After last season's 63-99 finish, 2012 was a make-or-break year for many current Minnesota Twins. It appears as if the result has been mostly break, and as the July 31st trade deadline approaches, the Twins seem like they are on the verge of exploding their roster to acquire new, young talent.
One of the most common names thrown around in trade talks has been Denard Span. In preparation for his and other players' possible departure, the Twins should do themselves a favor by promoting Aaron Hicks to Triple-A Rochester.
The Twins invested into arguably the best prospect in the 2012 draft in outfielder Byron Buxton. Ever since he was selected, Hicks seems to have had a fire lit underneath him. His .288 average in June and .358 average in July is what the Twins have been waiting to see since they drafted Hicks with the 14th selection of the 2008 draft.
When compared to his .220 average in May, he looks even more impressive. He only has three home runs since June, but he has hit four triples and decreased his strikeouts. Overall he has been a much better hitter since the draft, and appears to be ready for the next step in his career.
Throughout the entire year at Double-A New Britain, Hicks has hit .275 with nine home runs and 19 stolen bases in his 82 games thus far. Compared to his 2011 numbers in Single-A (.242 average, five home runs, 17 stolen bases in 122 games) he seems like a much more developed hitter.
He has shown excellent patience at the plate, drawing 78 walks in 2011 and 44 so far in 2012. To top it off, he has always been an outstanding defender with a cannon for an arm.
The timing is perfect for Hicks to make the move up to the next level. Not only is he hitting as well as he ever has, it will also provide him the opportunity to adjust to a higher level of competition. If everything continues the way it appears to be going, the Twins are going to want Hicks as ready as possible for a potential September call-up.
Many assumed the Twins' selection of Buxton spelled the end of the road for Hicks. It appears that instead it was just the kick he needed. He appears more than ready to play for Triple-A Rochester.
With the continued struggles of the organization, a youth movement seems just around the corner, and Hicks could be right at the center of it.