If we’ve learned anything in the Bronx, one impressive season with the New York Yankees doesn’t equate to permanent success.
While there have been many questions surrounding left field for the New York Yankees, there has been absolutely no question as to who would be manning centerfield come Opening Day.
Aaron Hicks has been slated as the starter since his impressive performance last year in that slot, using both his speed and power to his advantage both at the dish and on the field.
A Gold Glove-caliber defender, Hicks seemed to be the answer in the carousel known as centerfield in the Bronx. But is he really the permanent answer for the next few seasons?
Hicks played 137 games last year, the highest total in a season for his entire six-year career. Prior to that, injuries took the majority of his time, including 2017 when he appeared in just 88 games.
There’s no doubt that when he’s healthy, he produces for this team. While Hicks’s batting average dipped to .248 by the time the season ended, he still was tied for second in home runs with 27 and second in stolen bases with 11.
Hicks served as a valuable part of last season’s team and the Yankees are expecting him to be just as effective this year. But they better proceed with caution.
Last season, there were many complaints after getting Giancarlo Stanton that the outfield was far too crowded. Fast forward to July when Aaron Judge was out due to injury and Stanton was playing injured because of a lack of outfielders. I guess you really can’t seem to have too many outfielders in that lineup.
One injury, which Hicks seems to have a history of, could cause the Yankees to be without their starting centerfielder and then scrambling again to fill the position.
Injury isn’t the only concern lurking around Hicks. His offensive performances over the years haven’t been incredibly impressive. While he seems to be getting better over the years, it can’t be ignored that his first season in the Bronx was an absolute bust. He hit .217 in 123 games. Although the Yankees made it all the way to the ALCS, it was only Hicks’s defense that kept him in the lineup.
The Bombers put their eggs all in one basket for Hicks, which is a great testament to the 29-year-old outfielder. However, is it really the most intelligent thing based on his past?
Aaron Hicks showed last year that when he plays in a full season, he can contribute in incredible ways to the lineup. Now he just has to prove that his power show and clutch performances can carry over into this season.
The Yankees had options this offseason to replace Hicks in the outfield. But one and a half decent seasons have proven that the Yankees should be able to trust in Hicks.
But Bryce Harper was on the market. The Yankees were even potentially linked to players like Adam Jones as well. Harper is obviously the big fish and if the Yankees could’ve snagged him (which it sounds like they have the clout to do), they would be sitting pretty in center.
Harper had proven himself for years and doesn’t have the injury potential that Hicks does. But the Yankees were banking on Aaron Hicks and that is what they will be getting come Opening Day.
This could pay off immensely for the Bombers or it could prove to be a huge mistake. Either way, Hicks may have proved himself last season but he’s got to do it again in 2019.