#1: Aaron Hicks, OF - Considered the best player to come out of metro Los Angeles since Darryl Strawberry, Hicks was selected with the 14th pick of the first round in the 2008 MLB Draft. Although the outfielder has shown glimpses of his star potential in two professional seasons, the Twins will be patient to allow him to develop slowly. With the GCL Twins in 2008, Hicks batted .318/.409/.491 in 204 plate appearances. He managed 10 doubles, 4 triples, 4 HR, and 27 RBI, and also stole 12 bases. He started the 2009 campaign in extended spring training but ended up playing 67 games with the Beloit Snappers. He batted .251/.353/.382 in Beloit and showed the growing pains one would expect from a 19 year-old. Still, Hicks has only had 501 plate appearances since turning professional and has managed a 278/.376/.427 line with 25 doubles, 7 triples, 8 HR, and 56 RBI. He has five-tool talent, but it is very raw at this point. Thankfully, the Twins historically have taken patient approaches with their high school draftees. Torii Hunter was drafted in 1993 and did not make his first MLB plate appearance until 1998 and wasn't a regular until late 2000. That is likely the timeline the Twins would like to follow with Hicks, but his development will dictate where he plays and how fast he is promoted.
So, there you have it, my top 20 prospects heading into 2010. Feel free to debate my sanity and comment where you believe I got it right or got it wrong. As always, check the other Twins' blogs for their prospect lists which will be coming fast and furious as we settle into the winter months up here in Minneapolis.
Diamond Awards: The annual Diamond Awards are coming up on January 28 to benefit University of Minnesota research of debilitating neurological diseases (ataxia, Parkinsons, MD, MS, etc.). The Twins' 2009 season will be honored in the program and the proceeds to go a great cause.
For more information about the awards and tickets, check out http://www.minnesotadiamondawards.org/.