One of the most remarkable aspects of Aaron Hill's career is not that he had a 13-game hitting streak or that he reached base or drove in a run in 30 consecutive games. It is that he is still learning how to play professional baseball.
For all the success the 22-year-old Hill has had, the best may be yet to come for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats shortstop who was the Toronto Blue Jays' first-round pick (13th overall) last year. The Class AA Fisher Cats wind up their four-game trip to Bowie tonight against the Baysox.
"He is learning how to play," New Hampshire Manager Mike Basso said. "That's what we have to understand. Aaron is learning how to play. Professional baseball is a lot different than college baseball."
Little more than a year ago, Hill, the SEC player of the year, was leading Louisiana State in the College World Series. He made his professional debut on June 21, 2003 with Auburn in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. He was promoted midseason to Class A Dunedin of the Florida State League.
The switch from aluminum to wood bats doesn't seem to have affected Hill. From June 5 to June 19, he had a hit in 13 straight games. From May 18 to June 20 -- a span of 30 consecutive games -- he either reached base or drove in a run. Hill is batting .271, second on the team, and leads New Hampshire in RBI (35). Basso describes him as a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter who will develop power over time.
"When I'm at my best, you don't even remember what pitch you're hitting," Hill said. "You just kind of react. The best advice I ever got was don't try to hit the ball, just react to it. Single, double, triple, home run, as long as it's a hit, I don't care."
Note: Baysox outfielder Val Majewski will represent the Baltimore Orioles' organization in the All-Star Futures game. The best U.S.-born major league prospects and the best international-born prospects, as selected by Major League Baseball in conjunction with Baseball America, play on July 11 in Houston at 3 p.m. on ESPN2. Every major league organization has at least one player in the game. Majewski is the Orioles' lone representative.