Tuesday, May 24, 2016


There is ridiculous and then there is what is going on right now with Oakland A's lefty starter Rich Hill.  After dominating yet again during his start Monday night, Hill now sits with an ace-like 2.18 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 65 batters in 57.2 innings pitched.  At the advanced age of 36, Hill seems primed to engineer one of the best comeback seasons in quite some time and his early production mirrors the splendid four-start run with the Boston Red Sox last September when he pitched to a 1.55 ERA and rocked an 11.17 K/9 rate.  So what do we make of all this?  Why was Hill almost out of baseball the last few seasons before his comeback with Boston and can we believe what we are seeing here?  Let's take a look.

Right now there is no denying the fact that Hill is as locked in as a starter can get.  What is key here is that Hill's always strong curveball has unleashed a ton of trouble on opposing hitters and has been the main weapon that has garnered so many strikeouts.  Such a good curveball like Hill has no doubt has surprised opposing hitters and then are having a tough time getting a read on the spin and trajectory.  Hence the 11.17 K/9 last season and his current 10.14 mark in 2016.  Even more impressive is that Hill has given up just 43 hits in his 57.2 innings which again mirrors the low hit rate he showed for Boston last season.  The fact we are into a second season of this and are almost into June of 2016 lessens the fluke factor here and adds legitimacy to what Hill is accomplishing.  Truth be told, many forget that Hill has always been a high K guy going back to his Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles days.  What used to undermine Hill in the past was shoddy control which got downright hideous at times.  Now this season Hill is still dealing with his career-long troubles on that front as his elevated 3.28 BB/9 shows but he is limiting damage with a tiny HR/9 of 0.31 and the low hit rate.  As a result, Hill's walks are not coming around to score and his strikeouts are further making it very tough to score on him.  Bottom line is that until fatigue sets in during the summer due to the fact Hill has not pitched a high number of innings the last few seasons, he seems quite safe to continue producing very good outings like he has.  Dominant outings we should say.  All in all, Hill right now is right there as one of the very best values in all of fantasy baseball as the numbers tell it all.  What a story this is. 


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