At first, I wasn’t too concerned with Rich Hill’s performances coming out of spring because everyone knows that it’s just Spring Training. But when you’ve just re-signed the now 37-year-old veteran pitcher to $48 million, it’s easy to be worried and think whether we got lucky last season. In a sense, the answer is yes because 2016 was the best year of Hill’s career.
To see him come out of Spring Training making five starts, and putting up an ERA over 8.00 isn’t very comforting for most fans. This is how Hill’s springs usually go, though, so there is hope that this isn’t the Hill we’ll see all season. With Kazmir starting on the DL, the Dodgers need their rotation to stay healthy and be key players in each game. Losing another starting pitcher, even due to poor performance, would not be good for the Dodgers at all.
Hill has the potential to have a great year if he can replicate what he did last season. Some people even believe there’s a shot that Hill has a better ERA than Clayton Kershaw before the year ends.
For me personally, Hill was a lot of fun to watch pitch last season, especially in the playoffs. He showed so much passion and fire every time he came to the mound, not to mention how lucky we were to see two dominant pitchers like Hill and Kershaw go back-to-back games with the possibility of seeing 20+ strikeouts between two games.
I think Hill will come out of this just fine. He seems to feel a little better after every start and just needs to get his timing back. But as soon as he puts that Dodger Blue on for his first game of the season, I don’t think he’ll have any problem locking in.