Tigers Scouting Report #1: Derek Hill

With Nick Castellanos graduated to the big leagues and a number of top prospects traded, there was room at the top of the TigsTown Top 50. And the new top ranked prospect is last year's first rounder, Derek Hill. Find out what makes him so appealing to be so highly considered right out of high school.

Derek Hill


Position: Center fielder

Date of Birth: 12/30/1995 (2015 Opening Day Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6-2/195
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft, 1st Round
Ranking History: #1 (2015)

Background: Considered by many to be worthy of a top 15 pick in last year’s draft, Hill fell in the Tigers lap with the 23rd pick and they happily gobbled him up. After signing, Hill hit just .212 in 28 games with the GCL Tigers, though he did walk 16 times before being promoted to the New York-Penn League. Against much older competition, Hill hit a miniscule .203 in 19 games, fanning 26 times.


2014 Stats - Hitting
Connecticut 74815110326221.203.244.243
GCL Tigers 99122122211191694.212.331.333

Scouting Report

Body: Tall, thin frame; looks lanky on the field; high waist with room to fill out; quick twitch athleticism that stands out on the field; graceful movements with good coordination; looks the part.

Hit: Loose hands; feel for manipulating the barrel; quick to the zone with plenty of bat speed; strong arms and wrists allow bat to snap through on a short path, with authority; struggles with recognition of spin and will chase outside the zone at times; swing works to all fields; can catch up to velocity; good balance, even when chasing pitches; potential to hit .280+ at the big league level with development in pitch recognition and having a plan for each at-bat depending on pitcher and game situation; development of hit tool will take time but has natural ingredients to inspire confidence that it will click; big grade jumps projected. Grade – Present 3+/Future 5+

Power: Limited over the fence power; ball jumps off his bat but remains on low trajectory; line drives to gaps are hard with good exit velocity giving him chance for extra-base hits that stay in the park; additional strength will further chances he hits plenty of doubles and he could max out with 8-12 home runs a year. Grade – 3+/4

Speed: Burner; double-plus times down the line and flashes an extra gear as he rounds the bases on longer runs; excellent instincts on the bases allow speed to play at or above grade level; speed translates well to CF where he can go get it in the gaps, over his head, and in front of him; impact tool that should help reach hit tool ceiling. Grade – 7/7

Defense: Advanced defender, not just for his age, but in general; excellent reads off the bat with a quick and correct first step nearly all the time; routes are direct to the ball; gifted glove that can play to plus-plus level in middle of outfield; perfect fit for larger outfield of Comerica Park in Detroit; glove is already near ceiling and has minimal improvement remaining. Grade – 6+/7

Arm: Average arm; ball comes out clean with good velocity and carry; solid accuracy on most throws; fits well in center field. Grade – 5/5

Other: Intelligent player; head for the game; excellent worker on and off the field; instincts play in all facets of the game; minor back injury in 2014 and quad injury in 2015; needs to stay on the field for development to take off.

Final Word

Summary: Glove first player with two plus-plus impact tools that dominate his profile; exceptional defensive player that could handle center field at MLB level right now; speed plays to full grade level, impacting both defense and base stealing/running; potential to swipe 40-50 bases a year with regular playing time; has hit tool projection thanks to raw ingredients and instincts for the game; will take time to develop offensively; power will be to gaps with minimal amounts leaving the park; potential top of the order hitter with average, on-base percentage, doubles, triples, and steals.

Risk: High risk; Long way to go; hit tool development is paramount and largest gains needed with tool; instincts for game keep him from Extreme Risk profile.

Projection: Unlikely to be a quick mover; could use a full year at each level through Double-A; has natural skills and feel for game to project lagging tools to take off as he reaches physical maturity and adjust to professional game; 2018 ETA would be on the early side; potential impact up the middle defender with top of the order offensive skills; could be above-average regular at peak.

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