Aaron Hill: Fantasy or Reality?
If Aaron Hill isn't already on your fantasy roster, there's almost zero chance you can add him now. He was either picked up weeks ago or as soon as someone in your league saw the highlights from Friday night.
Performing more like your created player in MLB The Show than a mortal human second baseman these past few weeks, Hill hit for the cycle against the Brewers—the second time he hit for the cycle in 12 days. (The first time was against the Mariners.)
Never mind the fact that only one other guy since 1900 (Babe Herman) has ever hit for the cycle twice in one season (in 1931). Unlike hitting four home runs in one game, hitting the cycle is more a statistical quirk than any real indication of talent.
Still, Hill was ridiculous all June with a .352 average, five home runs and 17 RBI. He's been so good for just the past 15 days, in fact, that he's been right up there with, if not better than, the all-worlders at his position (Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler).
But will it last?
After all, this is the same Aaron Hill who smashed 36 homers in 2009 and 26 in 2010.
While nobody's going to turn down this kind of surge out of the second-base spot (and you shouldn't remove him from your lineup anytime for the foreseeable future), it might also be a prime time to sell him high.
Those 26 home runs in 2010? Those came with a grisly .205 average. And in 2011, he was beyond brutal for the Blue Jays, hitting .225 with only six homers in 104 games. He did pick it up after an August move to Arizona and hit .315 for the Diamondbacks at the end of the season.
But Hill has only really just secured a full-time job by beating out Josh Bell, and he's getting on base at an .849 clip—more than 100 points higher than his seven-year career average—which suggests a slower tempo soon to come.
Who would you rather have at 2B?
Hill scored 42 fantasy points in Week 13, but topped 20 only four times in the previous 12 weeks—and didn't get 10 five other weeks. Although his current hot streak has known no geographic bounds, he's been exceedingly iffy on the road all season. Hill has a .360 average with seven homers and 24 RBI in Arizona but has managed just .221 with three homers and 11 RBI everywhere else.
It's definitely possible that Hill has regained some of his former form, but expectations should still probably be tempered. He's on pace for 23 homers and 81 RBI— both of which would be close to career highs—but also just about the best-case scenario for him.
The average will dip from .293, and maybe not as much as you'd think. But even if it only falls to, say, a reasonable .265, think of what that will do to the chances Hill accomplishes those best-case scenario numbers.
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