FORT MYERS, Fla. (WCCO) — Unlike the NFL or the NBA, No. 1 draft choices in Major League Baseball often spend years in the minors before getting a shot at the majors.

As an 18-year-old high school kid out of Long Beach, Calif., switch-hitting Aaron Hicks was selected first in 2008.

This spring, he’s been asked to make the jump from AA to starting center fielder, following in the proud tradition set by Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter and Denard Span.

“My favorite player is Torii Hunter, and the guy he taught was Span, so it definitely meant a lot when Span was showing me the ropes,” Hicks said. “It’s a great group of outfielders started by Kirby.”

Hicks is also very capable of producing hits. He has plenty of power for a lead-off man, and has refined his swing to try and enable the likes of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Josh Willingham to drive him in.

“I’m trying to not bring too much attention to myself,” Hicks said. “I’m glad to be here.”