Aaron Hicks has had his career hindered by injuries to this point, but if he can stay healthy consistently, the best is yet to come.
Baseball is back! Well, for now. With players agreeing to the safety conditions for the 60-Game season set to begin in late July, all fans’ baseball cravings will be filled. In the Yankees’ case, their cravings for a healthy team will be filled, as well, as it’s reported by Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that both Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks will be ready for Opening Day. While it’s clear Judge is the bigger superstar of the two, Hicks still has the potential to be a star, and his best days are ahead of him.
Where’d the Yankees get Hicks From?
Following the 2015 season, the Yankees were eager to get younger. On November 11 of that year, the Bombers kicked off their offseason by trading for Hicks in exchange for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy. Hicks was coming off a solid campaign, hitting 11 homers and driving in 33 in 97 games. He also hit .256 with a .323 on-base percentage.
At the time of the acquisition, many people focused on Hicks for his strong ability to hit the ball against left-handed pitching, or from the right side of the dish. He hit .307 against lefties, but only .235 vs. righties. The Yankees knew they had a player with lots of potential, but the only question was whether or not that potential would translate with age and experience.
In 2016, Hicks had a lackluster year, to say the least. He only hit .217 and had a .281 on-base percentage in 123 games. His power numbers were down significantly, too, as he only hit 8 homers and slugged .336 with a .617 OPS.
Things turned around in 2017, though, as his .372 OBP and 15 homers in just 15 games showed signs of success to come. Hicks’ only bugaboo was staying healthy, as he missed half his season with a pair of oblique strains. In 2018, Hicks played almost a full season and showed great progression at the plate. Hicks sported a .366 OBP and blasted 27 home runs and drove in 79 in 137 games, prompting the Yankees to sign him to a seven-year, $70 million contract prior to the 2019 season, where he sat out a long portion of the year with various injuries, including a back strain and a flexor strain.
What’s to Come?
Hicks’ only full-year was his best, simply enough, where he flirted with the 30-home run milestone. He underwent Tommy John Surgery following the 2019 season, and although it seemed like a guarantee he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season, things have changed among the late start to baseball. He’s only 30, and if he can stay healthy for a full season, he’d be a very valuable asset both at the plate and in the outfield for years to come.