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Should Twins Fans Worry about Aaron Hicks?

18 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It is always strange to me when I hear Twins fans and some minor league baseball fans talking about how disappointing Aaron Hicks has been in Beloit. I think part of it is because many, myself included, thought he would end the 2010 season in Ft. Myers. I realize everyone from fans to players to front office personnel are eagerly awaiting his breakout year when his incredible tools become skills and he puts up some terrific numbers. But I wanted to take a look at how his numbers at Beloit compare to other Twins players and their numbers in the Midwest League.

Let’s start by reviewing the numbers that Aaron Hicks has put up the last two years in Beloit:

Player Age Year Team BA/OBP/SLG (OPS) 2B/3B/HR/RBI BB/K
Aaron Hicks 19 2009 Beloit .251/.353/.382 (735) 15/3/4/29 40/55
Aaron Hicks 20 2010 Beloit .279/.401/.428 (829) 27/6/8/49 88/112

Here are some current and former Twins players and how they did in the Midwest League (Note – Delmon Young’s A-ball numbers from the Sally League):

Player Age Year Team BA/OBP/SLG (OPS) 2B/3B/HR/RBI BB/K
Torii Hunter 18 1994 Ft. Wayne .293/.358/.439 (797) 17/1/10/50 25/80
Michael Cuddyer 19 1998 Ft. Wayne .276/.364/.451 (815) 37/7/12/81 61/107
Justin Morneau 20 2001 Quad Cities .356/.420/.597 (1017) 17/2/12/53 26/38
Joe Mauer 19 2002 Quad Cities .302/.393/.392 (785) 23/1/4/62 61/42
Jason Kubel 20 2002 Quad Cities .321/.380/.521 (901) 26/4/17/69 41/48
Denard Span 20 2004 Quad Cities .267/.363/.308 (671) 4/3/0/14 34/49
Delmon Young 18 2004 Charleston .320/.386/.536 (922) 26/5/25/115 53/120
Alexi Casilla 20 2005 Cedar Rapids .325/.392/.409 (801) 11/3/3/17 29/31

Here are a few notes:

  • Everyone talks about how Torii Hunter didn’t put up great numbers in the Midwest League. Well, he did, and he did it at the age of 18. He was already showing some of that power.
  • Michael Cuddyer put up some incredible minor league numbers all the way up the ladder, and it started as a 19 year old in 1998. Look at all those extra base hits.
  • Justin Morneau didn’t get to the Midwest League until he was 20, and he only spent a half season there because he completely dominated the level.
  • Joe Mauer’s OPS isn’t exciting, but we did get a glimpse of the player he has become too. Many more walks than strikeouts, a few doubles, and a good batting average.
  • How fun would it have been to see Quad Cities play in 2002 with Mauer and Jason Kubel? You can see why so many people back then saw Kubel as a mix between Morneau and Mauer.
  • Denard Span didn’t exactly put up monster numbers, and he did miss quite a bit of time with injury. The take-away from those numbers is that he had a very nice Isolated Discipline already even though he was, like Hicks, very raw at the time.
  • Delmon Young was a beast after being taken with the 1st overall pick in the 2003 draft. Ever wonder why people still think he’ll develop a lot of power, check out those numbers!
  • Alexi Casilla was with the Angels organization, but what he did for Cedar Rapids made him the guy they wanted in a trade of JC Romero the next offseason.
  • I included international players and high school drafted players in this group. Danny Valencia hit .302/.374/.500 (874) with 15 doubles and 11 homers in a half-season with the Snappers, but he was 22 years old after spending three years playing Division I baseball. Matt Tolbert played four years at the University of Mississippi, so the Twins had him skip the Midwest League and go right to Ft. Myers.

