April 19, 2010

Top 50 Twins Prospects 2010: #1 Aaron Hicks

2010 Top 50 Twins Prospects | #1 | Aaron Hicks

Position | Outfielder

Bats/Throws | Switch/Right

Born | October 2, 1989 (Long Beach, California)

School | Wilson High School

| 6'2''

| 170 lbs.

2009 Ranking | 1

Aaron Hicks was taken with the 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He was widely considered one of the best all-around athletes in the draft. He reportedly hit 95 mph on the mound, which made several teams consider him as a pitcher, but Hicks is happy that he is playing outfield, "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." He signed a week after the draft to a $1.78 million signing bonus.

After signing, Hicks was designated to the Gulf Coast League where He showed that he could do a little bit of everything. Through 45 games, Hicks hit .318/.409/.491 with 10 doubles, four triples, four home runs and stole 12 bases despite playing in a pitcher-friendly league. He also displayed a great amount of discipline at the plate, drawing 28 walks. In 2009, most believed Hicks should follow Ben Revere's footsteps by taking over center field for the Beloit Snappers. Hicks' "advanced" hitting approach and overall demeanor suggested that he probably would have handled the promotion just fine, but the Twins decided to hold Hicks back in Extended Spring Training to begin the season. The team had every intention of sending him to the Appalachian League when short-season Rookie Ball began in June, but a horrid Snappers team needed a boost, so the Twins decided to call up Hicks. He didn't have the same type of success that he had in the Gulf Coast League a year earlier, but he still managed to separate himself as the best prospect in the Twins system. Through 67 games with the Snappers, Hicks hit .251/.353/.382. Probably the biggest cause of optimism came from the fact that he got better as the year went on and he maintained great discipline at the plate.

Hicks is immensely talented, but he's also still very raw. He plays all three outfield positions very well, but his speed is best suited for center field. His history as a pitcher has helped him develop one of the best outfield arms in the minor leagues, but his bat is nowhere near as developed. He has a great awareness of the strike zone and he's shown the ability to drive the ball well, but it's still to be determined what kind of hitter he'll be. He has also had problems on the base paths. He runs the bases well, but he is not an effective base stealer as of yet. There are high expectations surrounding Hicks, especially since he has been named a top 30 prospect from major outlets such as Baseball America (19), ESPN (19) and MLB.com (29), but Twins fans shouldn't want to see him rushed through the system. Many have said he's easily comparable to Torii Hunter or Adam Jones, but it's important to remember that Hicks has a long way to go and there's little chance that he reaches the Major Leagues when he is either 20 or 21 (like Jones and Hunter).

2009 Statistics
          Level      G     PA     AVG     OBP     SLG     XBH     HR   wRC+
          A-        67    297    .251    .353    .382      22      4    106

2010 Outlook
Many believed that Hicks could begin the season in Advanced-A Ft. Myers, but Hicks has been sent back to the Midwest League where he'll begin the season. If everything pans out, he'll finish the season in the Florida State League.


Estimated Time of Arrival