This Major League Baseball season has gone by kind of quickly with quite a few under-the-radar storylines, particularly when it comes to the MLBbros holding down such a small percentage of representation this year. According to MLBbro columnist, David Grubb, Black representation is going in the wrong direction based on the numbers. In 2022, the MLBbros counted for 7.2 percent of the players in the big leagues. This year it’s at 6.2 percent.
As of late, the staff of MLBbro.com are starting to see the “Next man up” scenario when it comes to the injury bug affecting the bros. In New York, Giancarlo Stanton is being counted on to keep the Yankees offense afloat with the absence of Aaron Judge for a yet-to-be-determined period of time…
Now the light shines on Aaron Hicks, who is back in the starting lineup filling the center field position fellow MLBbro Cedric Mullins left vacant after being placed on the 10-day IL with a quad injury. The continued resurrection of his career will be a major storyline if the Baltimore Orioles can hold onto their magic carpet ride to first place in the American League East.
In baseball’s “Karma” story of the year, the last place New York Yankees are still paying for Hicks’ improved play to the tune of $27 million for the next three years of the seven-year, $70 million extension he signed back in 2019.
Since the Yankees release, Hicks has done very well in his first 38 games in the black and orange. Our MLBbro has a solid hitting slash of .270/.366/.467 with six homers, 20 RBI, four doubles and three stolen bases. Those numbers are better than most of his old team’s lineup. According to Hicks, the turnaround could be attributed to knowing his role and having more security with his playing schedule. His final days in New York were nothing like that.
“I felt I was playing one game and then I’d have two days off,” he said. “It seemed like a lot of off days were scheduled. I wanted to play every day and enjoy the highs and lows of being an everyday player. I like to get in a groove. I still have the mindset of an everyday player.”
“I don’t like watching baseball. I want to go out there and compete.”
— West Coast Sports (@WCS_Talk) July 18, 2023
“I wouldn’t play and then I’d have to think about it for a day and I was fighting battles I can’t win. I want to play every day. I don’t want to be a fourth outfielder. I’ve already done that and it doesn’t work for me.
“You want to get to the point of playing consistently for two months and that’s what I’m getting here.”
Hicks is also getting the chance to compete in a winning situation. The Baltimore Orioles are in first place in the AL East for the first time after the All-Star break since August 15, 2016. With the Tampa Bay Rays mired in a five-game losing streak as of this writing, the Orioles have erased a six and a half game lead in the month of July.
Even though Cedric Mullins is out of the lineup, fans should be comforted knowing Hicks has been solid at the plate going 7-19 in his last five games. Look for the consistency to continue due to the Baltimore hitting coaches making a slight adjustment to his swing by having him stand taller and a major shift in his mindset confidence-wise.
“They really helped get my confidence back,” Hicks said. “They said to focus on the little things and if you make solid contact, it’s all you can do. If I didn’t get a hit [with the Yankees], I knew I’d sit the bench the next day.”
For the time being with Cedric Mullins out for a while, Aaron Hicks has the chance to relax, get his rhythm and help the Orioles make a run for the postseason the only way he knows how.