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Top 2008 Draft Prospects: Aaron Hicks


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Key: (X) is their age at the time of the 2008 Draft

10. #Aaron Hicks {High School OF/RHSP, (CA)} (18) Hicks is an outstanding athlete and is perhaps the most exciting player to watch in the entire draft. Thin as a rail at 6' 1 -160, he pumps low to mid nineties fastballs and a plus plus curve from the mound, but as with most youngsters, has trouble with command and location.

Hicks is perhaps even more gifted offensively, starring as a switch-hitting RF'er for Wilson High School, but with the special skills necessary to be a great CF'er,; speed, range and a great arm. Aaron has a quick bat and is a good hitter, but at this juncture his power is his least applicable tool. While not the power bats that Smoak, Alonso and Hosmer represent, he brings an electric elements to every game he plays... speed and fire. He plays hard and is a serious stolen base threat, nabbing 39 in 40 attempts just last season.

Hicks should make keeping tabs on him fun for scouts and fans alike. He should be selected in round one, but it's difficult to say which position he has the bigger upside in. I'll say CF.

Greg's Grade=83

Next> A brief rundown of players 11-20

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Is he really being projected as a 1st rounder? Unless he's a hit machine like Ichiro, a light hitting CF'er seems like a latter round pick, no matter how impressive his defense is. But I may be way off (not to undermine your judgment, Greg).

But then again, if he has a chance to be a future Ichiro, then he's definitely worth a 1st round pick.

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Is he really being projected as a 1st rounder? Unless he's a hit machine like Ichiro, a light hitting CF'er seems like a latter round pick, no matter how impressive his defense is. But I may be way off (not to undermine your judgment, Greg).

But then again, if he has a chance to be a future Ichiro, then he's definitely worth a 1st round pick.

The kid has a lightning quick bat and is a fast, athletic, multi-tooled player, who many would consider a round one talent as a pitcher. In time he could develop his power, much as Adam Jones has... but it will take patience. Personally I see Hicks as a CF'er with Kenny Lofton as a fairly close comparison. I think he'll have more pop than Lofton, but should not be as prominent a base-stealer as Lofton was.... not a bad guy to have. :)

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Greg do you know how Jordan is looking at all these prospects? Does he get to see a bulk of these players in person, or does he rely a lot on what his scouts report, and on video?

That's a good question, and one I'm not privy to. Perhaps Tony or another Hangouter can answer this.

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Is he really being projected as a 1st rounder? Unless he's a hit machine like Ichiro, a light hitting CF'er seems like a latter round pick, no matter how impressive his defense is. But I may be way off (not to undermine your judgment, Greg).

But then again, if he has a chance to be a future Ichiro, then he's definitely worth a 1st round pick.

It may be tough for his ML team to pass on him as a pitcher. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and already compliments it with an above-average mid-80s breaking ball. My guess is he winds up on the mound and ultimately in a power closer role.

His arm rates as a 70 on the 80-point scouting scale.

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It may be tough for his ML team to pass on him as a pitcher. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and already compliments it with an above-average mid-80s breaking ball. My guess is he winds up on the mound and ultimately in a power closer role.

His arm rates as a 70 on the 80-point scouting scale.

I don't know... I think I like him better as a CFer. He has the potential to be a gold glove quality centerfielder who covers tons of ground and has an electric arm. And I've heard that his offensive style and approach (and talent) is similar to Jose Reyes.

I think that you've got to take a chance and develop Hicks as an everyday player. If it doesn't work out, you can always throw him back on the mound and have him work as a reliever; similar to what the Padres are doing with Matt Bush. You can't really do that the other way around. But I think Hicks projects much better than Bush did.

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I don't know... I think I like him better as a CFer. He has the potential to be a gold glove quality centerfielder who covers tons of ground and has an electric arm. And I've heard that his offensive style and approach (and talent) is similar to Jose Reyes.

I think that you've got to take a chance and develop Hicks as an everyday player. If it doesn't work out, you can always throw him back on the mound and have him work as a reliever; similar to what the Padres are doing with Matt Bush. You can't really do that the other way around. But I think Hicks projects much better than Bush did.

I guess it depends on what you think of his frame. I'm not a believer yet that he'll thicken enough to be a real force at the plate. We can say he is "similar" to Jose Reyes, but there is a lot of developmental time between today and the day he's playing at the ML-level. It may be a bit pre-mature to connect him with actual players for comparison's sake.

