After being a Top 100 prospect in the minor leagues for three seasons and being a first round pick, the Twins were confident in trading away center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in order to pave the way for Aaron Hicks. During his last full season in the minors at Double-A in 2012, Hicks had his best year at the plate slashing .286/.384/.460. He had five-tool written all over him, demonstrating a great eye with decent raw power as well. In other words, something we haven't seen since someone called Torii played here.
Welp, through 445 career plate appearances entering May 26th, Hicks has a slash of .191/.280/.314. That measures to an OPS under .600. We have heard countless times that Hicks is a "slow starter" at each level, but after another abysmal start to the 2014 season, Hicks walked into Ron Gardenhire's office on Memorial Day morning and said he has no confidence from the left side.
From the right side in his career, Hicks has a .227/.333/.402 slash through 97 at-bats. Not an ideal sample size, but you have to give Hicks credit for trying to switch something up. Tom Brunansky has been working with Hicks from both sides since spring trying to regain translate that form from the minor leagues. Rhett Bollinger reported that if Gardy had it his way, he'd like to send Hicks down to AAA to get some more confidence. However with Sam Fuld still on the DL with the concussion-like symptoms Hicks remains the only true center fielder.
Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier have made strides at the plate in 2014, and most of that has been credited to Bruno and Paul Molitor. Could this change help Hicks be the next guy in that line? We know the guy can play good defense and his days of being a productive leadoff hitter could still be in the cards somewhere: he's drawn 23 walks in 37 games, an increase from 24 walks in 81 games last season. Yet he must find his bat, and more importantly his confidence at the plate, if we're ever to glimpse that potential.