Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thomas Hickman : Revenge of the Fallen
I don't really know what the title of this article means, but I liked it. So whatever.
With the 63rd overall pick in the 2006 draft, the Marlins selected outfielder Thomas Hickman. A two way player in high school, the Marlins decided he was more projectable as a hitter, so pitching was quickly scrapped from his resume. Like many left handed hitters, he has a smooth stroke and allows ball to travel deep before centering them. His first 175 professional at bats with the Gulf Coast League Marlins were promising as he hit .263/.377/.411. After that season, some in the Marlins organization began calling him "Baby Hermida” because of his swing and good eye at the plate.
Signing for $575,000 out of Pepperell HS in Georgia, Hickman hit .183/.278/.256 in 164 at bats while in short season Jamestown. On the one hand, he again showed a strong walk rate; on the other hand, he also struck out at an astronomical pace. Making any kind of contact was an issue for Thomas, and when he did get a hit, rarely did he provide any power. Not blessed with blazing speed, he’ll be relegated to one of the corner outfield spots, although he has good instincts. Because of his strong arm, to go along with promising power, he could develop into a real good right fielder. These things were also said about the Marlins current right fielder, Jeremy Hermida. Of note in his season in Greensboro in 2008, his OPS improved every month, culminating in a .872 August. He also managed to have a .250 increase in OPS (.897) with runners on base as opposed to the bases empty in just about the same amount of at bats.
Because of his youth and his walk rate, there is still a bit of promise for Hickman as scouts believe as he matures and gains more muscle, he will show significant gap and homerun power. He has a good confidence about him and the Marlins love his makeup. Many believe he will be a prototype 2 hole hitter in the majors, but he needs to make better contact. Just 21 years old, Thomas should have spent most of this season in High-A Jupiter, but only saw 70 at bats where he hit .129/.274/.229 with an amazing 33 strikeouts. He then got hurt (when you swing and miss so often, you're bound to sprain something) and when he returned, he went back to Low-A Greensboro. Since his return, Hickman has been en fuego hitting .333/.467/.729 in his first 15 games in the SALLY. He's walked 12 times while striking out 12 times in that span.
Yea, him repeating Greensboro is not impressive at all but considering how bad he was earlier in the year, it looks like there's still some potential with Hickman after all. We'll have to see how he finishes his season as there is just a few games left in the minor league year. He was Future Fish's 26th ranked prosect to start 2009, he'll probably be in the same company heading into 2010.