Saturday, January 31, 2015

Prospect Spotlight: Derek Hill

With Spring Training about two weeks away we are starting to see lists come out of the top prospects for baseball and for each team. I don't think it shocks many people that Detroit has ranked pretty much last for their overall farm system. Dombrowski has no problem trading prospects for major league talent. The one debate that is going on between Tigers fans is who is the number one prospect for the Tigers. Before the Devon Travis for Anthony Gose trade it could really come down to a three way battle for this spot. Now with Travis gone the battle is between Steven Moya and Derek Hill.

Derek Hill was drafted in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2014 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He was drafted out of Elk Groove High School in California as a centerfielder. He is the son of Orsino Hill who was a career minor leaguer and also is a scout for the L.A. Dodgers. Derek is still young having just turned 19 years old on 12/30.

On the field Hill is best known for his defense and his speed. Both could eventually be plus-plus for him. His speed allows him to be a threat on the base paths and also helps him take extra bases. With his speed it helps him on the defensive side. It allows him to get to a lot more balls on either side of him. He also gets a pretty good read off of the bat to track down fly balls. His arm isn't bad but does need some work  on his mechanics. Being only 19 he has the time to improve his mechanics. He has the the ability to be a potential gold glove winner.

With the bat he has shown he can drive the ball to all fields with gap power. As he ages he will add more power to the bat. He still doesn't project as a power guy, but someone who can give you 12-15 home runs a year.  His downside is from him expanding the strike zone and not being able to recognize pitches..

In his first year in professional baseball Hill struggled in the rookie league and low A ball. He hit .208/.296./.295 in 47 games. He did have two home runs and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. His walks weren't bad with having 18, but he did strikeout 45 times. He was shutdown due to a back injury also last year.

Derek Hill has a long ways to go before he makes the majors. I believe his ETA is not until 2019 at the earliest. He could eventually be a gold glove winning centerfielder who is also a lead off guy for the Tigers. Only time will time will tell with someone as young as Hill.

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