. Autographs were fun. I enjoyed having little kids coming up to me asking me for my autograph.

Josh's Thoughts: How would you describe yourself as a player? What areas do you think you need to improve on the most?
Aaron Hicks: As a player I want to be that guy that nobody likes to have on base in the bottom of ninth or batting with bases loaded and were down. I need to improve on my hitting and sharpen up my base stealing, but that's what I did this off-season, so well see.

I'd like to thank Aaron Hicks again for taking the time to answer questions. Hopefully you all enjoyed getting to know one of the up-and-coming stars of the Twins system.


SethSpeaks said...

that is awesome!!! Nice work Josh!

Alec V. said...

Wow! Great interview. You should do more of these!.

dharmabum said...

Nice work Josh! It's an exciting time to be a Twins fan with the strong additions to an already good team as well as the nice restocking of the farm with Hicks, Gibson, Sano, etc. over the past couple of years. Play ball!!