After hitting .286 with 36 HR, 108 RBI and 106 R in 2009, there was little doubt that Aaron Hill was going to take a step backwards in 2010. Not that his numbers were overly unbelievable, it’s just from a second baseman it is nearly impossible to replicate that type of a season. Those are elite numbers. Those are Hall of Fame type numbers.
However, what fantasy owners got in 2010 was a complete disaster. He didn’t just regress, he fell off a cliff. Just look at the numbers and see for yourself:
528 At Bats
.205 Batting Average (108 Hits)
26 Home Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.271 On Base Percentage
.394 Slugging Percentage
.196 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously, the BABIP was an unbelievably unlucky number. That’s just not supposed to happen. To say that it’s a new standard of bad luck would actually be an understatement. I researched back to 1995 and no other hitter in that time has posted a BABIP below .220.
Just let that set in for a second. No other hitter has posted a season with a BABIP since 1995. Aaron Hill posted a mark under .200.
It’s just not possible to be that unlucky, is it?
Part of the problem may have been that he went homer happy. After going on a home run fest of his own in 2009 and seeing his teammates (most notably Jose Bautista) get a ton of attention for hitting the long ball, Hill’s fly ball rate took an enormous leap:
- 2009 – 41.0%
- 2010 – 54.2%
Clearly, he was trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark, at it came at the expense of his line drive rate:
- 2009 – 19.6%
- 2010 – 10.6%
When you hit the ball in the air, and not on a line drive, your chances of having bad luck increase exponentially. It’s easier for a fielder to make a play on a ball in the air, as they have time to make a play.
While you would expect him to be luckier then he was, it really didn’t matter. With that type of fly ball rate, unless he was going to hit 40 HR, his average was going to suffer.
In turn, the doubles also disappeared. One of the reasons many people thought a 2009 breakout was possible was that in 2007 (remember, he missed a great deal of the 2008 season), he posted 47 doubles. Even in 2009 he was hitting two-baggers, as he had 37.
In 2010 he had just 22.
Hopefully he goes to the film this offseason and realizes what he was doing and makes the necessary corrections. That’s the only chance he has if he wants to become one of the more productive middle infielders in the game once again.
Could it happen? Absolutely. Will it? It’s too early to tell. I certainly wouldn’t use an early round pick on him, but with the talent we all know he has, it’s certainly worth taking the flyer if other people are scared off.
What are your thoughts on Hill? Will he rebound in 2011? Would you consider using him?
Make sure to check out our 2011 projections: