The New York Yankees are quickly losing faith in veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks, who has had a tough start to the 2023 season. Over three games and eight plate appearances, Hicks hosts a .000 batting average with a .125 OBP. He’s striking out at a 37.5% rate and hasn’t recorded a hit.
Unfortunately, his value has quickly diminished and the Bombers have had to rely on others, notably Franchy Cordero and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the outfield.
On Friday afternoon, the Yankees had an opportunity with men on base to drive in a run, but instead of utilizing Hicks, Boone called upon IKF to get the job done, who has also failed to record a hit this season and hasn’t even gotten on base over 12 plate appearances.
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“Just a chance to have a better matchup with the lefty there and a chance to add on,” Boone said of his decision to use Kiner-Falefa in that situation. “I like the chances of IKF putting the ball in play there. He popped it up.”
The Yankees should have used Aaron Hicks over IKF in that spot:
Hicks is a natural right-handed hitter but is capable of batting from the left side as well. Objectively, Hicks has more power and a bit more success this season compared to IKF, who does make frequent contact but is normally weak and inefficient.
Instead of making the more productive choice and batting Hicks over Cordero, IKF ended up striking out, forcing the Yankees to try and steal a win at the top of the ninth inning, which fell just short.
“We’re looking for a hit in that spot,” Boone said. “It’s not an on-base situation, necessarily, it’s more of a hit situation, so I liked IKF there.”
The comment above indicates that Boone trusts IKF to record a hit over a walk, despite failing to get on base this season and struggling to start the year. Even if Hicks walks, Anthony Volpe is right behind, so it doesn’t send a great message that Boone wasn’t even looking for a base runner.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Hicks is losing any ground regarding his desire for starting reps. Cordero has now played in more games and has performed over his small sample size. He’s hitting .300 with a .364 OBP, including a three-run homer against Baltimore on Friday. Expect to see Franchy continue to get opportunities, especially if his bat remains hot.