Aaron Hicks wowed scouts who came to his games in the RBI League in California prior to the 2008 MLB entry draft.
The Minnesota Twins, who always seem to draft tooled-up, high-upside outfielders, owned the 14th-overall pick that season and were quick to move on Hicks when it was their turn.
Immediately, Hicks vaulted into the top ranks of Minnesota Twins prospects.
Scouts raved over his plate discipline, canon arm, and plus speed. Hicks showed some of his immense upside by hitting .318 with a .900 OPS in the Gulf League at age 18 over 45 games.
In 2009 Hicks moved onto low Class-A ball in Beloit at age 19 and underperformed to his talent. Hitting .251 with a .735 OPS did little to stop the hype machine, with Baseball America naming him the top prospect in the Twins organization heading into the 2010 season (Hick's second straight year being named the top Twins prospect).
Shockingly, the Twins decided no to promote Hicks above Low-A ball, making him repeat another season at Beloit.
Hicks started the season very slowly before rebounding in a big way in the final third of the year, leading many to think that Hicks's career was back on track.
Heading into 2011, Hicks was finally moving on to Fort Myers, the top Class-A team for the Twins. Keith Law of ESPN rated him as the No. 10 prospect in all of baseball prior to the season.
The 2011 season has not gone to plan.
Hicks is hitting a paltry .230 with only five home runs over 115 games thus far. This includes a current 4-for-31 slump over his last 10 games.
The thought of moving Hicks, now at age 22, up to Double-A or Triple-A to start 2012 is now but a memory as he will almost assuredly play his fourth-straight season of Class-A ball.
Next season will be a make-or-break year for Hicks, and only time will tell if he will be able to cash in on his immense talent.