Aaron Hill has had an enjoyable week. He has been the talk of the Waste Management Open Tournament with none of it relating to his golfing. Teammates Eric Chavez, Josh Collmenter, Charles Brewer and Patrick Corbin have each sported fatheads of their buddy, following his every move on the course. Let’s hope these good feelings carry over to the baseball diamond.
How 2013 went: Coming off an outstanding 2012 in which he won the Silver Slugger Award, Hill was primed for another big year. However, that stalled quickly when he was hit on the hand during an April 9th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Originally thought to be minor, the hand turned out to be broken, forcing Hill to miss over two months of playing time. When he returned on June 25th, he didn’t miss a beat and finished the season strongly. In 327 at-bats, Hill hit 11 home runs and drove in 41 with a slash line of .291/.356/.462, numbers that if you spread them out over a full season were only slightly off from his prior year’s output.
Outlook for 2014: Getting 600 at-bats from the 31-year old Hill will no doubt energize the rest of the lineup. It will be interesting to see where Kirk Gibson decides to put his second baseman in the batting order. My preference would be fifth behind Mark Trumbo. He would also be an ideal #2 hitter but I think that is a better spot for Martin Prado. Either way, while we probably won’t see 36 HR’s and 108 RBI’s like 2009, it is not unreasonable to expect a campaign on par with 2012. I am confident that by the end of 2014, we will once again be mentioning Aaron Hill as one of the premier second basemen in all of baseball.