After struggling at the plate in his first few major league seasons, Aaron Hicks seemed to break out in 2017. The switch-hitting outfielder went to the injured list a few times due to oblique issues and only got into 88 games, but he hit 15 home runs and stole 10 bases. He also drew walks in 14.1% of his plate appearances, well beyond that year’s 8.5% league average. His .266/.372/.475 batting line led to a 128 wRC+, indicating he was 28% better than the league average hitter. His defense was also graded well, allowing him to produce 2.7 wins above replacement per the calculations of FanGraphs, despite playing barely half a season.

The next year, he stayed healthy enough to get into 137 games and largely repeated his results over a larger sample. He launched 27 homers, swiped 11 bags and walked in 15.5% of his trips to the plate. His .248/.366/.467 batting line led to a 129 wRC+ and 4.3 fWAR. The Yankees felt they had a well-rounded player that was worth locking up, agreeing to give Hicks a seven-year, $70MM extension with a club option for 2026.

Things have been up-and-down for Hicks in the four seasons since that extension was signed, however. In 2019, he made multiple trips to the injured list and only got into 59 games. When healthy enough to play, his offensive output was diminished though still above average, as he finished the season with a 103 wRC+. He bounced right back in the shortened 2020 campaign, getting into 54 of the club’s 60 games. He only hit six home runs but he walked in 19.4% of his plate appearances, producing a slash line of .225/.379/.414 and a 124 wRC+. 2021 was another low point, however, as a wrist injury limited him to 32 games of poor production before surgery in May that he wasn’t able to return from.

2022 was the first time Hicks was healthy over a full season since that excellent 2018 campaign, though he wasn’t able to properly return to form, hitting just eight home runs in 130 games. He still walked at a healthy 13.7% clip and stole 10 bases, but his overall production was down. His .216/.330/.313 line amounted to a wRC+ of 90. He also lost the center field job, as the Yanks frequently ran Aaron Judge out there instead and acquired Harrison Bader at the trade deadline even though Bader was injured at the time and wouldn’t be able to take the spot until mid-September. Hicks’ work in left field was graded well which, along with his speed, still allowed him to tally 1.5 fWAR on the year. That’s not disastrous but it was a far cry from his previous form.