Monday, March 8, 2010

God of Walks


By
Move over Kevin Youkilis, there's a new Greek God of walks - and his name is Aaron Hill.

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.

6 comments:

  1. Aw, man. Why'd you go the hacky "because it tires out the pitcher" route instead of just saying "because not getting out it good"? I'm disappointed in you, man.

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  2. It was either that or "the pitcher doesn't want to put Hill on base because Lind is on deck and has the potential to score two runs instead of one".

    I'm just happy to see that Hill isn't hacking away at the first pitch!

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  3. I love seeing a player get better year after year. Hill exemplifies this trait. Maybe he does better than last year?

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  4. Mattt, I guess it all depends on what your definition of a better player is.

    Obviously, Hill is going to have a tough time matching his RBI and HR totals from last year, but he has the potential to become a better all around player by increasing his on-base percentage.

    If Hill can do that, it will make him an even bigger threat. Just take Pujols for example - 9 out of 10 seasons he has posted an OBP of above .400. Pujols draws walks and still rakes, so it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

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  5. Aaron Hill, in order to stay ahead of the curve, must display a greater deal of patience at the plate.

    I think he gets it, and will post something like .300/.350/.500/.850, 25 HR, 50 2B

    Believe it.

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  6. I would say it's not unreasonable to expect somewhere in the neighbourhood of those numbers - maybe not as many HR's, but anything is possible!

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