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Toronto Blue Jays No. 2 Second Baseman
Born: March 21, 1982 in Visalia, California
Major League Baseball debut: May 20, 2005 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Selected MLB statistics (through 2008)
Batting average .284
Home runs 28
Runs batted in 188
Stolen bases 15
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (2005 - present)
Aaron Walter Hill (born on March 21, 1982 in Visalia, California) is a Major League Baseball player and second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. Hill was drafted by Toronto in the first round (13th overall) of the 2003 MLB First Year Draft as a shortstop, but moved to second base after the departure of Blue Jays' former second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Hill was originally drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 7th round of the June 2000 Draft. Hill turned down the offer, opting to attend Louisiana State University and play for the varsity Fighting Tigers baseball team. While at LSU, Hill posted a career .335 batting average with 23 home runs and 150 RBIs.
Major League career
Hill was Toronto's first draft pick (13th overall) in the 2003 MLB First Year Draft, and he made his major league debut on May 20, 2005 after being called up from the minor leagues a day earlier as an injury replacement for Corey Koskie. Although he was brought up as a shortstop, Hill appeared as a third baseman, designated hitter and second baseman during the course of the season. He finished the 2005 season with a .274 batting average, .348 OBP, and 25 doubles in 361 at bats. After the trade of Orlando Hudson to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hill became the starting second baseman for the Blue Jays in 2006, but was moved back to shortstop mid season after the demotion of Russ Adams. After experiencing defensive struggles at shortstop, he was then moved back to second base, with John McDonald taking over at shortstop.
On April 4, 2008 the second baseman agreed to a four year, $12 million deal that includes a club option that could run through the 2014 season. The contract could be worth as much as $38 million if Toronto keeps Hill in the fold for all seven years of the deal, which takes effect immediately. On May 29, Hill suffered a Grade II concussion in a collision with teammate David Eckstein in Oakland. On August 17, the Blue Jays announced that Hill would miss the remainder of the season.
Comparison with Roberto Alomar
Since becoming Toronto's starting second baseman after the departure of Orlando Hudson, Hill has surprised many people with his above average performance on the field both defensively and offensively. In the 2007 season, Hill hit for a .291 batting average with 17 home runs and 47 doubles, and proved to be one of Toronto's most reliable and consistent offensive producers. The consideration of the slight offensive output made by the average Major League second baseman, and the fact that in 2007 he proved to be an above average player at only 25 years old, has led to comparisons between Hill and Blue Jays legend Roberto Alomar. Hill's 17 home runs in 2007 tied Alomar's single season club record for a second baseman, and his 47 doubles broke Alomar's previous record of 41. Hill is also noted for his superior defensive ability. Given that he was originally brought through the Blue Jays system as a shortstop, it has taken time for him to establish himself in his new position, as he was bounced between several infield positions for several seasons. His defense has improved with each season, though, and he has often displayed impressive lateral range. At one point in mid September of the 2007 season, Hill had a .984 fielding percentage (Alomar's career average), led the league in games, assists, and ranked second in double plays for a second baseman. Hill is now considered one of the cornerstones of the Blue Jays organization, and is predicted to occupy his role on the club at second base for many years.
On May 29, 2007, in a game at home against the New York Yankees, Hill became only the second player in Blue Jays history to straight steal home. He accomplished the feat off Andy Pettitte.
2001 - 2001 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All American
2002 - 2002 United States National Team Member
2003 - Southeastern Conference Player of the Year
2003 - Baseball America First Team All American
2003 - Collegiate Baseball Second Team All American
2003 - USA Today Second Team All American
2003 - ABCA Second Team All American
2003 - ABCA First Team All South Region
2003 - NCAA Baton Rouge Regional All Tournament Team
2003 - SEC All Tournament Team
2003 - Short Season All Star Team (Baseball America)
2003 - Prospect of the year (New York - Penn League - A)
2003 - New York - Penn League All Star Team (A) (Shortstop)
2004 - Eastern League (U.S. baseball) All Star Team (AA) (Shortstop)
2004 - MVP of All Star Futures Game