Can we take anything away from these numbers? With Hicks, you have to love his Isolated Discipline and On-Base skills from both years. The strikeouts increased some in 2010, but he has shown some extra base power. Delmon Young, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel put up really tremendous numbers in the Midwest League, and that has translated to the big leagues eventually. Cuddyer was an extra base machine as a 19 year old in Beloit, and yet his OPS was lower than Hicks’ was in 2010, as a 20 year old. Joe Mauer has always had a terrific eye, and yet Hicks has produced significantly better IsoD while producing more extra base hits.

Of course, we don’t know what will happen. We know that all players develop differently, but I think that this quick, cursory glance at Hicks’ numbers compared to current big leaguers gives us no reason to believe he won’t continue developing and become a very good big league player.

Let’s also take a look at the Midwest League numbers of some of the other Twins hitting prospects to see how they compare:

Player Age Year Team BA/OBP/SLG (OPS) 2B/3B/HR/RBI BB/K
Trevor Plouffe 19 2005 Beloit .223/.300/.345 (645) 18/0/13/60 50/78
Chris Parmelee 19 2007 Beloit .239/.313/.414 (727) 23/5/15/70 46/137
Chris Parmelee 20 2008 Beloit .239/.385/.496 (881) 10/3/14/49 52/83
Joe Benson 19 2007 Beloit .255/.347/.368 (715) 18/8/5/38 49/124
Joe Benson 20 2008 Beloit .248/.326/.382 (708) 16/3/4/27 24/73
Ben Revere 20 2008 Beloit .379/.433/.497 (930) 17/10/1/43 27/31
Angel Morales 19 2009 Beloit .266/.329/.455 (784) 22/5/13/62 30/104
Angel Morales 20 2010 Beloit .289/.381/.474 (855) 13/7/4/36 24/65
James Beresford 20 2009 Beloit .289/.342/.313 (655) 11/0/0/38 34/70
James Beresford 21 2010 Beloit .297/.349/.363 (712) 19/5/1/59 34/56
Danny Rams 20 2009 Beloit .229/.308/.429 (737) 14/0/7/23 18/77
Danny Rams 21 2010 Beloit .243/.310/.450 (760) 28/4/16/68 31/145
Anderson Hidalgo 21 2010 Beloit .316/.375/.443 (818) 25/1/3/28 24/50
  • Trevor Plouffe put up those numbers only because he played much better in the 2nd half of the season. Good power numbers, but he could have used another year with the Snappers.
  • Both Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee struggled in their first seasons in the Midwest League. Then both got hurt halfway through their second season with the team. However, in the second year, you can see why people are excited about his patience and power potential.
  • Looking at Revere’s Beloit numbers, what a year he had. Very much batting average based, of course. But if we were to only look at OPS, his is right up there with anyone (except Morneau). And he stole 44 bases that year too.
  • Angel Morales… how/why is he so overlooked in many prospect rankings?
  • James Beresford showed good improvement from 2009 and 2010. Reports are that he has gained some weight this offseason. If he can add any semblance of power to his game, he could jump up prospect rankings quickly!
  • Danny Rams has so much power potential, but he just needs to put the ball in play more. His 77 strikeouts in 2009 came in just 175 at bats. He struck out 145 times in 407 at bats in 2010. Yet, his power numbers still make him intriguing.
  • Anderson Hidalgo may be the least known, or maybe underrated, prospect in the organization. He had another solid year in 2010.

What is the summary? There really isn’t one. There is no science to prospect rankings and we don’t know how things will turn out, but if nothing else, I believe this data shows that Twins fans should continue to be very excited about the future of Aaron Hicks.

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave your comments here. Also, for more links to Twins articles and thoughts throughout the weekend, be sure to follow me on Twitter where I like to retweet Twins-related articles and post thoughts frequently. Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday Morning Updates

29 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Please note that The Stick & Ball Guy convention has been moved from this Saturday (8/1) to Saturday, August 15th. I don’t know my schedule for certain, but hope to be there and would love to meet any of you there as well.

