Oakland A’s should hope Jaden Hill falls in MLB Draft

Jaden Hill had been considered one of the top prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft. Despite a relative lack of experience at the collegiate level, he has been regarded as a possible top five pick, with the potential to push Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker as the top overall pick. However, that depended on his performance this season.

Those hopes came to a crashing halt at the beginning of April. Hill was removed from his matchup with Leiter and was later diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. He will undergo Tommy John surgery and will not pitch again until the middle of next year.

Oakland A’s should hope Jaden Hill falls in MLB Draft

This is not Hill’s first issue with his elbow. He had pitched just 21.2 innings prior to this year due to elbow concerns as a freshman and last year’s pandemic shortened season. Those injury concerns, especially now that he will undergo surgery, will likely take Hill out of the top five of the draft.

The question now becomes how far Hill will slide in the draft. There is no questioning his potential; he had been considered to be a possible third round selection coming out of high school with his strong commitment to LSU leading to his being selected far later. However, as his college career is now over, it is time to look ahead.

It is entirely possible that he slides to the Oakland A’s selection, the 25th pick of the first round. Should that happen, the A’s would get a pitcher who could either be a weapon in the bullpen or a possible solid option in the middle of the rotation. However, he would need to stay healthy for the latter to be an option.

Hill has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and has touched 99 MPH. His fastball has plenty of arm side run as well, giving it the potential to become a plus plus pitch. He has a devastating changeup with plenty of sink, and a slider that could develop into a plus offering as well. That arsenal would work well regardless of role.

Given his potential, there is no promise that he slides that far. Teams are more willing to take a long term view with their prospects, and even if Hill was healthy, there is still plenty of room for growth. However, his injury history and subsequent Tommy John surgery could lead to a longer than expected slide.

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If Jaden Hill is available when the Oakland A’s make their selection in the 2021 MLB Draft, that should be their pick. He could be the arm they need.