The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 20, 2013

Thoma column: Twins going into the outfield future

When the Twins traded away both Denard Span and Ben Revere in the span of a few December days, the knew they’d be breaking in a pair of rookie outfielders.

As it turns out, they’re breaking in three — Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee.

It’s been a bumpy ride for all three.

Hicks has had the most difficult time of the trio, and he also figures to have the longest leash. He’s a center fielder, and neither of the other two have the tools for that position.

His 0-fer Saturday dropped his batting average to .142 — the lowest batting average among the 90 qualifiers in the American League. Even more worrisome: his on-base percentage — his strong suit as a hitter because he’s willing to take a walk — is third lowest. His slugging percentage is second lowest.

He’s been better in May than he was in April, but that’s not saying much. His May average still sits below .200 (entering Sunday’s game).

But the Twins will stick with him. I heard Ron Gardenhire this week, asked on the radio about Hicks’ big game on Monday (two homers and a spectacular catch), say something like:

People say send him here, send him there. But you’ve got to have somebody to replace him with.

And, by implication, the Twins lack a plausible replacement. Darin Mastroianni remains sidelined with troubled left ankle. Joe Benson is spluttering in Triple A himself (batting average .187).

Hicks had a well-established pattern in the minors of struggling initially when moved up in the farm system, and he’s skipping a level this spring. It should have been expected that he’d have some troubles at the plate. But I don’t think anybody expected them to be this deep.

Arcia, one of the star bats in the system wasn’t supposed to be here now. But when Mastroianni went down, Arcia came up in mid-April, and the Twins didn’t call him to the majors at age 21 (he turned 22 this month) to sit on the bench.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox SportsNite: Botched play Gruden: Full-speed practices key for fundamentals Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France College Football Playoff Prognosis: Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Playoff Prognosis: Nebraska Cornhuskers Jake Peavy traded from Red Sox to Giants Browns wants Johnny Football to buckle down How Losing Joe Bergeron Affects Texas What will Pierzynski bring to St. Louis? Cristiano Ronaldo -- TEAMING UP WITH LIL WAYNE ... Rapper Starting Sports Management Biz