One player who has been fun to watch in spring training is the third catcher, John Hicks.
Even though his slash is less than impressive, he has potential. His current slash is .143/.143/.333 with an OPS of .476. What is impressive about him is the infrequency of his strikeouts. In 21 at-bats, he has 3 strikeouts. The majority of his outs have been strong hits deep to the outfield. Unfortunately, they have gone right to the outfielders. He has a double and a home run to his name in spring training.
It is clear that he is a power hitter, who just needs a bit of tweaking. Once the adjustment is made, Hicks could be a serious contender at the plate. His biggest problem is James McCann and Alex Avila. McCann has a stronghold on the starting catcher spot and Avila – well…he’s got that dad of his. It is important to note that Avila’s numbers at the plate are not much better than Hicks’. Avila has a slash of .185/.333/.185 with an OPS of .519. In his 27 at-bats, he has struck out 12 times.
The 27-year-old catcher is an imposing figure. He is 6’2″ and weighs 230. He does bat right-handed, which is another strike against him. But, if he can get that bat going, he could be a quality replacement if either of the veteran catchers is out for an extended period of time.
Today against the Orioles, Hicks had a good day at the plate. He had two at-bats scoring a run on his own and a pair of RBIs. He needs to keep this up in the final third of spring training.
Hicks has caught in 36 innings during spring training. He has a 1.000 fielding percentage. He has allowed one stolen base and caught two trying to steal. His range factor is 4.00. For comparison purposes, McCann’s range is 5.62 and Avila’s is 5.36.