If age 41 is over the hill to you, then surely you're over Rich Hill, age 41.
But if you'll permit yourself a do-over, you'll be heartened to hear that classifying Hill as over the hill is in fact no hill to die on. He's shown as much with his past six starts, most recently bringing the Royals to heel with this heroic effort:
That's 13 strikeouts in all -- a heaping helping, you might even say -- and it puts this start in the running for best of his entire career. In fact, the 13 strikeouts represent a career high, the 27 swinging strikes by an even larger degree.
And if you go to his game log, you'll find it goes hand in hand with his previous five starts, giving him a 1.26 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 11.1 K/9 in his past six.
Over the hill? Heck, he's only begun to climb.
- We talk Rich Hill, Joc Pederson and fire up the Worryometer on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 podcast. You can follow us to get the latest episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
Rich Hill SP
BOS Boston • #44 • Age: 42
Perhaps the most important note about Hill's past six starts is that five of them have lasted six innings or more, so any concerns about the Rays not handling him like a conventional starter have effectively been quashed. He may be old, but that's been true for five years now and all he's done during that time is deliver a 3.32 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 10.3 K/9. Frankly, he's looking closer to must-start than must-add at this point.
Ty France 1B
SEA Seattle • #23 • Age: 27
Ty France hit .305 last season, .327 this spring, .399 in his last minor-league season and .303 through April 28. What's so important about that date? It's when he got hit by a pitch on the wrist, an injury that finally landed him on the IL more than two weeks later. By that point, his batting average had plummeted to .229, which was certainly out of character. He's 3 for 8 since returning and I suspect is about to come roaring back.
SD San Diego • #17 • Age: 31
The Twins turned back to Taylor Rogers for a four-out save Tuesday after a brief flirtation with Hansel Robles in the closer role. Robles blew a save Sunday and struggled in his previous appearance, too, which might explain why he was back to working the seventh inning Tuesday. While Robles' overall numbers are decent, they're not as good as Rogers', who may not have gotten a fair shake when the Twins tried him as the closer before Robles. I suspect he's back to being the Twins reliever to roster now.
Jo Adell LF
LAA L.A. Angels • #7 • Age: 23
After a clunky start at Triple-A Salt Lake, Jo Adell has homered six times in his past six games to take the minor-league lead with 10 home runs. His strikeout rate is still high, which is why he failed to deliver in his first taste of the majors last year, but if you'll permit me the use of arbitrary end points, that rate is down to a respectable 23.5 in his past seven games. The Angels are desperate for another outfield bat after losing Dexter Fowler and Mike Trout, and Adell is pushing hard enough for you to stash him again, if only in five-outfielder leagues.
Joc Pederson LF
SF San Francisco • #23 • Age: 30
His two home runs Tuesday were only his second and third in May, but Joc Pederson is batting .375 for the month after a dismal April in which he hit .137. We know he can hit the ball out of the park -- he had 36 home runs in 2019, after all -- so whether his power stroke would come around should never have been in question. It was more whether he'd hit enough to keep his job, and he seems to be on the right track. Often when the singles begin to pick up, the home runs soon follow. Just recognize that he'll sit against some left-handed pitchers.
Tarik Skubal SP
DET Detroit • #29 • Age: 25
This latest outing was Tarik Skubal's second straight with nine strikeouts in five innings, which suggests the rookie left-hander who had 13.1 K/9 between two minor-league levels in 2019 is beginning to put it all together. He's always had a great fastball, but the secondary arsenal is catching up. His slider has gotten nearly as many whiffs these past two turns, and the changeup has also been effective. Now if he can just make it deeper than five innings.