Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: John Hicks stepped up when needed

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TORONTO, ON - JUNE 30: John Hicks #55 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the second inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on June 30, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 30: John Hicks #55 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the second inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on June 30, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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With the season drawing to a close, we are going to provide year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.

The Detroit Tigers have nearly completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.

As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.

Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!

Two of Detroit’s most notable players, Jose Iglesias and Michael Fulmer, have already been covered. Now, we turn our attention to a third player who suffered a season-ending injury.

John Hicks

2017 was Hicks’ first lengthy big league stop, as he served as Detroit’s backup catcher and first baseman. He played in 60 games, slashing .266/.326/.439 with a 6.8% walk rate and a 26.8% strikeout rate.

Coming into 2018 at age 28, it was pretty clear that Hicks could be counted on for more of the same – without much improvement. Breakouts at age 28 are rare, and although Hicks did have a slightly better season in some ways, he looked like the same player in 2018. He was counted on more often however, after a season-ending injury to Miguel Cabrera.

Hicks started 56 games at first base and 20 behind the plate this season. He posted a career-high 312 plate appearances, and slashed an eerily similar .260/.312/.403 with a 7.1% walk rate and a 26.9% strikeout rate.

Hicks continued to struggle defensively at first base, and is unlikely to ever develop into a good defender there. He was okay behind the plate, but he is more of a hitter than a fielder.

Even so, his hitting is roughly league average. Hicks makes a great bench bat who can play two key positions, but as a starter he is fairly average.

Hicks is under team control through 2022, so the Tigers are likely going to keep him around as a bench-bat and first base option next season.

Grade

Hicks did basically exactly what one would expect from him. He’s by no means elite, but he is a serviceable backup who played well when asked to take on a bigger role. For that, I’ll give him a solid B.

Grade: B

Next. 5 offseason tasks for GM Al Avila. dark

Check back here daily for more player grades! And if you’d like to discuss any grades, please leave us a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page.

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