Arizona Diamondbacks 2015 Review: Aaron Hill
By Thomas Lynch
Going into the 2015 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked ten-year veteran Aaron Hill to do something he hadn’t done in his Major League career: become a utility player. With Jake Lamb the everyday third baseman and Chris Owings occupying second base, Hill was asked to back up both positions. For most of the season, he did not seem all that comfortable in that role. However, he gradually accepted his new lot in his baseball life and though the overall numbers do not bear it out, Hill grew more comfortable and had an acceptable finish to what was mostly a disappointing year.
After starting out slowly, Hill enjoyed his best statistical month in May, batting .292 with three home runs and ten RBI’s. He received some extra playing time when Jake Lamb went on the disabled list with a foot injury. After the trade deadline passed, he seemed to have settled and/or accepted a backup role and produced 20 hits in August, his most in any one month. Despite the D-backs losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 15 innings on August 18th, Hill raised his overall batting average six points by going three for seven with three runs scored. Despite a .171 batting average against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he managed to crack three of his six home runs against them.
Hill had a very hard time adjusting to his new role. In fact, when told he was going to be a part-time player in Spring Training, Hill had reportedly asked the D-backs to explore trade options for him. In addition to April, June and July were very tough months for Hill has he hit under .200 during that time frame. Because of the reduced playing time, he statistically had one of the worse years for his career with only six home runs, 39 RBI’s, a batting average of .230 and an on-base percentage of .295.
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The uptick in his August numbers could be a direct result of Hill relaxing after going through the stress of trade rumors. He admitted as such in the article referenced in the previous paragraph. With a $12 million dollar contract for 2016, it would be very hard to deal the 33-year old Hill. However, both he and management have expressed a mutual desire to continue their relationship for 2016. As long as Aaron Hill is comfortable in a backup role in 2016, the Arizona Diamondbacks will see an increased offensive output as they hope to make a playoff run.