Aaron Hicks had a pretty good 2020, though as I’ll get to in a moment, his production really picked up toward the end of the campaign. Overall, the switch-hitting center fielder batted .225/.379/.414 (123 wRC+) with 6 dingers in 211 plate appearances. Perhaps the batting average left a bit to be desired, but considering that he walked more often than he struck out (19.4 percent vs. 18.0 percent of the time), he was very productive. Let’s break down his year.
A slow return from Tommy John surgery
The good news is that Aaron Hicks didn’t have to spend any time on the injured list this season. Obviously, a big part of that is due to the pandemic shortened season. Otherwise, he likely would have been on the Didi Gregorius 2019 return timeline after having offseason Tommy John surgery. Gregorius returned on June 7th last year, and one figures that Hicks would have been back around the same time under normal circumstances. Instead, the center fielder was ready for the July 23rd opener.
The bad news is that Hicks struggled a bit out of the gate offensively. Not unlike Didi, who didn’t rediscover his power stroke until later in 2019. Hicks wasn’t bad per se, but he certainly wasn’t himself. Through August 29th, he owned a .198/.343/.383 (102 wRC+) in 99 plate appearances. His always stellar walk rate was still in tact (18.2 percent), but his power hadn’t shown up yet (2 homers). Additionally, Hicks was far better hitting left-handed (114 wRC+) compared to right-handed (61 wRC+), though I wouldn’t make too much of that as we’re making an already small sample even smaller (21 PA as a righty).