Hicks struggling, Mastroianni worth a look 

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
10:33
AM ET
Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire might not want to admit it, but rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks is clearly overmatched at the plate. I caught a few of Hicks' at-bats over the weekend and again Monday, with each of them ending in strikeouts, and at some point soon, a stint at Triple-A Rochester will be warranted, if it's not already. Hicks, 24, became a popular sleeper for many fantasy owners this spring, as he hit .370 with four home runs and 18 RBIs to earn the starting center field job vacated by the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere, but so far in the big leagues, he has produced two singles in 30 at-bats, with 13 strikeouts.

Those in dynasty formats and even one-year AL-only leagues should be patient by benching Hicks even if/when he's demoted, because his future remains enticing. Hicks features a patient approach at the plate, as he piled up the walks at each minor league stop. He also strikes out quite a bit and doesn't figure to hit for a high batting average, but fantasy owners should be willing to overlook that, given his potential for double-digit home runs and 30 steals. Frankly, it's not a shock he's struggling. After all, three of the four home runs he hit in spring training, and six of his RBIs, came in one wind-blown game against three Philadelphia Phillies left-handers in Clearwater, Fla., one month ago. Hicks is the No. 11 outfielder on ESPN's most dropped list.

[+] EnlargeDarin Mastroianni
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsSpeedy Darin Mastroianni once posted a 70-steal season in the minors (in 2009).
For now, fantasy owners in deeper formats should get reacquainted with speedster Darin Mastroianni, who stole 21 bases last season despite getting only 186 plate appearances. He has been hobbled by a bruised ankle suffered when he fouled a ball off it weeks ago, and hasn't batted in a game this month, though he has been used as the left field defensive replacement for Josh Willingham. It's hard to believe the Twins will keep sending Hicks out there regularly unless he starts hitting. He's not a proven veteran; he's a kid who hasn't played above Double-A and is likely losing confidence. Mastroianni is more of an organizational player and brings little upside, but when healthy he'll certainly run, and that's enough for some fantasy owners.

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