You may have heard this arbitrary but nevertheless impressive statistic: Since the beginning of last August, the Minnesota Twins lead all of baseball in runs scored. This year they have outscored all but three American League teams, and during their current 9-2 stretch they've averaged nearly seven runs per game.
It seems safe to say that offense is not a major problem for this team, Sunday's punchless effort against Danny Salazar notwithstanding. Yet it's still bothersome that the Twins have continued to hold off on making the most obvious move possible to upgrade their lineup.
When will Aaron Hicks get a look?
Throughout spring training, most expected that Hicks would end up winning the center field job, if only for a lack of better options. But Hicks had a tough spring, highlighted by a few notable gaffes and mental blunders, and ultimately the lesser options prevailed.
The Twins opted to roll with a pair of backup-caliber players in Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson, with the presumption being that this sub-par duo would only be keeping the spot warm until a superior option proved ready.
Well, Schafer and Robinson have been as bad as expected if not worse, producing a miserable .590 combined OPS in center field, while Hicks has done just about everything possible to show he's ready for another chance in the majors.
In 26 games at Rochester, the switch-hitting 25-year-old has a spectacular .330/.412/.553 hitting line. He has shown discipline (20/15 K/BB) and plenty of power (nine doubles, four triples, two homers), and he has even hit from the left side (.880 OPS), yet he remains relegated to Triple-A while the Twins keep trotting out non-legitimate major-league starters in center day after day. On Sunday, Schafer once again looked completely overmatched in going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
People can point to Hicks' poor numbers in his first two seasons, but Schafer -- who is three years older -- has a nearly identical career OPS. There have got to be deeper factors at play in Minnesota's decision to continually eschew its former first-round draft pick.
Whatever those might be, it's time to get past them and give the kid another shot. Hicks is in his final option year, which means that next season they'll no longer have the option to bury him in the minors in deference to veteran sub-mediocrity. This year represents the club's last chance to determine whether Hicks is going to be a big-league asset going forward, and they'll gain no clarity by allowing him to keep beating up Triple-A pitching.
We talked last week about an eventual long-term upgrade in center, but most agree that Byron Buxton's arrival is at least a month or two away. Hicks, on the other hand, is quite clearly ready for his chance now. And every day the Twins wait, they're doing themselves -- and their fans -- a disservice. The situation in center field right now is simply untenable.
The Twins are off on Monday and Hicks was not in the Rochester lineup on Sunday, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the change take place before the next series in Detroit gets underway.

Once you're finished here, head over to Twins Daily for a recap of Sunday's minor-league action, the latest episode of the Gleeman and the Geek podcast, and more!