Though the promotion is certainly great news for Hicks (and for me, who will get to watch him play a bunch this year), I am wondering if it was the correct move at this moment. Hicks did not receive an invitation to Spring Training this season. Terry Ryan recently stated to Pat Reusse, regarding Hicks: "He didn't have much of a summer. We want the young players to understand that you need a good year -- not a few good weeks -- to be rewarded."
|Was Aaron Hicks really ready for the promotion to|
AA New Britain?
Hicks' promotion reminds me, on some levels, of Bryce Harper's recent promotion from double-A to triple-A. If you weren't paying attention to the news, it almost came off like a demotion. After all, some in the Washington Nationals camp thought Harper would begin the season as the Nationals' center fielder. It seems like it will just be a matter of months -- not years -- before Harper sets foot in the nation's capitol permanently, but I think the Nationals got a little ahead of themselves. Harper's line at double-A Harrisburg was .256/.329./.395 over 37 games. That's right, he only played 37 games at double-A. He struck out 26 times, walked 15, and hit 3 home runs, 1 triple and 7 doubles in that time. That hardly qualifies as mastery in my book, but he's on Washington's fast track, for better or worse. Don't get me wrong -- he seems a lock to be a star major league player, but why would it hurt him to bat .300 at Harrisburg before being promoted to AAA or Washington?
Unless there's a staffing emergency such as a sudden opening due to a trade, or a startling lack of depth at a particular position, it seems to me that, especially with respect to top prospects like Harper -- and Hicks -- it's best to have those players succeed at the lower levels before they are promoted. You can still promote players quickly, though. And for the Twins, if there's one position where there is not a staffing emergency or a lack of depth, it's at center field. We know that Hicks' glove is there, and from that defensive standpoint I'm sure he earned the promotion. But the streaky offensive side is alarming. I'd like to see Hicks start of at Ft. Myers and do well there, even if just for a month or two, before coming out to New Britain. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on Hicks. Did he earn the promotion, or should he be spending a bit more time in Ft. Myers to prove that he's ready for the next step offensively?
On a side note, check out my recent post at Through the Fence Baseball, which includes a great picture of Target Field taken by Michael Cuddyer.