Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

Find him on Twitter

Greetings from the Cel on Opening Day, and why Hicks is the key

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense Updated: March 31, 2014 - 10:54 AM

Chicago -- For some reason, I got to the ballpark about five hours before game time. Even though MLB has done all it can to ruin Opening Day by playing regular season games on the other side of the world to pretend the season has officially started, I can't stay away from the ballpark.

Paul Molitor is already testing the basepaths, and Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey are walking toward the bullpen at U.S. Cellular Field.

Wrote in today's paper about all the ways in which this Twins team needs to improve, but this can't be overstated or repeated enough: Aaron Hicks is a key to this team playing respectable baseball in so many ways.

If Hicks plays to his capabilities, the Twins will have a leadoff hitter who can get on base, run and drive the ball, and a centerfielder who can hold down the position capably all season.

If Hicks fails again, the top of the lineup will be in shambles, in a lineup that will already have automatic outs at the bottom of the order when Pedro Florimon and Kurt Suzuki start.

If Hicks succeeds, the Twins will finally have one of the top prospects they're counting on for the long-term up and running. If he fails, the future will be a lot harder to see, and a lot harder to care about.

In 2012, Hicks had a .384 on-base percentage at Class AA. Last year, he had a .259 on-base percentage in the majors and a .317 on-base percentage in the minors. He's still a five-tool talent who should be a big-league regular, if not a standout, for years. If he turns into a bust, this season will be hard to watch and the Twins' outfield of the future will be in flux.

------------------------------

I'll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 with Mackey & Judd, and on WJON in St. Cloud tomorrow at 7:15. Those times are good for every weekday.

My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 0 Top 1st Inning
Philadelphia 0
Washington 0 Top 1st Inning
Miami 0
Boston 12:05 PM
Minnesota
Detroit 12:05 PM
Houston
Toronto 0 Top 1st Inning
Boston 0
Tampa Bay 0 Top 1st Inning
NY Yankees 0
St. Louis 12:10 PM
NY Mets
Los Angeles 2:05 PM
Kansas City
LA Angels 2:05 PM
Oakland
San Diego 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Chicago WSox 3:05 PM
Seattle
Cleveland 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Milwaukee 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Arizona 3:05 PM
Cincinnati
Texas 3:10 PM
Colorado
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Washington
San Antonio 6:00 PM
Orlando
Indiana 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
New York
Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Dallas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Houston
Toronto 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Denver 8:00 PM
Utah
LA Clippers 9:00 PM
Portland
New Orleans 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 6:30 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Colorado 9:30 PM
San Jose
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
ULM
UCLA 6:00 PM
Michigan
Temple 6:00 PM
West Virginia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT