Throughout the next few weeks I’ll be providing my rankings among who I believe will be the eight position starters for the Diamondbacks.
Here’s where we’re at now:
#8 – Ryan Roberts – 3B
#7 – Aaron Hill – 2B
This past offseason, the D-Backs resigned Aaron Hill who likely would have entered the market as the top free agent second baseman. That moniker is really more a testiment to the weak market for second basemen than to Aaron Hill’s overall value. While Hill has had more overall success during his career than several of the Diamondbacks other starters, he’s a full two seasons removed from his breakout 2009 in Toronto. In 2009 Hill hit .286 with 108 RBI and 36 HR. However, it’s starting to look like 2009 was an aberation rather than the norm for the 29 year old Hill as he’s battled hamstring injuries and declining production the past two seasons.
While he’s definitely still a top tier second baseman, it’s merely in comparison to the lack of productivity from his peers at the position. Perhaps Hill’s brief appearance in 2011 with the Diamondbacks–.315 in 124 ABs with an .878 OPS–is a sign that he is ready to revive his career and prove that 2009 wasn’t a fluke. But while he hit for average with the D-Backs, his power and production numbers were still down in his abbreviated appearance in the NL last season. Hill only hit 2 HRs and had 15 RBI over those 124 ABs.
Despite my seemingly cold reception of him, there is a lot to like about Hill. He is signed to an extremely affordable contract (2 years $11 million), he’s coming off a career high 21 stolen bases in 2011, he won’t hurt you in the field and he’s still young enough to revive his career. Hill’s potential benefits outweigh his negatives but when ranking the current D-Backs starters he comes in at the lower end of the list due
to the potential or continued success of his fellow starting D-Backs. However, Hill’s brief appearance with the D-Backs in 2011 gives fans hope that he can return to the player he once was.
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