Baseball

Mets trade for oldest MLB pitcher

The Mets just traded two players to the Tampa Bay Rays for Rich Hill who, at 41, is the oldest pitcher in Major League Baseball and the second-oldest player, the oldest Albert Pujols.

In 19 games this season, all starts, Hill has pitched best the first and third times in a game he has faced an opposing team’s batters. Then, they hit only .190 and .164 against him, but during his second time through a lineup they hit .276 with a .530 slugging percentage. See table below.

Source: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=hillri01&year=2021&t=p

The data in the table reveal that his best role could be either as an opener or a reliever. However, it is likely that the Mets will mainly use him as a starter.

Hill has done better against left-handed batters, holding them to a .158 batting average. In contrast, right-handed batters hit .232 against him, still low but 74 points higher.

Against his fastball, his most frequently thrown pitch, batters hit .257, 71 points higher than their BA (.186) against his breaking pitches — but they were not his most effective pitches. Those were his off-speed pitches with a .143 BA.

His average pitch velocity this season of 80.6 mph is his second-lowest since 2015. His hard-hit% is higher than in any previous Statcast season: 6.4%.

In 2021, he has thrown 785 fastballs, 623 breaking balls, and 41 off-speed pitches.

Hill has been much more effective when pitching without any runners on base. Then, batters are hitting just .203. With runners on base, opposing batters’ BA jumps 47 points to .250.

He last pitched on July 18 against the Braves. In 4 IP, he gave up six hits, three earned runs, and two walks, while striking out four.

Categories: Baseball

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