Slow starts can really change how a player is perceived by the collective, specifically fan bases. This is even more accurate in a team like the New York Yankees, where expectations are sky-high and there isnâ€™t much patience to go around.
Yankeesâ€™ center fielder Aaron Hicks was just one of many offensive players struggling to find his stroke. Yet, he was the object of the ire of some fans, saying he has no business being a starter in the Bombersâ€™ lineup.
After all, he hit just .155/.242/.321 with a 61 wRC+ in April. He did hit four homers on the opening month, but it was clear he wasnâ€™t in a groove. Even his legendary walk rate was down some in the early stages of the year.
The Yankees are enjoying Hicksâ€™ recent production
However, like most of the Yankeesâ€™ struggling stars, Hicks has taken it up a notch in May. The switch-hitter is having a very good month so far, with a .364/.500/.409 line and a 172 wRC+. For the season, the athletic center fielder is up to a .198/.301/.340 line with four dingers and an 86 wRC+.
During his last eleven games, Hicks is hitting .294 with a homer, six RBI, an .846 OPS, and a 143 wRC+.
Hicksâ€™ numbers are slowly getting back to normal, and Yankeesâ€™ fans shouldnâ€™t worry too much about him. He has been quite unlucky, too, with a .289 weighted on base average (wOBA) but a much higher .337 expected wOBA, or xwOBA, which takes into account plate discipline, exit velocity, launch angle, and other useful stats and circumstances.
Hicks defensive numbers arenâ€™t what they used to be, and depending on your source, they may be good (1 OAA) or bad (-3 DRS), but as the season goes on, they should also improve.
He may not be the perfect player or even a conventional one, but the Yankees have an asset in Hicks thanks to his ability to get on base at a very high clip and hit the occasional home run.