Let’s Talk About Hicks (and his fans)

Let’s talk about Aaron Hicks and the Yankees fans who simply don’t like him.

That’s the important part: If you just don’t like the guy, say that. I might be a little curious why you don’t like a guy you don’t know and has never done anything off the field to draw our ire (like several former Yankees and one prominent current one that escapes the vitriol of Yankees fans), but that’s your prerogative.

Yet, if you want to say – and based on what I see on Yankees’ social media, a lot of you do think this – that Hicks is not a good baseball player, you’re going to need to stop. If you just don’t like the guy say that, but you’re embarrassing yourself by saying he’s not a good player.

I wrote at length about Hicks over the offseason, so there’s no need to completely rehash everything here, but let’s start with this: In an environment in which so many Yankees fans deride the swing and miss, all or nothing, too many strikeouts type of players, I’ll point out that Hicks’ strikeout percentage is 18 percent. For some perspective, that’s lower than the league average and there are seven Yankees with higher K rates. Also, Mr. Contact, Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s strikeout rate is also 18 percent – the same as Hicks’.

Remarkably, Hicks’ BB percentage of 17 percent is tops on the team (a team that includes Josh Donaldson, Aaron Judge, and Joey Gallo) and ranks in the 95th percentile across MLB. The take-home message here is that Hicks is not the scariest hitter in the Yankees’ lineup by a long shot – pitchers do not want to put him on base in front of the other sluggers – and yet he still draws a ton of walks, without striking out a lot. That’s not quite Rickey Henderson or Wade Boggs level of controlling the zone, but it’s really damn good.

The only knock on Hicks thus far is that he hasn’t hit with power yet, but frankly who cares? It’s early, so that aspect of his game may come around, but more importantly, he’s putting up a wRC+ of 127 – his SLG can stay at .333 forever as long as he’s getting on base 41 percent of the time as he’s done so far, for all I care. And frankly, if the Yankees’ hopes are pinned on Hicks being the guy to supply the power they have bigger problems. If Stanton, Judge, Donaldson, Gallo or Rizzo don’t hit long balls let me know – until then I don’t care if Hicks does or doesn’t.

Look at the big picture folks. It doesn’t matter if you like him or not, the Yankees are going to win more with him than without him.

Did I miss something? Let me know.

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