Sunday, December 12, 2004

Russ Adams/Aaron Hill Report

Russ Adams, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Drafted 14th Overall, 2002 Draft, U. of North Carolina
Bats L/Throws R
24 YO, 6'1", 178 lbs

Aaron Hill, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Drafted 13th Overall, 2003 Draft, LSU
Bats R/Throws R
22 YO, 5'11", 195 lbs

The Jays drafted college shortstops in the first round in consecutive years and ended up with a couple of good prospects. I have a hard time remembering which is which, just as with Aybar and Callaspo. So here's the review.

Hill is the better prospect. He's younger. He has better plate discipline. He's a better defensive shortstop. Adams has already made his major league debut though. And he performed very well in his september audition.

Adams hit .288/.351/.408 with 37 doubles, 5 home runs, 45 walks, and 62 strikeouts in 483 International League at bats. Then he hit .306/.349/.528 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs, 5 walks, and 5 K's in 72 at bats. The plate discipline is suboptimal, and there's not a lot of power. But projecting out to the majors, he's league average for either a shortstop or a second baseman. He's the favorite to open 2005 as the starting shortstop for the Jays.

Hill hit .279/.368/.410 with 26 doubles, 11 home runs, 63 walks, and 61 K's in 480 Eastern League at bats. The plate discipline is quite good. The power is mediocre, but at least it's there. While Adams profiles as a 7/8/9 hitter, Hill looks like a leadoff or number 2 hitter. He doesn't steal many bases, but that isn't much of a concern with a SABR-friendly organization like Toronto.

With these two and Orlando Hudson, the Blue Jay infield will start getting crowded. Hill is the best long term answer at short. Hudson looks like a better player than Adams is likely to become, but has been surrounded by trade rumors for 2 seasons now. If they keep all three, then Adams could theoretically become a utility infielder, or Hudson could be moved to third base, though that would be a waste of a good second baseman.

Adams: ETA: 2005
3 Stars

Hill: ETA Late 2005
3 1/2 Stars

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