Monday, March 8, 2010
God of Walks
By Ian Hunter
I know he's only played in four Spring Training games, but could Hill be reinventing himself as an on-base percentage titan? All signs are pointing to yes, as he currently holds a .909 OBP thanks in part to a .800 batting average and six walks.
It's apparent that Aaron Hill is very conscious this spring about being patient at the plate - almost the exact opposite of his strategy last season, which was swing away early in the count.
Hitting in the two slot, it's advantageous for Hill to work the count for two reasons: one, by wearing down the pitcher in his at bat, that leaves the door wide open for Adam Lind to capitalize on mistakes made by a tired pitcher in the following at bat.
Secondly, with Hill's reputation of swinging early in the count, pitchers are more likely to start him off out of the zone rather than throw the typical first pitch fastball down the heart of the plate.
Also, the added pressure with Lind in the on-deck circle is bound to work in Hill's favour - so he can either see the pitch he wants, or draw a base on balls.
Either way, it's already paying dividends for Hill this Spring Trainingwith his new approach at the plate. Let's hope that it carries over into the regular season, and possibly in the new future he'll have the honour of being known as the new Greek God of Walks - the Great Hilles.