The Mockingbird

Aaron Hill is Ridiculously Underrated

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You draft an infielder in the first round. He soars through the minor leagues. Rushed into the big show due to injuries, he tears up the league and then comes back to earth with a respectable .274 average. You jerk him around the next year, tell him to learn a position he has never played, and he responds with some of the best defence in the major leagues and a .291 average instead of the dreaded sophmore slump. He hits 28 doubles, steals and HR’s half a dozen in his first full season. What do normal baseball towns do? Pencil him in for the next decade. Name streets after him. Prepare for him to bloom into an all-star with feverish anticipation.

What do we do? Call our infield triangle the “weakest among AL contenders“; rank it next to the bottom and declare it’s why we “cannot and will not compete“. Caveat every single defensive play on he makes on TV and radio with “well, he’s no Orlando Hudson, but…”; Attempt to sign Adam “really not much better than average” Kennedy.

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No, he’s not going to hit .400 or the 35 HR’s he’s projected to this season. And the O-dog is still a better defender. But the kid is 25, a legit .300 hitter, is making fantastic plays at second and only getting better and developing power. We are paying him a measly 400 grand right now and he gets zero attention even though he’s a rising star because apparently middle infielders these days have to hit jacks. In hopes and recognition that he continues to be the rock we need up the middle (and in a premptive apology for him getting jerked back to SS next year), I tip my hat to you, Mr. Hill, Sir.

Written by halejon

April 13, 2007 at 4:00 am

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  1. Great post. Since I first got my first glimpse of Hill in 2005, he’s always reminded me of one man:

    (I searched around for a comparable picture of Hill, but no such luck)

    That quick, powerful, level compact swing. Excellent control of the strike zone, good OPB, long ABs, and deceptive power if a pitcher makes a mistake. I don’t think that Aaron will match Paul’s pure hitting talent, or great speed (and increidble knack of getting base – a 400+ OBP is a lot to ask a kid) – but, I fully think that he has the potential to be a much better fielder (potential gold glover) and an absolutely fantastic extra-bases guy. And who isn’t itching to make a carrer of hitting the gaps at the ol’ Dome?

    Orlando who? Well, Orlando did have a great season in AZ last year, getting on at a clip that I never though possible – but I digress.

    Now if you look at their stats head-to head, I don’t think its too much of a stretch:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/molitpa01.shtml
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hillaa01.shtml

    Paul is definitely from another era, (if anyone hits 16 triples on the Jays – I’ll print up this post and eat it) but I think Hill can definitely hold his own with one of the best.

    As for his “husband” – Russ Adams, I’m ok with him being AAAA. The Jays chose two college SS, with similar numbers and celings – and if you’re batting .500, with one becoming an excellent everyday player, with a great future and high celing with the Jays – the other mired in the league’s worst SS scrap heap. That’s baseball.

    What we really should be asking is – wtf happened to Jason Arnold? His busted arm is all that’s left of our last good SS.

    Dan

    April 13, 2007 at 3:28 pm


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