MLB Draft 2012: Is the Twins' Pick of Byron Buxton the End for Aaron Hicks?
Byron Buxton, the newest member of the Minnesota Twins farm system, is considered to be a five-tool player. Buxton can get it done both on the mound (where he struck out 18 batters in a Georgia Class AA state championship game last week) and as an everyday player.
Buxton's name has also drawn comparisons to some of the best players today such as Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, but also Hall of Famers such as Willie Mays.
Stop me if you've heard all of this before, because chances are you have.
In the 2008 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins selected Aaron Hicks with the 14th overall pick. Like Buxton, Hicks was a two-way player who could crank his fastball into the mid-90s just as easily as cranking a prestigious bomb deep into the bleachers.
Hicks also drew the same comparisons as scouts raved that he could be the next Darryl Strawberry with his ability at the plate.
SInce those comparisons flew for Hicks, he's done nothing but put up mediocre numbers. Back-to-back average seasons at Beloit were followed by an average season at Fort Myers. In 2012, Hicks reached Double-A New Britain and has been just as unimpressive.
So as the Twins hail the second overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the question is whether the Twins drafted Buxton as Hicks' replacement as the next big superstar in the Twins organization.
If the Twins deem that Hicks' career is going by the wayside (as the Twins now have a log jam of outfielders that could make the major leagues), another option could be for him to make a return to the pitching mound.
Is Aaron Hicks Still An Elite Prospect in the Twins' Organization
Many teams during the 2008 draft had Hicks listed as a pitcher, and it's not like the Twins farm system is oozing with players who could contribute at the major league level.
All of this seems premature as Hicks will keep patrolling center field for the Rock Cats. The Twins still have their fingers crossed that Hicks is having a similar development path as Torii Hunter did.
Hunter spent several seasons in the minor leagues with slow progress and finally cracked the major league roster full-time in 1999. (Hunter debuted in 1997 and had playing time in 1998, but totaled just seven games in those two seasons.)
Whatever the Twins thought process, it could be that Hicks has finally reached that point where he's no longer a top prospect in the organization. It's too early to call him a bust, but the Twins pick of Buxton can't be a good thing for somebody who was once thought of so highly around baseball.
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