Disturbing. Hicks probably won’t cost the Braves anything, as the offensive difference between Diory Hernandez‘s zero and his less-than-zero should be pretty minor as long as AAG stays healthy. It’s rather what Hicks represents — that the current incarnation of the Braves brain trust, or Fredi Gonzalez alone, likes punchless gloves rather that guys who can actually help win ballgames.
Hicks, who played — well, mostly sat and occasionally ran — briefly in the majors last year, simply can’t hit. In the low minors, he looked like he might, taking walks and hitting for power, but since hitting AA he’s been hopeless. In about a season’s worth of play in AA he’s hit .237/.321/.375, and in AAA he hit .211/.280/.333 in 287 PA. He was 0-5 with a walk in his limited major league exposure. When he did go to bat, he looked completely overmatched, like a pitcher, and not a good-hitting pitcher. He was used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement for the most part, and is actually well-suited for this role. However, the Braves’ current roster construction works against this. They have only five bench players, so everyone needs to be able to pinch-hit, and a glove-first shortstop. When you had seven bench players you could afford to keep players like Hicks; when you have a shortstop who is only nominally a shortstop, he needs a caddy.