With New York Yankees fans falling all over Aaron Judge, the hate that is flying towards Aaron Hicks is incredibly ridiculous.
Now, awaiting the final decision, fans have easily sided with Judge in the starting role. Not only have they left Hicks in the dust but they’ve completely discredited his skills in the process.
When it comes to Hicks, it seems that fans are finding every possible excuse in the book as to why he won’t make a good outfielder for the Yankees. Why? Because they want to see Judge.
The truth is, he absolutely would make a good outfielder for the Yankees. The problem is the Yankees and their reliance on veterans is holding him back.
Hicks and Judge together have been far more impressive in spring training than Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury. The problem is the Yankees obviously won’t cut out those contracts to make a starting spot for both.
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Hicks is not exactly a long-term veteran like fans are playing him out to be. He is 27, has yet to have a shot at a full season in the majors while playing in mostly the utility role for other teams and still has time to improve on his skills. We don’t know what he would be like in a full season, just like we don’t know what Judge will bring to a full season.
That’s something that fans tend to skip over when discussing Hicks and Judge. Sure, we’ve seen Judge launch moonshots this spring. However he, like Hicks, has never played a full season in a starting role.
Hicks, like Judge, was once a heavily-touted prospect in the Minnesota Twins farm system. While he never reached the potential that was expected from him, he still is playing the game. The same thing could easily happen to Judge.
Just because Hicks is older doesn’t mean he really got his chance to shine. Too bad Yankees fans believe that he is just another deadbeat based on inconsistent playing time, without ever giving him a real chance.
We do know that Hicks actually was quite productive last year when he got consistent at-bats for the Yankees. As my colleague Christian Kouroupakis discussed in his column, Hicks batted .271 when he got more chances at the plate in the wake of the trade involving Carlos Beltran.
Yankees fans are treating Hicks like he’s the plague. Or worse, like he’s the next Stephen Drew. When it comes to those comparisons, these fans must not be really watching the game.
People are raving about Judge’s ability in the field but am I missing something? While Judge knows what he’s doing out in right field, Hicks has excelled in the outfield, far better than Judge. In fact, he would likely be a starter on any other team except for the contract-heavy outfield of the Yankees.
Hicks’ speed and versatility make him an excellent candidate for a major league outfielder. Nobody can forget his incredible 105.5-mph throw to gun down Oakland A’s Danny Valencia at home plate in 2016. There are far more highlights that come from the speedy Hicks, including several diving plays and incredible catches.
While Hicks doesn’t possess the power that the monstrous Judge does, he has made up for it in ways that Judge cannot. Using his speed to his advantage has been the major thing that sets Hicks apart from Judge.
So why is the hate focusing on Hicks? Judge is clearly the fan favorite but the hard-working Hicks deserves some respect too.
Maybe fans need a scapegoat, a reason to blame the Yankees for their team struggles. That was Drew a few years ago. It seems that now it is Hicks, no matter how unfair it may be.
Hicks could start or Hicks could be the versatile fourth outfielder. Whatever ends up happening, the hate for Hicks needs to stop. He was not the sole reason the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs last year and he won’t be the sole reason if they don’t make it again this year.
Aaron Hicks is not Aaron Judge. Judge has a massive following due to the anticipation of greatness. Hicks is the odd man out. Either way, Hicks still deserves some respect, regardless of whether he’s a starter or bench player.