Aaron Hicks is poised to take an aggressive step forward this summer. The 21-year-old outfield prospect has the highest ceiling of any player in the Twins system, and while he has yet to have the breakout season many have been predicting since he was drafted 14th overall in 2008, it may be about to happen. A big reason is a new approach, which adds aggression to his disciplined nature.

Hicks hit a solid but unspectacular .279/.401/.428, with 8 home runs and 21 stolen bases, at low-A Beloit last season. What stands out is his high OBP, which was buoyed by 88 walks in 518 plate appearances. While many players his age lack patience, the young switch-hitter arguably has too much, drawing criticism in some circles for being too selective at the plate. Heading into 2011, he intends to go into more of an attack mode.

“I’m going to be more aggressive this year,” explained Hicks. “Hitting is a learning process and the older I get, the more experience I’m gaining. That knowledge and confidence is going to allow me to be more aggressive on certain pitches. I’m also loading on my back side more and staying back on balls better, which has been working out really well for me this spring.

“I’m planning to be more aggressive stealing bases as well,” continued Hicks, who possesses plus speed as well as plus power potential. “I worked with a track guy this off-season, focusing on being quick and explosive both out of the box and on the bases. Last year I wasn’t aggressive enough on the bases, partly because a few injuries held me back, but everything is good now. My legs are feeling good and my swing is feeling good. It’s been a good spring.”

Hicks, who is rated by Kevin Goldstein as Minnesota’s top position-player prospect, is beginning the season with the Ft. Myers Miracle in the high-A Florida State League.

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Hurry, Mr Hicks. The Twins need you.