THE MANDATORY FAVRE/VIKINGS STUFF

As you know, I’m been mainly annoyed by the on-going Brett Favre/Vikings courtship. Basically, I was just certain that Favre would sign with the Vikings. It only made sense. Well, he surprised me and most of Vikings and NFL fans by saying that he was staying retired. Alright, I’m four sentences into a paragraph on Favre, and I’m already bored with it. However, it was my StarTribune.com/YourVoices blog last night was about the Brett Favre situation, but it was mainly about the 2009 Vikings season. Check it out and feel free to comment there.  

COMMENTS ON THE ALL-TIME METRODOME TEAM

Last night, the Twins announced their All Metrodome team before the game against the White Sox. The vote was conducted with fans able to vote online and then media and front office personnel also factoring into the decision. For the most part, the choices were fairly easy to make, but there are still a couple of comments: 

Manager – Tom Kelly  

No Question. That is an easy choice. Two World Series championships and being the manager for 15 of the 28 seasons in the Dome. 

Starting Pitchers – Bert Blyleven, Frank Viola, Brad Radke and Johan Santana

Again, hard to argue with any of these selections. I don’t think anyone else really even should be considered.

Relief Pitchers – Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan

Again, very easy selections, and no one else to really even consider, at least if they were limited to two. 

Catcher – Joe Mauer  

I mean, who could have even finished 2nd? Brian Harper? 

DH– Paul Molitor  

Another pretty easy selection. He had three amazing seasons with the Twins. Now, if this was done a couple of years from now, Jason Kubel has to be in the conversation. 

Infield – Kent Hrbek, Justin Morneau, Chuck Knoblauch, Greg Gagne and Gary Gaetti

Could you make a decent argument for Corey Koskie? Probably. Other than that though, these selections were easy as well. Hrbek had to make the team, and Morneau is an MVP who finished 2nd once and will likely be in the Top 3 again this year. 

Outfield – Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter, Tom Brunansky and Dan Gladden

OK, I guess there really would only be one player on the All-Metrodome team that is even questionable. I realize he is now part of the media, but how is Dan Gladden on this list. Yes, he was on both World Series teams. I get that. He was the team’s leadoff hitter in both championship teams, but wow, was he not good. In his five seasons with the Twins, his on-base percentage was just .318. It was never higher than .331. In 1991, his OBP was just .306! That’s horrible. So, the next question you may ask is for me to name a player that should be on the All-Metrodome team in place of Gladden. I’ve got five players (including Gladden) for you to consider:

 

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

2B

3B

HR

Dan Gladden

0.268

0.318

0.382

0.700

117

26

38

Michael Cuddyer

0.269

0.345

0.450

0.795

160

27

92

Jacque Jones

0.279

0.327

0.455

0.782

189

15

132

Matt Lawton

0.277

0.379

0.428

0.808

163

13

72

Shane Mack

0.309

0.375

0.479

0.854

119

24

67

Gladden spent five seasons with the Twins. Shane Mack spent five seasons with the Twins. Matt Lawton spent parts of seven seasons being incredibly underrated with the Twins. Jacque Jones spent seven seasons in a Twins uniform. Michael Cuddyer has been with the Twins since 2001. So, there are three players who are clearly much better options for the All-Metrodome team than Gladden. If you want, I’d be happy to add Randy Bush as another option who could be better. He spent 12 seasons with the Twins.

Obviously this isn’t some life-altering decision, but it makes no sense. But if one name out of 17 is bad, that’s not too bad at all. What do you think? 

TWINS 5, WHITE SOX 3

Alright, I’m right up there with other Twins fans that just do not like Mark Buehrle. However, sometimes you have to just give a little respect, and what Buehrle did over his last two starts is simply incredible. First of all, he had the perfect game which is amazing. It was only the 18th in Major League Baseball’s history. And then last night, he started out by getting the first 17 Twins hitters out. He carried another perfect game into the 6th inning. Like him or not, that is absolutely remarkable.

