Aaron Hill and You
By Chris Hannum
The most likely scenario for Aaron Hill seems to be that he quickly resigns with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who acquired him in trade from the Blue Jays during the 2011 season. They are said to have an offer on the table with a deadline, no word as to what the terms of the deal involve. Of course, if Hill turns them down to seek more dollars or more years elsewhere then anything could happen.
It’s no mystery that the Tigers are in dire need of an upgrade at second base and with Kelly Johnson requiring a draft pick in compensation (and Jamey Carroll the same age as Magglio Ordonez) Aaron Hill might be the best available second-sacker on the free agent market.
That’s not saying all that much, unfortunately. In 2009 Hill was a star, with 36 home runs and an .829 OPS at a position of scarcity. He has a plus glove overall and he’s only 29 years old. However, Hill has had two distinct kinds of collapse since then. While he is no BABIP machine (like, say, Austin Jackson) his career number is close to average. In 2010, however, it was an amazingly low .196 – giving Hill a mere 1.2 WAR despite the glove and 26 bombs. In 2011 his BABIP rebounded to a still-poor .268 but his HR/FB rate plummeted to a mere 4.2% – giving aggregate production good for only 0.8 WAR (again despite the glove and a career-high 21 steals).
Of all the peripheral stats you could dig up, BABIP and HR/FB% are the two most likely to massively diverge from a players true talent in any given year and most likely to mean-revert. So Aaron Hill is definitely a risky pickup but one with a very high ceiling. Of course, even if he did he would still be somewhat of a poor fit for Detroit. The Tigers definitely need a second baseman that can hit better than Danny Worth but field the position better than Ryan Raburn and Hill is that. But the Tigers also need left-handed bats (Hill is a righty) and guys to set the table at the top of the order. Hill – if he’s hitting at all – has a mediocre OBP but power to spare, profiling like a Raburn, Young or younger Inge.
So the question I pose to you is this: How excited or unexcited would you be about an offer to Aaron Hill?