Aaron Hicks has transformed into a completely different player this season, and it’s paying off for the Yankees.
The Yankees’ fourth outfielder, who hit .217/.281/.336 with eight home runs, 31 RBIs and 32 runs in 123 games last season, has already matched some of those numbers in just 44 games this season.
Hicks has slashed .321/.432/.577 with eight home runs, 31 RBIs and 30 runs so far this season in 191 fewer plate appearances than last year.
The Yankees acquired Hicks from the Twins in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy before the 2016 season. Despite Hicks never doing much in the majors, manager Joe Girardi has remained confident in the 27-year-old.
After two strong months, it’s hard to call it a fluke. Hicks is a former first-round pick who’s just entering his prime.
He’s been particularly hot of late and has become a regular in the Yankees’ lineup with Jacoby Ellsbury out after suffering a concussion and neck sprain on May 24. Hicks is riding an eight-game hit streak and has gone 13-for-29 (.448) with six doubles, 11 RBIs and five runs in that span. Hicks also has benefited from a Yankees offense ranked fourth in MLB in runs with 294.
Hicks still was available in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 33 percent of ESPN leagues as of Monday afternoon. He’s worth owning in all formats, at least until Ellsbury returns.
It’s unclear when that’ll happen, but Girardi said Sunday that he’s hopeful Ellsbury will be back sometime next week, which will create a crowded outfield with Gardner, Hicks and Judge all exceeding expectations.
Hicks could see less playing time, but being a switchhitter gives him a slight edge as Girardi has a tendency to work matchups. He also can play all three outfield positions, which will help him stay on the field.
The Yankees will face at least a pair of lefthanders this week as they open a series against the Red Sox at home Tuesday following Monday’s off day. Boston has lefties Drew Pomeranz starting on Tuesday and David Price going Thursday.
Hicks has been slightly better from the right side this season, hitting .327 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 60 plate appearances.