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Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: AARON HICKS OUTFIELDER NEW YORK YANKEES

One player's misfortune is another player's opportunity.  Nowhere was this more true on Wednesday when on the first pitch of the game between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, the immediate fates of outfielders Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury would be impacted.  Ellsbury of course crashed face first while making an acrobatic catch off that first Luis Severino pitch and the result was that he suffered both a concussion and a neck sprain that will require a DL stint beginning Thursday.  The loss of Ellsbury in turn opened up a clear daily starting spot for Hicks who had earned more than a bit of plaudits for his big offensive start to the season.  So with that said, let's dig in a bit more on Hicks as he continues along on what is shaping up as a true breakout campaign.

When it comes to Hicks, the post-hype sleeper tag applies here as the former 2008 first-round pick took quite a bit of time and two organizations to find his offensive groove.  It was the Minnesota Twins who originally drafted Hicks and it was the Twins who gave up on him during the winter of 2016 in trading him to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy.  The Twins lost patience with the string of nasty batting averages and utter lack of power from Hicks who seemed like more an athlete than a major league hitter.  Enter in Yanks GM Brian Cashman who bought very low on Hicks and who now is earning praise for his foresight.

Still just 27-years-old, Hicks goes into Thursday's games with the following numbers:

.291
8 HR
24 R
20 RBI
6 SB

All of those swell numbers came in fourth outfielder duty for Hicks and so it led many to wonder what he could accomplish with starter plate appearances.  What has really been the impetus for Hicks' big 2017 so far is his major uptick in walks for one.  Hicks currently spots a massive 18.5 BB/9 rate which has helped him put up a monster .426 OBP.  On top of this, Hicks has lowered his K/9 rate from 2016's mark of 18.8 to this year's incredibly solid 16.9.  A .297 BABIP is very much in the neutral zone and so Hicks is totally legit in everything that he is doing.  This is a guy who has 20/20 ability with the requisite amount of at-bats and that seems like it will be happening now with the always slow to heal Ellsbury out of commission.  So if Hicks is still somehow still available in your league, do yourself a favor and bring him aboard quickly.  The numbers don't lie.


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