The season is inching ever closer for the New York Yankees which means the pressure is on for some players on the roster, especially Aaron Hicks.
The New York Yankees have a lot to live up to next year. They are coming off a hugely successful season and they’re expected to continue that into next season.
Along with that comes pressure: pressure to perform and pressure to win it all. That pressure weighs on the team but also on specific players. One of those players is center fielder Aaron Hicks, otherwise known as A-A-Ron.
Many would argue that Greg Bird has the most to prove, as he has yet to complete a full season in the Bronx. Others argue the main player to watch develop is Giancarlo Stanton, especially seeing how the Chris Carter debacle ended up last year.
Well, Hicks is the one to watch for. Why? Because the Yankees are putting all their eggs in one basket after one season.
Brian Cashman declared early this offseason that Hicks would be taking over everyday center field duties. Then they went and traded for another outfielder in Giancarlo Stanton to bring the grand total to six potential outfielders begging for playing time.
Brett Gardner has been with the Yankees for ten seasons. Aaron Judge has proven he’s the next face of the Bronx. Stanton has already helped raise ticket prices just by being on the roster. These guys are going to be out there because fans and the media want to see them out there.
Then there’s Clint Frazier, who is fighting for a potential spot in the outfield and putting in a good word for himself. Jacoby Ellsbury is still in the mix if the Yankees can’t find a trade partner. The outfield is literally filled to the brim with incredible talent.
While Hicks made a huge impact last season, that was the first time in his five-year career he has batted over .260.
In fact, last season he recorded career-highs in home runs (15), RBIs (52) and doubles (18), despite only playing in 88 games due to various injuries. Could he replicate that season and even improve? Absolutely, with ample playing time. But will he even get that consistent playing time?
Cashman put all the pressure on Hicks by naming him the starting center fielder. With Judge, Stanton, Gardner, Frazier and Ellsbury in the mix, whoever performs will be playing. If Hicks struggles while others are thriving, he won’t be a starter for long.
That’s just the nature of the business. While he may be promised the starting position, that could all change with a cold streak.
He was given the starting position because of how he played last year and that means the pressure is on to perform the same, if not better, than before. He’s got the chops to play a mean center field for the Yankees but can he keep that up when players are breathing down his neck, hoping for his starting spot?
He’s used to being an underdog in the outfield but now he’s the top gun (literally) in center field. We all know, the higher you are, the harder you fall. He has to put together an incredible performance in order to stay at the top.
He did it once in his career. Can he do it again? The pressure is on for Hicks to continue with his game-saving catches and clutch home runs or else he’s out of the lineup and back on the bench.
Joe Girardi saw something special in Aaron Hicks. Hopefully, Hicks can build on that confidence and put together a great 2018 season.
Pressure’s on, A-A-Ron. Show us what you’ve got.