That said, I felt just fine when he walked Alexi Casilla. I was also glad that Denard Span lined a clean single up the middle for the first hit. I would have hated to see one of the Twins players bunt for a hit to break up the string, and even more, I would have hated to see a questionable hit/error decide it. You know, a play like the next one, when Joe Mauer hit a ‘double’ to left field that really should have been caught by Scott Podsednik. But within three batters, Buehrle lost the perfect game, the no-hitter and then the shutout. Then in the 7th inning, the Twins scored four more runs. Brendan Harris drove in a run to give the Twins the lead. Two batters later, Nick Punto slapped a single to right field to drive in two. Then Octavio Dotel came in and walked three, including Justin Morneau with the bases loaded that gave the Twins the 5-1 lead. 

Scott Baker was good. He gave up one run on just four hits over the first six innings. His performance was unfortunately overshadowed by Buehrle, but he was good. He walked none and struck out six. Jose Mijares then got five outs. Bobby Keppel got out of the 8th inning, and then gave up two runs in the 9th inning, doing just enough to create a save situation for Joe Nathan who only had to get the final out. 

Tonight, I will be in attendance to see Francisco Liriano and the Twins take on Bartolo Colon and the White Sox, hoping to see the Twins complete the sweep! 

Any thoughts?
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Steve Tolleson, Rochester Red Wings

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Philip Humber, Rochester Red Wings  

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday –Rochester 7, Gwinnett 1  – Philip Humber got some run support and did well with it. He gave up just one run on four hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four. Armando Gabino threw two shutout innings. Steve Tolleson went 2-3 with a walk. Matt Macri went 2-4 with his 19th double. Justin Huber was 2-5 with his 15th double. Jose Morales was 2-5. Danny Valencia was back in the lineup and had a double.      

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – New Britain 1, New Hampshire 5 – The Rockcats played two games on this day because of a power outage in New Hampshire. It would be safe to say that the Rockcats had no offensive fire power on this day. In the first game, they managed just five hits. Whit Robbins went 2-3 with his 18th double. Ryan Mullins started and gave up five runs (1 earned) on six hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out six. Alex Burnett came in and got the final four outs.  

Tuesday – New Britain 0, New Hampshire 5 – In the second game, the bats managed just three hits. Brian Dinkelman hit his 26th double. Deolis Guerra got the start. He did alright through two innings, but then he faced six batters in the third inning and got none of them out. All told, he gave up five runs on six hits and a walk. Kyle Waldrop then threw two more shutout innings. Carlos Gutierrez gave up a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning. He struck out two. Spencer Steedley walked two in a scoreless inning.             

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday – Ft. Myers 1, Brevard County 4 – The Miracle were held to just four hits in this game. Mark Dolenc and Evan Bigley each hit a double. Tyler Robertson started and gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in seven innings. Henry Arias came in and gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Loek Van Mil struck out one in his perfect inning.  

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 5, Great Lakes 8 Brad Tippett has been, by far, the top pitcher for the Snappers this season. He was due for a rough start. In this game, he gave up seven runs (3 earned) on eight hits and a walk in just 4.2 innings. Blake Martin gave up a run in 1.2 innings. He struck out three. Steve Blevins then was perfect threw 1.2 innings. James Beresford went 2-5 with his sixth double. Nate Hanson went 2-4. Michael Harrington hit his 27th double. Aaron Hicks hit his seventh double.   

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Tuesday – Elizabethton, Johnson City – Postponed by Rain.

GCL TWINS GOINGS ON

Tuesday – GCL Twins 2, GCL Rays 2 – This game was called as well in the 10th inning and will be completed next week. I likely won’t think to look back, so I figured I would show some highlights already. Rory Rhodes and Hyun-wook Choi each went 2-4. Rhodes hit his fifth double. Choi stole his second base. Mark Grudzielanek went 1-3 with a double. Adrian Salcedo had another strong start. In six innings, he gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out five. Nelvin Fuentes struck out three in two shutout frames. Eliecer Cardenas struck out the six in the 9th inning.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.