Yankees’ Aaron Boone defends Aaron Hicks after awful start to 2023 season

aaron hicks, yankees
May 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Aaron Hicks (31) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There is no denying Aaron Hicks’ poor start to the 2023 season. The Yankees veteran outfielder has experienced struggles over the last three years, culminating in one of his worst stat lines yet across 23 games.

Hicks has ample time to turn things around this year, as the Yankees are not eager to offload his services, whether through DFA or trade. Currently, Hicks is batting .153 with a .219 OBP, hitting his first homer of the season on Monday night against the Oakland Athletics.

In April, he batted .159 with a .229 OBP and .388 OPS. Unfortunately, those numbers have actually mostly decreased in May, batting .133 with a .188 OBP and .588 OPS.

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The Yankees aren’t getting the best of Aaron Hicks:

The reality is that Hicks seems to lack confidence in the batter’s box, and his defensive efficiency has significantly decreased. Once an above-average defender, the 33-year-old now has -1 defensive runs saved and -2 outs above average this season.

Despite years of inconsistent and poor performance, manager Aaron Boone continues to support Hicks with unwavering confidence.

“We’re talking about a guy who hasn’t run from any of this,” Boone said of Hicks. “He’s been working his tail off behind the scenes, whether it’s extra hitting, extra work. He’s trying to make it happen.”

Boone is right about one thing: Hicks has not forced a trade or run away from critics. Instead, he has faced them head-on, even if it has not resulted in positive performance.

“None of this, I’m sure, has been easy,” Boone continued. “He’s stood there and faced it every single day. Credit to him for continuing to grind. To see him getting results in back-to-back days – very happy for him in showing resilience that he’s had to have all year.”

The simple truth is that if a player earns $10 million per season and fails to perform at least at an average MLB level, there is justification for release. Last year, he posted a 90 wRC+, and the last time he had a 100 wRC+ or better was in 2020. Currently, he has a meager 23 wRC+, indicating he is 77% worse than the average player.

The Bombers desperately need Hicks to find his groove and start hitting at a functional level. With the left field position up for grabs and Aaron Judge expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday afternoon, now would be the perfect time for the struggling outfielder to heat up and prove his worth on what general manager Brian Cashman believes is a “World Series caliber” team.