Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rich Hill

Last year in the majors, Rich Hill struck out 90 batters and walked 39 in 99.1 innings. In large part due to allowing 16 home runs, his ERA was a somewhat mediocre 4.17. In a recent mock draft at Rotojunkie he was selected with the 174th pick...probably about right if was to repeat that quality of performance, but over a full season.

However, I think that barring injury, a repeat performance is a worst case for Hill. For years he was a dominant, but wild minor league pitcher. Adjusted for the level of competition, his stats looked something like Daniel Cabrera (who I always use as an example of dominant, but wild, and ineffective). But in 2005, Hill figured things out and at three stops in the minor leagues he struck out a combined 194, while walking only 35 in 131.2 innings. He struggled in a short stay in the majors late in the year, and began 2006 at AAA. He was even better than the previous year, as he struck out 135 and walked only 21 in exactly 100 innings. He only allowed 3 home runs at AAA.

Hill's performance the past two years in the minor leagues leads me to believe that his ceiling is quite a bit higher than his major leaue performance to date would indicate. I think he's got the potential to be a top starting pitcher. The only thing limiting him is that he's been an extreme fly ball pitcher so far in the majors, which means that his 16 home runs allowed in Chicago is probably a better indicator of his future than the 3 home runs allowed at AAA. Regardless I think he deserves to be picked a lot higher than #174, especially in 5X5 drafts.

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