Another day, another report card. This time, we take a look at the huge impact Aaron Hicks had on the New York Yankees after his failed experiment in 2016.
2017 was a huge year in the game of baseball. It was the year the New York Yankees single-handedly stole the Cy Young Award from Chris Sale. It was the year of the thumbs down.
It was also the year where Aaron Hicks emerged from a career-long slumber to play a role as one of most underrated, unexpected performers on a squad riddled with superstars.
Besides the incredible moments off the field, Hicks made his presence known on the field, literally stealing the center field position right out from Jacoby Ellsbury during his concussed absence. Let’s take a look at what exactly he did and how it impacted the Yankees during their terrific 2017 campaign.
Hicks went through some struggles offensively but literally transformed into a whole player after one depressing season in 2016.
Hicks finished the year with a .266 batting average in 88 games played, launching 15 home runs and driving in 52 runs. But the stats don’t tell the whole story. The story is told within the clutch bombs and epic bat flips whenever Hicks pimps a home run.
He approached each at-bat with an intense confidence, an incredible swagger. He may have struck out 67 times but when he put the bat on the ball, he made things happen.
Is there a grade higher than an A+? Because that would be what Hicks would get for his stellar defense this season.
He replaced Jacoby Ellsbury and exceeded all expectations. We knew that his arm was something special after he fired his 105-MPH throw last season. Turns out that he had so many more tricks up his sleeve.
I mean, the guy lays out. He reads the ball incredibly well and even when he gets hurt, he still has the ability to make incredible diving catches in the outfield.
While I’m a huge fan of Gardner, I have no problem saying that perhaps the best defensive outfielder doesn’t wear number 11 but does indeed rhyme with “sticks.”
Dugout Presence: B+
Aaron Hicks is a cool dude but he’s still young. He doesn’t quite have that leadership presence in the dugout that some of the other outfielders do.
He did participate in a few celebrations, mainly the ones surrounding “The Toe-Night Show” where he hoisted the “boom mic.” He’ll certainly grow into the veteran role but it will take a little bit of time.
At least he can keep being a positive force in the dugout. In time, that leadership role will certainly come.
Overall Grade: A
With all things considered, Aaron Hicks turned an “F” season in 2016 into an “A” season in 2017. It’s amazing what one year will do.
He proved he’s more of a complete player than we’ve been shown and was able to overcome all the hatred fans threw his way.
Admit it: you weren’t nice to Aaron Hicks when he struggled in 2016. Heck, he was destined to be the next Stephen Drew. He turned that narrative right back around on the fans.
For those of you who stuck with Aaron Hicks, congratulations. Your loyalty paid off! For those of you who didn’t, he just gave you all the middle finger.
Nice job, Hicksy.