Yankees: Aaron Hicks providing a huge boost to lineup since return


Entering this season Aaron Hicks was looking to build off of a career year that saw him take over as the Yankees everyday centerfielder. Despite a short DL stint to open his 2018 campaign Hicks is now back with the team looking healthy as he’s made a huge impact on the lineup since his return.

In his return off the 10-day DL on Friday Hicks reminded Yankees fans what they’ve been missing with an astounding display of power and speed. Hicks had two home runs, one of which was of the inside the park variety in the Yankees 8-6 over the Tigers.

Hicks showed no lingering effects of his intercostal muscle strain and brought some normalcy back to a Yankees outfield that has had a lot of moving parts to open the season. His return allowed everybody to move back to their normal positions with Brett Gardner in left and Aaron Judge in right. Now neither of them will have to be tasked with playing center field and the Yankees outfield defense as a whole should really benefit from that.

With Hicks back in the lineup behind Gary Sanchez in the sixth hole, the Yankees are as deep as it gets 1-6 in their order. The bottom three still have to get it going with guys like Neil Walker and Tyler Wade really struggling, but once they do this lineup will be incredibly difficult to navigate through.

One of the things Hicks did so well during his breakout 2017 season was work deep counts and walk a lot. That’s been no different so far this season. In the two games since his return, Hicks has walked three times and has gotten on base a total six times. It’s obviously a small sample size, but it looks like Hicks is primed to post another high OBP this season much like the .372 clip he had in 2017.

Hicks will never get the same kind of attention as some of the other power bats in this Yankees lineup, but I don’t think it’s any surprise that the offense has really started to click since his return. Just having him out there really lengthens the lineup and forces opposing pitchers to throw a ton of pitches.

During last night’s 12-1 blowout win the Yankees forced Marlins pitchers to throw a whopping 217 pitches. They forced starter Caleb Smith to throw 84 in only 2.1 innings. Now I know the Marlins are not a good team by any means, but it’s a positive sign moving forward that the lineup is really making the opposition work across the board.

Next: Tyler Wade struggling to keep his hold on second base

With Hicks leading the way in that department the best is likely yet to come from the Yankees powerhouse offense.