Detroit Tigers: What Happened To Top Prospect Derek Hill?

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

In 2014, the Detroit Tigers selected outfielder Derek Hill in the MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft, but since then, what has happened?

It has been six seasons, going on six, and Hill still is not in the big leagues, and some fans may have even forgotten about the “top prospect” that the Detroit Tigers possess.

The Detroit Tigers are in the depths of a rebuild, and having prospects pan out and reach the big leagues is going to be one of the utmost importance for this team. The Tigers picked up Derek Hill in 2014, and he did not exactly pan out as expected over the last six seasons.

For a top prospect in the organization, a player who was supposed to be one of the organization’s bread and butter immediately after being drafted, Hill fell off the map.

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Hill’s kryptonite was hitting, and the hit tool fell off and resulted in a tough battle between different levels of rookie ball and Single-A. After being drafted, Hill was a speedy outfielder who was supposed to be bringing a bat to the table for the Tigers, although it would not pan out as expected.

Hill started his minor league career with the rookie ball Lakeland Flying Tigers, where he hit .212/.333/.331 while swiping eleven bags. From there, he would bounce around between the Connecticut Tigers. West Michigan White Caps, and finally the Double-A Erie Seawolves.

Over six seasons, Hill would struggle to be the strong hitting prospect that was expected, but in 2019 things started to turn around. Hill spent 2019 with the Double-A Erie affiliate, where he would go on to hit .243/.394/.311 with fourteen home runs, and forty-five RBI with twenty-one bags swiped. Hill has finally started to come around, and it seems like he may crack Triple-A and possibly the big leagues if he can continue this level of hitting.

By no means is Hill still a top prospect, but after six seasons, it seems that he may be earning his shot to play for this organization.

The 2019 season was labeled as his “last shot,” and that has seemingly sparked something that made him strive to get things going in the box. Now twenty-four years old, Hill is slated for a chance to be promoted with another strong start to the season, having reached Double-A for the first time in his minor league career, he could build on this in 2020.

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The path that he has traveled on has not been the most convenient for a former first-round pick, but at least the Tigers may still get something out of him as a late bloomer.