Friday, March 9, 2018

The case for Aaron Hicks batting second

Last season, we experienced two (2) Yankee teams: 

1. Hyde (April-June) before Aaron Hicks strained his left and right belly, and when he was blistering hot. (.290, 10 HR) 

2. Jeckyl (July-Sept), after Hicks tweaked his cabbage basket, and did squat. (.212, 5 HR)

(Yeah, there were similar dichotomies with Greg Bird and Aaron Judge, but let's not complicate matters; this is about Hicks, okay?) 

With a happy Bridgestone, Hicks played as well as anyone in the lineup - yes, even Judge and Sir Didi. He hit, drew walks, stole bases and patrolled CF the way Access Hollywood covers the Kardashians. But after straining his breadbox, he turned into Zolio Heathcott. 

Which begs the question: Which was Hicks, and which was Memorex? 

Soon, we will know. Supposedly, Hicks did crunches all winter to harden his "core," and while such news inspires us all to go watch a workout tape, he's one of 12 players in camp who claim to be new and improved, because that's what guys say in March, once away from the family ball-and-chain.

That said, I hereby argue that it's in the Yankees' best interests to give Hicks the ultimate chance to succeed: He should bat second, behind Brett Gardner and in front of the five-finger death punch known as Judge & the Jury. 

If Hicks can't hit in the two hole, then last May was an Ambien sleepwalk, and he's just another Roger in repose. But if Hicks repeats the joys of last spring, the Yankees would add another weapon to Star Fleet, extending the lineup down to numbers 8 and 9, that is, whomever is playing 2B and 3B. With a little production from, say, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, holy crap, this could be a team for the ages!

(Okay, I hereby despise myself for spewing such gewgal. Optimism is always bad juju. Nothing good comes from it. Still... call me irresponsible! We've waited half a century for the Second Coming of Mantle/Maris, with an Elston (Gary), a Moose (Bird), and a Whitey (Severino) and even a Tresh (Gleyber? Red Thunder?) Why lie? Let's go for it!)

I'm saying Hicks needs a shot at No. 2. But let's not brick him into place. If he blows a tire, slide him to 7th. But if he hits, holy crap, we've got...

a) a switch-hitter,
b) a base-stealer (third on the team last year)
c) a patient hitter
d) a man capable of 25 HRs

e) an all-star centerfielder

He could be the breakout star of 2018, and dammit, the Yankees have the luxury of going for broke. If it doesn't work, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier will be hungering for their shot. 

Ahh, it's just so easy in March, no? What can go wrong?


Anonymous said...





JM said...

I'll stick to my belief that Hicks' early run last year was the aberration and hope that I'm wrong. He had a short hot streak, versus years of mediocrity and worse at the plate. (Helluva arm, though.) It might have been a good idea to trade him over the winter, but that ship has sailed. Cashman's pet project has clogged up a roster spot for too long now, and he's going to do it again this year because Cashman is never wrong. (cough)

The question is, if he does revert to the mean, how long will we have to suffer with him in the lineup? Two months? Three? Long enough to damage our chances, obviously. The best scenario for that would be a non-crucial-but-nagging injury that gets him on the DL for a long stretch. Ells will doubtless be joining him there, which opens up two spots for Red (if he's healthy) or Cave or McKinney.

I wish the guy all the best, and if he proves me wrong, great. We're that much closer to a ring.

But I doubt it.

Alphonso said...

The other truth is that Torres and Andjuhar will both be in Scranton when all of this begins.

I think Wade has a shot at second, although he is better at SS. I think Torreyes will be the utility guy.

I think Dreary Drury will be at third...after all, Cashman had been lusting for him for several seasons, he paid a lot for him and, by Cashman, he will fucking start!

Torres will be lost in Scranton for a while. He doesn't seem fully recovered and fully confident, after that surgery.

Jake Cave's ship has sailed. But Billy McKinney's may still be afloat.

I still like Tyler Austin over that Lind person. Why? I saw Lind run to first.

Just saying.

HoraceClarke66 said...

"another Roger in repose"—I love it!!

I agree with ALL-CAPS: give Hicksie the shot! Let's see what that rejuvenated core can do!

And I wouldn't write off the Cave Man or anyone else just yet. But we'll be all right.

This is why we at this site are so much smarter than the average Jellystone bear: we understand, you have to figure in disaster. And despite the recent loss of Jabari "The Moniker" Blash, we have piled up outfielders faster than Martin Sheen said the, uh, you know, piled up in Vietnam.

And hey, if Torres is NOT ready to go, do we have to give Coops props (Cooprops?) for getting Drury as a back-up plan? Have we fallen into some weird, alternate universe where Coops has been possessed by the persona of Gene Michael???

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...


AnonELMO said...

Boone needs to bat Drury between Judge and Stanton.

That way they would be JUDGE, DRURY, and EXECUTIONER.

Anonymous said...

This even-older coot will join the consensus, herein: give Hicks a shot in the #2 slot - - though I must admit, my OWN core tells me that John M's "gut" feeling is probably closer to reality.

Cyber-BS?? A real "thing"?? Yup. All-caps is correct about that.

Today's mysteries: was duque really reaching for the archaic expression 'gew-gaw'?? Do we dare trust tRUMPY to negotiate w/ Rocket-Man?? Well...yes - - and NO, NO, NO!!!! Those are this geezer's votes, at any rate. LB (No J)

Anonymous said...