2011 Cardinals Prospect #31 – Steven Hill

Hill can hit and play multiple positions, but is that good enough to stick in the bigs?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
26 C/1B/OF 3/14/1985 5-11 205 R R 2007 13th

School: Stephen F. Austin University, Texas

Selected 2010 stats

SPR 0.280 361 60 101 27 1 22 86 38 90 1 0.352 0.543 0.895
MEM 0.176 34 2 6 1 0 2 6 3 10 0 0.263 0.382 0.646
Total 0.271 395 62 107 28 1 24 92 41 100 1 0.345 0.529 0.874
StL 0.333 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0.333 1.333 1.667

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (26): "Country Fried," as he is sometimes called in Springfield, put forth a productive season that culminated with his big league debut. That trip to St. Louis accounted for only one game of play but he made the most of it with his first big league home run.

Hill could best be described as a bat without a position. Though he played behind the plate most of the season, it seems the Cardinals don't see him as a big league catcher. When he did get his call, he only played in the one game. Also, I am not quite certain of his future with the organization because the Cardinals did remove him from the 40-man roster during this offseason.

Hill has solid power with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. He does a great job of squaring the ball on the bat and I think he could be a solid player coming off the bench. In the field, he can play first and left but doesn't show the skills necessary of catching in the majors.

Message board community (22): 2010 was literally a year of ups and downs for Steven Hill. It was the year he got his first major league call up (direct from Double A) and it was also the year he was removed from the 40-man roster at the end of the season.

His hitting has never been a question with his quick bat producing a minor league system-leading 22 home runs last year. It is on the defensive side where the questions remain. Literally a man without a position, Hill has played first base, catcher, left field and right field for the organization but none with outstanding results.

Hill's 2011 and going forward depends on him being able to find a position. While his bat is strong, it unlikely strong enough to keep him employed as simply a utility player or a DH. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (NR): I am not anti-Hill, but I don't see a clear road ahead. He barely made my personal top 40 last year and dropped to 46 this year. Despite a good offensive year, there has been no apparent progress in resolving his defensive questions.

Let's face it, Hill was expected to hit in 2010. After all, he has now spent two and a half years in Double-A, including a 2008 stint in the Arizona Fall League, and will be 26 years old by the time the 2011 season gets underway.

We learned the organization's confidence level in Hill's catching late in the summer. After his brief St. Louis debut, he was assigned to Triple-A Memphis for the first time. Hill initially appeared in a handful of games, but sat down the stretch and in the entire Pacific Coast League post-season in favor of Tony Cruz.

As the Cardinals ultimately made a decision about Matt Pagnozzi's major league future, they made an initial statement about Hill when removing him from the 40-man roster following the season. There were no takers in the waiver process or Rule 5 Draft.

Short of an epidemic of injuries at the catching position in St. Louis, Hill's chances of getting back onto the 40-man and seeing that second game in the majors seem sketchy at best. Now that the Cardinals have officially added a veteran reserve in Gerald Laird, it might seem that Bryan Anderson and Cruz will be slated to job share behind the plate in Memphis in 2011. An alternative is to send Cruz down to Springfield to play everyday and use Hill behind Anderson and as a utilityman. The DH is rarely used in the Pacific Coast League and Mark Hamilton is anchored at first for the Redbirds.

Where does that leave Hill? Forget about sticking in the bigs. It isn't clear he can even hold a regular job in Triple-A. Will Hill be back in Springfield for a fourth year? What more can he show there?

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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