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Cord cutters dilema

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:17 PM
With the season fast approaching, what is the best way to watch Twins Baseball as a cord cutter? For the past several years, I've been us...
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Player Opt-outs

Other Baseball Yesterday, 01:56 PM
While we think about if a season happens or not.I started thinking about the opt out clauses by players, and what they will do.I tried to...
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Spring Training 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 12:02 PM
No matter what kind of patch work 2020 season MLB comes up with, if anything at this point, it will amount to no more than a glorified pr...
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Watch the Live Play-by-Play of the Virtual Twins Playoffs

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:19 AM
With the real Twins around the corner, I have elected to sim to the playoffs to try and tease how the real club will do this fall, and as...
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Charley Walters: Twins-Saints partnership talks quietly o...

Twins Minor League Talk 13 Jul 2020
Very interesting article in Pioneer Press from Charlie Walters. https://www.twinciti...uietly-ongoing/ There’s been a few suggestions in...
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Do Injuries Really Faze Rich Hill?

Everyone knew the Minnesota Twins were looking for starting pitching. Their goal was an impact arm, and they very well may have found that in a guy who hasn’t posted an ERA above 4.00 since 2014. The caveat? He’s a 40-year-old coming off injury. Rich Hill is just different though, right?
Image courtesy of © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s the thing, Rich Hill is not your average 40-year-old. Not only does he have a laugh-inducing nickname, but this isn’t his first rodeo. Over the course of his whole career, he’s pitched north of 130 innings just three times (twice coming since 2017) and has been under 60 innings in nine of his 15 big league seasons. Obviously, durability is not his forte, but it’s made up for significantly in terms of ability.

Pitching 58.2 innings last season for the Dodgers, Hill tallied a 2.45 ERA (although he did have a 4.10 FIP) and 11.0 K/9. He’s pitched 53 career innings in the Postseason and owns a 3.06 ERA across that stretch. With the Twins angling for a World Series, his three appearances on the grandest stage should also come in handy.

So, there’s lot of great results when he’s on the mound, but how do you project a guy of his age coming off a surgery on his throwing elbow? He’s slowly moving through his throwing program, and he’s yet to progress time on a mound. Expected back sometime over the summer, there’s plenty of variables yet to play out. The track record can certainly give us some indications, however.

The last time Hill missed substantial time was in the 2015 season pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He made just four starts tallying 29 total innings before hitting the shelf. Returning in 2016 for the Oakland Athletics, he posted a 2.25 ERA across 17 starts (76.0 IP) with a 10.7 K/9 before being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers and putting up even better results.

From his time with the Red Sox all the way back to his debut in 2005, Hill accounted for exactly 500 innings. Rather than generating a total that healthy pitchers would reach in three seasons, Hill spanned a decade. Since shaking those substantial ailments Hill has average 109 innings per season and owns a 3.00 ERA across 83 games (82 starts).

Attempting to be predictive of the human body, especially from my seat, isn’t anything that I’ll tie a certainty to. What we can see is that Rich Hill has been through this process tirelessly, has performed at his highest-level post injury, and has dealt with similar elbow issues before.

Attached Image: Capture.PNG

Throwing his fastball an average of just 90.6 mph, Hill’s ability revolves around the spin he generates on the baseball. He avoids hard hit rates because the ball dances around the bats of opposing hitters. Baseball Savant illustrates a very pretty description of how he makes it work, and very few of those inputs are traditionally tied to significant arm stress.

In short, if there’s a type of pitcher that you’d bet on coming back from injury and dominating, Rich Hill is probably the poster child. He’s got very little tread wear on his arm, he’s been through this all before, and the way he attacks should be outside of the realm typically diminished by procedures. Sure, the Twins won’t have him out of the gate, but if he can through 70 innings down the stretch and in October at a level he’s proven accustomed to, this is as good of a get as anyone.

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4 Comments

I thought Hill was in the minors in 2015 and came up for 6 starts at the end of the season...
Hill may do nothing this season.

There is also a very good chance he does something pretty darn good on a partial/half season basis, as has been most of his career norm.

From the day he was signed I've dismissed any sort of June return to the mound. I have always felt he was a secret weapon/second half addition. And unless things blow up, that's what he should be.

Pineda comes back in May. Bailey has a chance to at least be solid. Chacin would have gotten 2-3yrs and $10-15M if he had been a FA following 2018. Thorpe's recent leave of absence hurts, but isn't decimating. Dobnak and Smeltzer are still here and ready to compete.

All I wish and hope for in regard to Hill is to be a hired gunslinger who bides his time and rides in to town sometime in July. He twirls his gun...errr...stuff, for about 10-12 starts and holds a spot for the playoffs and helps mow down the opposition with his accurate bullets. And then he rides off in to the sunset having helped the good guys win the day against the railroad/land baron/disreputable cattle rancher/Yankees that are all evil.

That's why he was signed.
    • woolywoolhouse, JLease and Melissa like this
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Doctor Gast
Feb 28 2020 09:30 AM

Hopefully there`s no rush getting him back, as long as he`s stretched out before Oct.

I wonder if his spin rate has anything to do with pine tar like Bauer was saying?? Hope not, because I'm sure everyone will be under a ton of scrutiny this year.

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