Brandon Ryan Hicks
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
- School Texas A&M University, San Jacinto College
- High School Sam Rayburn High School
- Debut May 5, 2010
Brandon Hicks made his MLB debut in 2010.
Hicks came to Texas A&M as a junior college transfer in 2007. He hit .338 with 75 runs and 28 steals that year while helping the team finish 12th in NCAA Division I. The Atlanta Braves chose the shortstop in the 3rd round of the 2007 amateur draft, the second collegian they picked that year after Josh Fields.
Hicks was signed by scout John Barron and split his first pro summer between the Danville Braves (.224/.370/.466 in 18 G) and Rome Braves (.313/.433/.492 in 37 G). He then hit .188 for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America rated him the #8 prospect in the Appalachian League, right behind fellow shortstop Pete Kozma and just ahead of Steve Evarts, a teammate.
In 2008, Brandon bounced between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (.248/.361/.428, 29 2B, 16 HR, 81 R, 78 RBI, 77 BB, 17 SB, 8 CS) and Mississippi Braves (.241/.333/.389 in 16 G). Overall, he was 4th among Atlanta minor leaguers with 20 homers, 6 behind leader Cody Johnson. He was named to the Carolina League All-Star team as the circuit's top shortstop, joining Beau Mills, Jim Negrych, Travis Jones and Niuman Romero as the infielders selected. Baseball America ranked him as the #13 Carolina League prospect (between Tyler Flowers and Brandon Allen) and the best defensive shortstop in the league.
Hicks spent 2009 with Mississippi and hit .237/.319/.373 with 17 SB in 18 tries. Baseball America ranked him as the Best Defensive infielder and the Best Infield Arm in the Atlanta minor league chain and as the Braves' #18 prospect. He hit .310 for the Peoria Saguaros in the AFL that year.
The Houston native began 2010 with the Gwinnett Braves and did nothing impressive at the plate - .179/.258/.262 with 21 strikeouts in 84 AB - in his first 25 games. He was then called up to replace the injured Yunel Escobar in Atlanta. He improved slightly, to .211/.280/.33 with 20 errors in 77 games, after completing his first major league stint.
Hicks debuted in the majors as a pinch-runner for Troy Glaus in the 10th inning of a 6-6 game on May 5, 2010; he wound up scoring from second base on a Matt Diaz single. His next appearance was also as a pinch-runner. His first at-bat came on May 7th; pinch-hitting for Derek Lowe, he struck out against 47-year-old Jamie Moyer the day Moyer became the oldest major leaguer to throw a shutout. he went 0 for 5 in 16 games for the Braves that season, but managed to score 7 runs due to his frequent use as a pinch-runner. He played another 17 games for Atlanta in 2011, but was only 1 for 21 at the plate, for a combined .038 average in his first two major league seasons. His only MLB hit in that span came May 1, a pinch-hit single off Jaime Garcia to score Joe Mather. He had hit .252/.333/.446 in 104 games while slugging 18 homers for the Gwinnett Braves when not in Atlanta.
During spring training in 2012, Hicks was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics. He played 65 games with the AAA Sacramento RiverCats, hitting .272/.374/.548 with 21 doubles and 13 homers. He was called up by the A's at the end of June, and while he hit his first big league extra-base hit - a double - in his first game on June 23rd, he continued to struggle at the plate, picking up only 5 hits in his first 34 at-bats. On July 18th, his bat made him a a hero, though. After having entered the contest against the Texas Rangers as a pinch-runner, he hit a walk-off home run off Michael Kirkman in the bottom of the 9th to give the A's a 4-3 win; it was his first major league homer.