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2015 Angels Trade Deadline Targets: Twins-Angels


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Hicks%2B2.jpg

 

By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer -

One way to avoid getting fleeced in the trade deadline market is to make a trade with another team that is in contention.
 
Currently the Twins are in the lead to win the AL Central Division based on current standings. Notably FanGraphs’ End of Season projections show the Twins totally out of the playoffs based on their current roster composition.
 
You have to believe that sooner, rather than later, the Twins are likely to call up prized prospect Byron Buxton to man center field. This would potentially leave OF Aaron Hicks without an everyday position.
 
Hicks, who is 25 ½ years old, is a switch-hitter with a  Minor League slash line, over 8 seasons, of .275/.379/.427 with a 14.5% walk rate and a 19.6% strikeout rate.
 
Aaron would be an interesting option to hit lead-off for the Angels. He has speed but would probably need to be more selective in his stolen base opportunities in the Majors as he has a Minor League career stolen base rate of 69%.
 
Notably Hicks has shown steady improvement in developing a line drive approach (His MiLB Line Drive rate is 16.4% and his MLB Line Drive rate is 20.2%). To date, since 2011, his MLB results have been marred by a low .268 BABIP compared to a .333 rate in the Minors.
 
Perhaps the most important number in Aaron’s statistics is the fact that since 2011 his Minor League OBP has been nearly identical (.370 vs. LHP, .371 vs. RHP) from both sides of the plate. Even if you feel he won’t fully translate those numbers to the Majors, a .340+ OBP is still above average.
 
Hicks’ is controllable through the 2019 season and won’t enter arbitration until the 2017 season. That is four years of team control after 2015. His estimated total salary over his remaining controllable time is approximately $20MM-$25MM.
 
Acquiring Aaron Hicks would have some risk built in as he has not fully acclimated and developed himself at the Major League level. However taking an above average center fielder and putting him in left field would deepen our outfield defense significantly.
 
As a less expensive option he could potentially provide a spark plug effect to the top of the lineup allowing other hitters like Calhoun, Trout, and Pujols to hit in the 2-3-4 spots where we need increased production.
 
A one-for-one trade is possible here with the Twins but unlikely. It would probably require two pieces from our side where we send someone like Grant Green plus a reliever like Danny Reynolds back to Minnesota.
 
Adding Hicks would only increase payroll, at best, by approximately $500K.
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His plate patience at the MLB level is actually solid (467 at bats, 60 BBs in 2013-2014).

He's started off slow there in 2015 (6 BBs in 90 at bats), but is hitting .253.

 

One question would be his seemingly lack of gap hitting even (lack of XBHs).    But if he could improve his SB%, the lack of XBHs could be somewhat minimized.

 

He would likely cost less than Revere in salary and players traded.

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His major league stats are ugly. I like the idea but the offense needs someone who can make an impact right away. If the team was rebuilding I'd be all for this

I agree the numbers to date haven't been exciting but I think he's on the brink. You may be right this may not be as impactful as we need right now but it is an option.

Notably his K% is just above 16% this year indicating he's seeing the ball better but the BB% isn't as solid in return. His splits, in limited PA's this season, are almost even on both sides including AVG and OBP.

One other interesting note is this year in limited samples he has a 30.8% LD% vs RHP and a 27.8% LD% vs. LHP which are both excellent numbers. His MiLB BABIP was .333 but this year it is just above .300.

It seems like he's close and maybe a trade to another team might be what makes the dam break and it might not?

He is an option though. For the record he's not my favorite option (you'll see my favorite in a couple of days) but I'd be okay with the Angels trading for him.

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Returning to SoCal might just be what gets Hicks to the next level?

I really feel like he could be on the cusp, AO. However So What might be correct in that his immediate impact may not be enough for the team today. I think no matter what he could be useful to this team and would certainly provide excellent defense in LF and could act as a backup CF to Trout.

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