Too often, the careers of our favorite Athletics are cut short by trades or the sands of time, which are just a little heavier in an increasingly young sport. It's important to appreciate our favorites for all that they offer. Let's look at some of the best parts of one of the best stories in baseball this season, Rich Hill.
-This past offseason, 23 starting pitchers were signed to major league deals with big league clubs. Most of those deals had more zeros than your local speed dating event - these are all very rich men. The lowest contract among the 23 was that of Mat Latos, worth a paltry $3 million. The second lowest? None other than Richard Hill, Oakland Athletic.
-To give that a little needed context that you already know, Hill has been worth 2 fWAR so far this season, 9th among all starting pitchers. Hill ranks above aces like Madison Bumgarner, Corey Kluber, and Justin Verlander.
-Variety is the spice of baseball, so Rich Hill has hit a league leading seven batters.
-Richard translates to Dick, making Rich Hill the second best named Richard in franchise history. Only Rich Harden tops him in the Richard based names category. A Richard Hill sounds like a fine place for a hike, but maybe not on a first date.
I promise that's the only Dick joke here.
Lowest hard-hit rate in May- starting P— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) June 1, 2016
Rich Hill 5.9%
Kyle Hendricks 6.1%
Clayton Kershaw 7.2%
Steven Matz 8.2%
Madison Bumgarner 8.3%
-We obsess over strikeouts, as pitching success is often a luck based endeavor. Missing bats is the best way to avoid bloops and bleeders from becoming annoying, Royals-like hits. Hill ranks 9th in baseball with a 28% K rate. It gets better: infield flyballs are just about equal to strikeouts, rarely turning into base-runners and almost never allowing existing base-runners to advance. Hill ranks second in all of baseball in combined strikeout and infield popup rate at 44.7%.
-Getting auto-outs like K's and popups is doubly important when your defense is struggling (or just very bad). Hill is seventh in ERA in all of baseball in spite of Jed Lowrie and the E Street Bandits backing him up.
-Hill's heater is slower than 73 fastballs thrown by his counterparts. In spite of that lack of velocity, his four-seamer is more valuable than all but eight others baseball. Hitters swing and miss 6% more frequently against Hill's heater than the second highest ranking fastball in baseball. That's a huge difference!
-He's an early contender for most awkward high five of the year. It's the Glenn Kuiper of high fives.
-Hill is tied with Drew Pomeranz for highest curveball usage among starters at 41.4%. To date, Hill has not lost a fight with a piece of furniture.
-In 2014, FanGraphs calculated the average cost of a single win on the free agent marketplace to be $7 million. Assuming that number is still roughly true, Rich Hill technically earned his 2016 salary roughly five starts ago.
-When batters swing at balls in the zone against Hill, they make contact a pathetic 77.5% of the time. That's the second lowest rate in all of baseball and it means even when the ball is in the hitting zone, hitters are often rendered useless. The league average rate is 86%.
-These pictures, which I found via Alan Torres on Twitter, exist. Further proof Rich Hill is the best.
I think I might have wasted my dick joke.
I don't know how long Rich Hill will be in Oakland, and I'm sure to cry if it's less than 20 years. Let's appreciate him while we've got him. The dude is an awesome story and he's putting up dominant numbers. A true Oakland A's find.