Eight pitchers. Eight! The last time the Mariners took eight pitchers in their first 10 rounds was 2006. That year worked relatively well, as Brandon Morrow, Chris Tillman, and Doug Fister all became solid MLB players, albeit only partially for Seattle. RHP Kyle Hill likely won’t follow those three into rotations, but he could easily make his way to the bigs all the same.
Hill is a senior sign out of Baylor, having served as a bullpen ace for the Bears this year after refining his command significantly. Despite shoulder surgery from a football injury in early high school, Hill blossomed into a D-I prospect. He struggled mightily with walks until his senior year, when a shift to the pen helped him unlock impeccable production. Through 27.0 IP in 21 outings this year, Hill has a 34/9 K/BB and has not allowed a single run. When Ben Thoen previewed the Big-12 conference for us, he spotlighted Hill as a prototypical Dipoto target:
On the pitching side, the Bears have leaned heavily on what’s been a lights-out bullpen in 2019, led by closer Kyle Hill. A 5’10” right-hander, Hill posted walk rates north of 5.0 BB/9 in each of his first three collegiate seasons before cutting that number to just 3.0 BB/9 this season. The increased control has paid dividends, as he’s yet to allow an earned run through 27.1 innings this season and is sporting a 0.70 WHIP. The Mariners have made a habit of getting production out of undersized relievers during the Dipoto era, so Hill very much could make sense as a later round pick.
He’s got a typical reliever’s body, with a strong 5’11 frame that doesn’t suggest much more projection but fits his reputation for a strong work ethic. He’s typically worked 91-93 on his fastball with a mid-80s slider. If those translate well to the pros he could move quickly, and as a senior-sign he’ll help the M’s save a bit of extra cash for some of the preps they took.