The Blue Jays’ second baseman broke out in 2007 at the age of 25, cracking 17 homers and 47 doubles while posting a .792 OPS, not bad for a middle infielder. A nasty concussion took a toll in 2008, but he looks to be back on track this season, banging out 23 hits in only 14 games. Four homers and a .365/.388/.603 line are very nice things to see out of your second baseman.
What do we know about Hill? Well, prior to 2007 he looked like a solid contact hitter but little else. Then he simply started swinging more, and started swinging with more authority. He struck out a good deal more in 2007, but that was more than countered by a big spike in power. That looks to be the approach he is sticking with, as he hasn’t really developed much in the way of patience at the plate, but he has been able to get on base just by hitting the ball well.
But while he can hit, Hill’s power is rather limited. He hasn’t hit one past the 380 mark this season, and only hit a handful over 400 feet in 2007. Not that you have to be able to hit a ball 400 feet, but the only way a right-handed pull hitter with limited power gets 20 homers is if he hits in Fenway, like a certain 2008 MVP winner.
Luckily for Hill owners, he should be quite productive without prodigious power. Jays skipper Cito Gaston likes hitting him in the two-hole, which will lead to a good amount of runs and RBIs. It’s not out of line to expect 90 or more runs scored, and 70-plus RBIs is within reason given the depth of the Toronto lineup.
All that considered, it looks like we will be seeing the Aaron Hill of 2007 again, and hopefully for years to come. Those who drafted him should give themselves a pat on the back. He’ll never be ranked alongside Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler but he is really not far off from Dustin Pedroia minus a few steals. Needless to say he will not keep his current pace up all season, but he is flashing the skills that made him fantasy gold a couple years ago.
This article also appears on Fantasy Phenoms - be sure to take a look as they will help you pummel your opponent into submission week after week.