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Mark DeRosa Discusses the Evolution of Rich Hill on MLB Central



Rich Hill’s career falls well outside the realm of any ordinary Major League career. From playing for nine separate big league organizations to over ten separate times on the disabled list to a stint in independant ball, no one would have predicted that 38-year-old Rich Hill would be pitching towards the top of the Dodgers rotation. His former Cubs teammate, Mark DeRosa broke down the evolution of Hill on MLB Central.

The Career

DeRosa played with Hill in Chicago between 2007-08. At that point, Hill was a pitcher in his late-20s, beginning to crack his way into the Cubs rotation. In that part of his career, Hill was praised for his devastating curveball, but he struggled with both control and with allowing runners to steal bases off of him.

Major League Stats

Year Team W-L Record Games Started Innings Pitched Walks Strikeouts ERA ERA+
2005-08 CHC 18-17 57 337.2 137 309 4.37 106
2009-14 BAL, BOS, CLE, LAA, NYY 6-5 13 133.1 90 142 5.60 77
2015-18 BOS, OAK, LAD 31-18 64 354.2 117 417 2.87  144

Hill began changing his delivery to improve his command. He still struggled with his control and the Cubs traded Hill before the 2009 season.

From 2009-15, Hill bounced around, playing for six separate teams and moving into a role as a reliever. During this period, Hill also dealt with the loss of his infant son, who was less than two months old, and a stint in an independent league. Hill’s experience with the independent team, the Long Island Ducks, came more out of necessity, than actual personal choice. After the Nationals released Hill in June 2015, he did not field any offers from a Major League ballclub.

Independant ball may have been the greatest blessing for Hill. He made just two starts for the Ducks, pitching 11 scoreless innings and striking out 21 batters.

He then signed with the Red Sox, going 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA. Based on that success, Hill signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Athletics before the 2016 season and was traded midseason to the Dodgers.

Jul 17, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill (18) pitches the ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The following year, entering his age 37 season, Hill was one of the most highly coveted pitchers in the free agent market. He re-signed with Los Angeles on a three-year, $48 million deal.

Hill made 25 starts in 2017, which was the most starts for Hill in a season since 2007. He pitched in the middle of the Dodgers rotation and made two starts in the World Series that year.

Analysis

While Hill has struggled to stay healthy, he has been one of the most dominant pitchers when he is on the mound. In his last four starts, Hill is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA. He has overcome injuries, personal loss and changes in environments to become one of the top pitchers in the league on one of the best teams in the sport. While he had so many reasons to call it quits in the past, Hill does not appear to be stopping anytime soon.

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Written by Arthur Cribbs

Arthur Cribbs is a journalism student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is a lifelong Dodgers fan and when he is not at school, he resides in Los Angeles.

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