If New York Yankees center fielder (center field option, please say option) Aaron Hicks were absolutely raking in the Dominican Winter League, it wouldn’t be time to pop bottles, but you’d be cautiously optimistic.
Well … what if we told you … he’s struggling? Would that make you want to do something else with those bottles?
Just one year after going through this same hopeful song-and-dance with Gary Sánchez, Yankee fans are now on the constant hunt for Hicks highlights, especially since there’s precious little to do elsewhere mid-lockout. Hmm, live baseball action or Brian Cashman fist-fighting the Grinch? Options …
Therefore, watching Hicks record hits (nice!) only to learn they’re just bloops (oof!) has been a downer during these cold, winter months. And peeping Hicks showing off his worst ability — availability — has only taken him so far.
Entering play on Monday night across nine games, the Yankees’ starter is hitting just .206 with a single home run.
Add in those four walks (don’t hate ’em), and the OBP sits at … .289. Yay?
Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks isn’t showing out in the Dominican Winter League.
Again, it’s not a horrific showing. It doesn’t indicate that Hicks is done and dusted as an MLB player, in the same way that we wouldn’t be riding the Aaron Hicks Bandwagon if he’d posted three more Winter League hits and crept his average closer to .300. Playing well, though, should be the baseline. Struggling should be noted, especially as the Yankees — for whatever reason — show reticence to spend around Hicks and ensure there won’t be too much of a burden placed upon him on Opening Day.
Hicks’ regression — hopefully — is at least mostly injury-related. Back in 2019, he was a star. He took walks. He had 25-homer power. He drilled the short porch with reckless abandon, whether it was in the Bronx or London.
If this Hicks comes back in any capacity, that’s a player the Yankees can work with! Even so … he still shouldn’t be the sole option.
Until the lockout is lifted and Hicks is supplemented by … well, anyone, we’re still going to stress over these Small Sample Size numbers. Because they’re all we have!
We need Hicks to be at least somewhat healthy and dynamic. So far, he’s healthy, but he’s not hitting like a starting-caliber center fielder. And even if things rapidly turn around, he shouldn’t be trusted to be one.