Minnesota Twins rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks has been one of the league's defensive standouts during the first half of the 2013 season.
Among the highlights already on his reel, a leaping grab to rob Adam Dunn of a sure home run — he hit two of his own in the same game — and another home run-robbing grab in Milwaukee that left Aramis Ramirez in awe. That's an impressive beginning to his résumé. On Friday night in New York, he would add to it. Only this time he didn't need his glove, and he also kept his feet planted on the ground.
On this play, all Aaron Hicks needed was his cannon of a right arm, a little momentum and a baserunner willing to challenge him. Unfortunately for Vernon Wells, he was that challenger as he attempted to stretch a double into triple, and he was also the victim as Hicks uncorked an incredible throw from deep center field that was right on the money and right into the glove of third baseman Trevor Plouffe without a bounce, allowing him to easily apply the tag.
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By many estimates, it was at least a 250-foot throw on the fly. And to be perfectly honest, it was one of the best throws I've seen in a long, long time. The only way for me to put it in perspective is to compare it to the two remarkable throws Rick Ankiel once made in a game against the Colorado Rockies back in 2008.
Willy Taveras was the first victim, so Rockies play-by-play man Drew Goodman was correct in stating he was one of the fastest players in the game. Omar Quintanilla was the second.
All things considered, including the wet field conditions in New York on Friday night, I'd have to rate Hicks' throw comfortably ahead of Ankiel's first assist. But as far as I'm concerned, Ankiel's second assist is still the best throw I've seen in game action. He just gripped it and ripped it and it was pure money. That takes nothing away from Hicks. of course. His throw was brilliant and falls right in line with the best we've seen from Jose Guillen, Jeff Francoeur or Ichiro, but I'm sticking with Ankiel in the No. 1. position.
If there's a great throw you think I'm overlooking for that spot, by all means fire away in the comments. For now, I'm all Ankiel.
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