Sunday, April 4, 2010
#1 Prospect Aaron Hicks
Drafted 1st round, 14th overall in 2008, Long Beach California
Levels Played in 2009: A Beloit
Opening Day Age: 20
In a system that has a world of talent, Aaron Hicks has the most tools. As a high school star center fielder, he was also a starting pitcher that can run his fastball up to 97 miles per hour. In addition to his talents on the baseball diamond, Hicks was also a highly recruited golfer. Going into the 2008 draft most teams were split on where they wanted Aaron Hicks to play. Whether that be pitcher or the outfield, Hicks definitely has a potential to be a major league baseball player. The Twins selected him at 14 and decided to keep him in the outfield. In addition to his power arm, Hicks had what some thought was the most athleticism of any high school player in the draft not to mention the ability to switch hit.
After being drafted in 2008, Hicks was sent to the Rookie Gulf Coast League and quickly made a name for himself. He played in 45 games and in addition to playing a great center field hicks hit .318/.409/.491. Hicks showed amazing plate discipline for an 18 year old walking 28 times compared to 32 strikeouts. Hicks demonstrated raw power from both sides of the plate hitting 4 home runs, 4 triples and 10 doubles. Hicks rookie year campaign earned his a GCL All Star award as well as Baseball America rookie all star vote.
The Twins decided to start a 19 year old Hicks in extended spring training in 2009. It was expected that he would go back to rookie ball, but he was surprisingly sent to Beloit. Although Hicks did not hit for great average, he put some of his raw tools on display. During the season a Baseball Prospectus writer and a scout attended a Beloit game and only needed 20 minutes to see Hicks hit a towering home run and make a web gem play in center field to know that Hicks was the real deal. Again he showed great plate discipline walking 40 times to 55 strikeouts in 67 games. After only playing those 57 games and only hitting .251/.353/.382 Baseball America still thought that Hicks was the number 1 prospect in the Midwest League.
Going into 2010, Hicks will play over 100 games for the first time in his career. He will most likley begin the year back in Beloit with his outfield partner Angel Morales. If he plays well he will definitely earn 1, possibly 2 promotions throughout the course of the 2010 season.
Aaron Hicks has put on a little muscle since being drafted at a 6 feet 2, 170 pound high school kid. He will eventually be a guy who can hit for average from both sides of the plate. He has raw power and if it develops fully he will have the ability to hit anywhere in a major league lineup. His defense is already fantastic paired with excellent athletic ability to chase down fly balls as well as the best throwing arm in the system. Hicks raw talent is still in the process of being turned into production. When it does we are looking at a guy who is not only the top prospect in the system, but one of the top guys in all of baseball.
ETA: Late 2011 call up, early 2012
Projection: 5 tool spectacle. Gold Glove defense. Hit for average and raw power. 25+ stolen bases.
MLB Comparison: Carlos Beltran