Red Sox starter Rich Hill gets cut by midseason
Look, nobody wants to see Rich Hill fall off a cliff. In an ideal world, the 42-year old would just keep on baffling hitters with his high 80’s fastball and rainbow curveball until his arm fell off, presumably in his mid-70s. The Red Sox also really need Hill to continue performing, as their rotation is filled with question marks after Nathan Eovaldi.
At a certain point, age catches up to everyone, and the last few years prove Hill is nearing the end of the line. His strikeout rate has dipped from 10.6 K/9 from 2016 to 2019 to 8.3 from 2020 to 2021, while his walk rate has increased from 2.6 BB/9 to 3.3 BB/9 during the same span. The main culprit is his two mile per hour drop in fastball velocity, making it no wonder why hitters have gone from hitting .219 against the heater in 2019 to .269 last season.
With Chris Sale and James Paxton returning by the All-Star break, some of the pitchers currently on the Red Sox roster aren’t going to make it to the end of the season. Hill isn’t the pitcher he once was, and in a division stacked with power-hitting right-handers, it’s dangerous to be a soft-tossing lefty. Expect the lefty to be the odd man out this summer.