He is an incredible tool-set right now, and he is an elite athlete. Whether that eventually turns into elite defense at the ML-level, and whether his bat will come along for the ride, still remains to be seen. He doesn't have the offensive talent of Beckham -- yet -- and is still more tools than complete package (as many HS talents are). Ultimately, I think his quickest route to the ML will be as a power reliever (though he should be tried as a starter to see how quickly he develops) and whoever drafts him will not be able to turn down a mid-90s FB/mid-80s breaking ball package in an 18 year old kid.

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I guess it depends on what you think of his frame. I'm not a believer yet that he'll thicken enough to be a real force at the plate. We can say he is "similar" to Jose Reyes, but there is a lot of developmental time between today and the day he's playing at the ML-level. It may be a bit pre-mature to connect him with actual players for comparison's sake.

He is an incredible tool-set right now, and he is an elite athlete. Whether that eventually turns into elite defense at the ML-level, and whether his bat will come along for the ride, still remains to be seen. He doesn't have the offensive talent of Beckham -- yet -- and is still more tools than complete package (as many HS talents are). Ultimately, I think his quickest route to the ML will be as a power reliever (though he should be tried as a starter to see how quickly he develops) and whoever drafts him will not be able to turn down a mid-90s FB/mid-80s breaking ball package in an 18 year old kid.

Fair enough, I agree that it isn't really worthwhile or fair to compare these unpolished kids to proven major leaguers.

But I still think that Hicks should be an offensive player. I don't see any reason why he can't put on another 10-15 pounds over the next few years. It's not a given, but even my brother, who was one of those rail thin kids who would never gain any weight no matter what he did and couldn't put on much muscle even when he tried, has bulked up a bit. From 18 to 20, he went from 6'-1" 150 lbs to 6'-2" 165 lbs. Some people just don't fill out until they get closer to college age.

If Hicks does that, I think he'll at least show enough power to be a solid hitter. He's already got great bat speed. Who cares if he never hits 25 home runs?! There are so many other things he brings to the table.

There's also the inexperience he has on the mound. I know most highschoolers are unpolished and suffer from some of the main problems that Hicks does on the mound (control), but Hicks is inexperienced even compared to most other elite HS pitchers. He's been pitching in relief. He appeared in 13 games last year and totaled 19 innings. He's shown great stuff in those limited innings but it has held back his development.

The kicker for me is that I'd be shocked if he made it out of the 1st round, and unless he pitches a lot more often as a starter this year I can't see anyone using that high a pick on him with the intention of using him as a pitcher. Someone will see his toolsie upside as a hitter/fielder and be willing to take him in the first round. Anyone who sees him as a pitcher will be looking to take him later, as there are other elite HS pitchers with great stuff who have more experience on the mound.

The people who see him as an everyday player will value him more and take him earlier than those who see him as a pitcher, therefore those who want to make him a pitcher will never get a chance to draft him.

But that's just my opinion, and we've got 3 months left for things to shake out differently.

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Fair enough, I agree that it isn't really worthwhile or fair to compare these unpolished kids to proven major leaguers.

But I still think that Hicks should be an offensive player. I don't see any reason why he can't put on another 10-15 pounds over the next few years. It's not a given, but even my brother, who was one of those rail thin kids who would never gain any weight no matter what he did and couldn't put on much muscle even when he tried, has bulked up a bit. From 18 to 20, he went from 6'-1" 150 lbs to 6'-2" 165 lbs. Some people just don't fill out until they get closer to college age.

If Hicks does that, I think he'll at least show enough power to be a solid hitter. He's already got great bat speed. Who cares if he never hits 25 home runs?! There are so many other things he brings to the table.

There's also the inexperience he has on the mound. I know most highschoolers are unpolished and suffer from some of the main problems that Hicks does on the mound (control), but Hicks is inexperienced even compared to most other elite HS pitchers. He's been pitching in relief. He appeared in 13 games last year and totaled 19 innings. He's shown great stuff in those limited innings but it has held back his development.

The kicker for me is that I'd be shocked if he made it out of the 1st round, and unless he pitches a lot more often as a starter this year I can't see anyone using that high a pick on him with the intention of using him as a pitcher. Someone will see his toolsie upside as a hitter/fielder and be willing to take him in the first round. Anyone who sees him as a pitcher will be looking to take him later, as there are other elite HS pitchers with great stuff who have more experience on the mound.

The people who see him as an everyday player will value him more and take him earlier than those who see him as a pitcher, therefore those who want to make him a pitcher will never get a chance to draft him.

But that's just my opinion, and we've got 3 months left for things to shake out differently.

I don't disagree with anything you write. Part of what makes him a fun kid to watch is that there is so much talent there that could be utilized in many different ways. I'd love to see him in college and developing both his pitching and offense (as well as his baseball IQ). He has a skill set that could be a #1 overall pick in a couple of years. As it stands, he sits aroun 11-15 for me right now.

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