From unemployable at age 35 to big league ace by 36, Rich Hill defies all odds
Thirty-six-year-old Rich Hill, who had bounced around for years mostly as a reliever, had control problems, suffered a personal tragedy, underwent two surgeries and then, while playing independent ball, decided to reinvent himself back into a starter, he has been much more than impressive since his return to the majors.
Rich Hill returned to the majors last season to make four incredible starts as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Hill impressed the Athletics and almost every other club in the league enough to sign him. He made the decision to sign with Oakland because they were the one team that would give him a chance to start, regardless of what he did or did not do during spring training. Hill would have his spot on the Opening Day roster.
Thus far the A’s have seen nothing but Hill’s upside and have been reaping all the rewards whenever he starts. He’s been so good that he has been the rock of the A’s struggling, injury-ridden rotation putting up numbers so good that he’s become the team’s ace.
The numbers? Entering Friday’s action Hill is 7-3 with an American League-leading 2.18 ERA, a not-far-off 2.74 FIP, more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and 3.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his most recent start against the Seattle Mariners, he held them scoreless through eight innings, striking out six and did not allow a walk.
For more on Hill, his dominance and the adjustments he made to go from having no control to being a strikeout machine, you can read the rest of my column on the FRSN’s Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below: