Orioles claim to have found the key for Aaron Hicks to get back his form

Aaron Hicks is in the Orioles colors at Baltimore.
Josh Barrett
Saturday June 10, 2023

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MILWAUKEE — Once Aaron Hicks joined the Orioles as a replacement for injured center fielder Cedric Mullins, he wasted no time in seeking guidance from his new coaches. Eager to improve his swing, Aaron Hicks sat down with two of his coaches to discuss the necessary adjustments.

The coaches turned on the video footage of Aaron Hicks during his tenure with the New York Yankees, the team that had released him recently. As they analyzed his performance, co-hitting coaches Matt Borgschulte and Ryan Fuller recognized a promising opportunity for improvement. They believed that with a minor adjustment, Aaron Hicks had the potential to regain his top form.

Aaron Hicks may get back his swing with adjustments

The ex-Yankees said that the Orioles believed the adjustments would help him return to the player he was three, or rather five, years ago, before pausing to reflect on the timeframe. It has been quite some time, indeed.

The videos displayed were from Aaron Hicks’ exceptional 2018 season with the New York Yankees, which marked the peak of his career. He demonstrated impressive power by hitting 27 home runs and showcased durability by playing the most games in a single season. Unfortunately, Aaron Hicks has been unable to replicate that level of performance since then, leaving uncertainty as to whether he will ever reach those heights again.

Nevertheless, despite being 33 years old, the player can still make an effort to improve and strive for success. Aaron Hicks mentioned that the coaches were attempting to incorporate and reintroduce many of the techniques he utilized in his swing during the 2018 season.

Aaron Hicks of the New-York Yankees

How far it will benefit Hicks

According to Borgschulte, the goal is to have Aaron Hicks adopt a more athletic position in his initial stance and when his stride foot makes contact. The player admits that to achieve this, he aims to stand taller. By prioritizing his posture rather than solely focusing on his swing, Aaron Hicks believes that he will create additional room for his hands to maneuver throughout the swing.

This season with the New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks struggled in an area he identified as a weakness. He had a batting average of .188 in 28 games, a significant drop from his previous success with the team. Over the past few seasons, he experienced reduced playing time and below-average OPS+ (a metric that compares players’ on-base plus slugging percentages to the league average) in both 2021 and 2022. These factors contributed to his decline in performance.

Since joining the Orioles as a temporary replacement for Mullins, who is sidelined with a groin injury for an extended period, Aaron Hicks made an immediate impact. In the series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, he smashed his first home run as a member of the Orioles. Additionally, he hit a triple against the San Francisco Giants and showcased his ability to reach base three times in his debut game in Baltimore.

However, it is important to note that this positive performance is based on a limited number of games. One week of success is not sufficient to conclude that Aaron Hicks has completely rejuvenated his skills. Nonetheless, it only takes one good week to initiate a transformation and create an opportunity for improvement.

Orioles are optimistic

Manager Brandon Hyde remarked that Aaron Hicks is displaying a remarkable level of enthusiasm and vitality on the field. There is a noticeable sense of joy within the team, and he appears to relish every moment of being on the field. This experience of consistently being part of the lineup is something he hasn’t had in quite some time. As a result, it seems that the freedom to anticipate playing every day has allowed him to perform more freely, and Aaron Hicks has been making the most of this chance thus far.

Aaron Hicks could have recorded better statistics if he hadn’t been denied a potential extra-base hit in San Francisco. Furthermore, in the series opener against the Brewers, both center fielder Joey Wiemer and second baseman Luis Urías made outstanding defensive plays to prevent him from achieving success once again.

aaron hicks

In addition to his powerful hits, Aaron Hicks has been able to prolong his at-bats and force pitchers into deep counts. He consistently challenges pitchers and does not allow for any easy at-bats.

Borgschulte highlighted the significance of having a hitter who can effectively work an at-bat. He mentioned that the focus should not only be on getting hits but also on making the pitcher exert more effort. Borgschulte explained that when a hitter demonstrates discipline by not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone and being ready for those within it, it creates additional difficulties for pitchers. They become more cautious about their pitch selection, considering the hitter’s approach.

It is important to keep in mind that Aaron Hicks is still in the early stages of his time with the Orioles. While it remains to be seen if he will only be a temporary replacement or if he will be able to regain some of his previous forms from 2018, his potential resurgence could have a positive impact on the Orioles’ batting order.

Aaron Hicks acknowledges that achieving this will require consistent practice and repetition, but he is positive that they are making progress and moving in the right direction.

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