- Full name Thomas Hickman
- Born 04/18/1988 in Rome, GA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Pepperell
Drafted in the 2nd round (63rd overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2006 (signed for $575,000).
View Draft ReportTwo-way player Tom Hickman didn't receive the same exposure this spring as some of his East Cobb travel league teammates, but he had an impressive season nonetheless. He had some shoulder stiffness, perhaps because he didn't have much time to prepare for baseball after playing basketball this winter. His fastball sat between 86-90 mph, and he flashes a plus changeup that he can run away from righthanders and cut on lefthanders. His package is projectable, both as a hitter and a pitcher. Hickman has a smooth stroke and allows balls to travel deep before centering them. He lacks the speed and range to handle center field, but has arm strength and raw power that profile well in right.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Jeremy Hermida comparisons seemed a bit farfetched in 2007, as Hickman struggled against more experienced competition in the New York-Penn League. The advanced grasp of the strike zone he showed in his first pro summer wasn't as evident in his followup campaign, when he also battled with a nagging groin injury. His diving into pitches was so pronounced that assistant GM Jim Fleming brought out the 4-by-4 he'd previously used with Greg Burns and had Hickman take batting practice with the board at his feet. A product of the storied East Cobb (Ga.) amateur program that also spawned Hermida, Hickman was a star athlete in high school. He played basketball, which led to a slow start on the diamond in his senior year that helped drop him to the second round, and also pitched, hitting 91 mph with his fastball. With his build and ability to handle the bat, he could develop into a classic No. 2 hitter if he can regain his plate discipline and stay back better on pitches. Despite average speed, Hickman played center field in his pro debut and reminded some club officials of Mark Kotsay with his instinctive jumps and routes. He moved to left field in 2007 in part because of his arm, which now rates as fringe-average. He'll get a chance to get back on track offensively with a move up the ladder to Greensboro, a hitter's paradise.
The Marlins were calling Hickman "Baby Hermida"after his strong debut in the Gulf Coast League. Like their former No. 1 prospect and current right fielder, Hickman is a Georgia high school product with an excellent idea of the strike zone. He also shares some of the same mechanical and physical characteristics of Hermida, though Hickman is smaller. A pre-draft mystery because of shoulder stiffness that limited his playing time as a senior, Hickman signed for $575,000. A third-team high school All-American, Hickman may have cost himself a higher draft slot by playing basketball his senior year. Though he's just an average runner, he will stay in center field for now. He gets good jumps and takes good routes. With quiet confidence and great makeup, he seems to thrive under pressure. He projects as a No. 2 hitter because he sees a lot of pitches and can handle the bat. As he adds bulk, his gap power should increase. He'll open his first full season in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Hickman generated plenty of buzz in the weeks leading up to the draft. Few teams had spent much time bearing down on him, in part because of shoulder stiffness that limited his playing time as a high school senior. He played basketball in the winter, which didn't help him get off to a good start. But Hickman batted .520 with 12 homers, earning third-team All-America honors, and went in the second round of the draft. He had a solid pro debut as an encore, albeit with too many strikeouts, but showed a solid swing with plus bat speed, natural loft and carry. He uses all fields and works counts well. Currently an above-average runner, Hickman has a broad-shouldered frame that should lend more power than speed as he fills out. He played primarily center field in the GCL and displayed solid-average range. He could move to right field in the future if he slows down, and he has the arm strength and accuracy for that position.