- Full name Brandon Ryan Hicks
- Born 09/14/1985 in Houston, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Texas A&M
- Debut 05/05/2010
Drafted in the 3rd round (108th overall) by the Atlanta Braves in 2007 (signed for $283,500).
View Draft ReportLast year, Hicks was the best junior college position player in Texas who wasn't under control to a big league club. He wanted to sign after helping San Jacinto reach the Junior College World Series, but scouts questioned his bat and he went undrafted. That won't happen again, not after he has transferred to Texas A&M and led an Aggies resurgence. His instincts allow him to play above his tools, and he's not short there. He's a 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete who has improved at the plate while continuing to make all the plays at shortstop and use his solid speed to steal bases. A&M coaches have helped Hicks make adjustments with his swing, though he still pulls off breaking pitches. He hasn't pitched this spring, but he flashed a low-90s fastball and promising secondary stuff while at San Jacinto. There still are some scouts who aren't sold on his hitting ability, but Hicks' performance and tools could get him overdrafted (perhaps as high as the second round) in a draft short on college middle infielders.
Organization Prospect Rankings
In his 2007 pro debut, Hicks appeared to be on the fast track to Atlanta. He offered the possibility of hitting for both power and average, while also showing a plus arm at shortstop. Add in his determination and intensity, and he had the makings of becoming a top infield prospect. However, in his two full seasons since, he has struggled with strikeouts and been merely solid at shortstop. After hitting 20 homers in 2008, he dropped to 10 last year while batting .237 in Double-A. Hicks has tinkered with his batting stance in an effort to see the ball better and make better contact, but the results haven't been forthcoming. Despite his high strikeout totals, Hicks does have a good eye at the plate and draws some walks. He has slightly above-average speed and outstanding instincts, succeeding on 17 of his 18 steal attemps last year. A knack for being in the right place and a strong arm with a quick release are his strengths on defense, which help him compensate for fringe-average range. Hicks will be 24 next season, making it an important campaign for him. He's unlikely to unseat Yunel Escobar as the Braves' shortstop, but they're going to need to replace Chipper Jones in the near future. Hicks will move up to Triple-A in 2010.
Undrafted after leading San Jacinto (Texas) JC to the 2006 Junior College World Series, Hicks has risen rapidly since signing as a third-round pick in 2007. Featuring a tremendous work ethic and strong desire to win, he earned all-star honors in the Carolina League and managers rated him the circuit's best defensive shortstop last year. Hicks has a quick swing that generates above-average power, and he ranked fourth in the CL with 19 homers despite missing two weeks in April with a thigh bruise and spending part of August in Double-A. He does a good job using the entire field, but high strikeout totals have limited Hicks' batting average and overall production. He spread his stance out last June so he could see the ball better, but his numbers didn't noticeably improve. The Braves believe he'll become more consistent at the plate with additional experience. His speed is slightly above-average, and he's an excellent baserunner who can steal an occasional base. While not flashy at shortstop, Hicks combines solid defensive tools with great instincts. His range may be just fringe-average, but he charges balls well and has plus arm strength and a quick release. He's bigger than most shortstops, which leads some scouts to believe he might have to make a move to second or third base. With his power and defense, Hicks has a chance to be an everyday player in the majors. He'll spend 2009 in Double-A.
For a player who went undrafted after leading San Jacinto (Texas) to the Junior College World Series in 2006, Hicks proved that he can have a significant impact at higher levels. The shortstop helped Texas A&M turn its program around with a solid junior season before signing with Atlanta for $283,500 as a third-round pick in June. Following a brief stint in Rookie ball, Hicks and fellow 2007 draftee Travis Jones brought a winning attitude to Rome, helping the young club compete for a playoff spot late in the season before falling short. An excellent all-around athlete who also showed a low-90s fastball as a pitcher at San Jacinto, Hicks is a consistent defender at shortstop with solid range and a strong arm. Though some scouts questions his ability to hit with wood, his bat has shown steady development and he has proven capable of making adjustments. He answered many of those doubts during his pro debut, but he still needs to improve at maintaining his overall balance and keeping his head in against breaking balls. The Braves envision Hicks remaining at shortstop for the long haul, and he could open 2008 in high Class A after spending the offseason in the Arizona Fall League.
Minor League Top Prospects
Though Hicks was a third-round pick in 2007, some area scouts who saw him at Texas A&M wondered how well he'd fare with wood bats. He answered some of those questions by batting .313/.433/.492 in low Class A in his first pro summer, then further stated his case by tying for fourth in the CL with 19 homers. Hicks still has improvements to make at the plate after hitting .234 with 122 strikeouts (which also ranked fourth in the league). He has a quick, powerful swing but he's still learning the strike zone and has a tendency to chase pitches. Though he's bigger than most shortstops at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Hicks was the CL's best defender at that position. He has enough range to stay at shortstop, along with a plus arm and a quick release.
Hicks barely qualified for this list, as he stayed only briefly in the Appy League before moving up to low Class A, where he hit .313. Undrafted out of San Jacinto (Texas) JC in 2006, he showed the all-around talents that made him a third-round pick in June. Like Kozma, Hicks doesn't have an outstanding tool but he profiles as a big league shortstop with solid ability across the board. He can drive pitches, draw walks and steal bases. Clocked in the low 90s as a pitcher at San Jacinton, he has a strong arm, reliable hands and good instincts at shortstop.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Atlanta Braves in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Atlanta Braves in 2010
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Atlanta Braves in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the Carolina League in 2008