The Dodgers have gotten all they could’ve hoped for and more since trading for Rich Hill a few seasons ago. Will 2019 be the final season for D. Mountain?
The Dodgers traded for Rich Hill in 2016 to bolster their starting rotation and ever since Rich Hill has been a mainstay in the rotation. Although he was plagued by blister issues at the start of his Dodger tenure, Hill has stayed relatively injury free making 25 starts in 2017 and 24 starts in 2018. Now as he enters the last year of his contract, this could be the final season for Rich Hill.
To begin the season, Rich Hill will be 39 years old so unless he plans on going Bartolo Colon, there is a strong possibility this will be his last year with the Dodgers at least. The Dodgers have a strong farm system with multiple pitching prospects on the rise and their current big league roster has players such as Julio Urias and Ross Stripling without a rotation spot. It’s a good problem to have if you’re the Dodgers but it could also ensure this is Hill’s last season with the team.
Last year Hill put together another solid season pitching to a 3.66 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. After a rocky first two months to begin the 2018 season, Hill settled in especially during the second half of the season. During the first half, Hill put up a 4.55 ERA but during the second half he went 9-1 with a stellar 3.03 ERA. He also limited opposing batters to a .187 average after the all-star break.
For 2019, the Dodgers are expecting another solid season from D. Mountain who will slot into the third or fourth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation. Even if he slots into the third spot, he gives the team an above average third starter who is capable of dueling with any pitcher in the league. Hill’s competitive nature and the fact that he wears his emotions on his sleeve has turned him into a fan favorite in Los Angeles.
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Much like the newly acquired AJ Pollock, Hill is a guy that the Dodgers are mainly saving for the postseason. If he runs into any bumps and bruises in the regular season, the Dodgers will not be hesitant to put him on the disabled list to make sure he stays healthy throughout the season and into the playoffs. It appears Hill has put his blister issues behind him, so he should be able to make another 20-24 starts in 2019.
The 2019 Dodgers are nearly a lock for the postseason giving the status of the NL West and the Dodgers’ level of talent. When the Dodgers get to the postseason they will make Hill one of their four playoff starters as he has been one of the clubs’ best playoff pitchers. Last year, Hill posted a 2.16 ERA in the playoffs including a sensational World Series start where he limited the Red Sox to one hit and one run in six-plus innings.
Despite turning 39 prior to the regular season, Hill figures to be one of the Dodgers’ best starters in 2019. He averages 90 miles per hour on his fastball but he can get his heater into the mid 90’s at times and can make elite hitters look like amateurs with his fastball-curveball combo. If 2019 is the last year of Hill’s career or his final season with the Dodgers, he will look to go out with a bang, and that elusive World Series ring.