Mets Scouting Report: OF Jamar Hill

Hill hit exactly .300 with the B-Mets this summer

The Binghamton outfielder, originally selected in the 48th round of the 2001 draft, has endured up and down times during his tenure in the organization. Despite being hampered by injury at the start of this season, he still pushes on, working to find his maximum potential. Here is a scouting report on Jamar Hill

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jamar Hill
Position: Right Field
DOB: September 20, 1982
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

In his sixth year in the system, Jamar Hill anticipated 2007 would be the season in which the raw tools he has portrayed in the past would come together unlike any time before. Despite his age and level within the organization, his promising combination of power and athleticism keeps coaches working with him and keeps him on the Mets' radar.

Missed opportunities have played a large part in Hill's history whether it was due to injury or timing. After hitting just .235 in 78 games with St. Lucie in 2006, he was geared up for a strong performance this year, but a serious knee sprain halted him out of the gate, once again knocking him back down the hill.

"I had what I thought were goals I could reach going into spring training. I wanted to hit .300, steal bases and play outstanding defense and have my whole game come together, but the injury changed a lot of that. I was in Extended Spring Training for a while, and then in St. Lucie, and that didn't let me get consistent at-bats in any place this year," he said.

Hill is a player who needs all the time on the diamond he can get to improve his game through consistency. When he arrived in Binghamton following Fernando Martinez's injury, he took the opportunity and ran with it, meeting his high water mark at the plate and showed his talent with the bat that scouts know is there. In past years, he would get too power happy, but with the B-Mets he stayed more up the middle and proved more capable in two-strike counts.

"It was an accomplishment for me to hit .300 at Binghamton. In the Florida State League, I felt good in the at-bats I had but I didn't get enough bats to feel confident about the things I was doing or to turn some heads. But in Binghamton, I got back to my natural ability to drive the ball and was more professional with the way I swing the bat," he explained.

As he returns to a more balanced approach and swing, he still needs to find that balance between power and patience. He hit 41 home runs and 44 doubles across 2004-2005, but since he has not demonstrated similar power, hitting just 13 home runs and 26 doubles. He will need to find that level of power if he is to make it to Shea in the near future. It could be a matter of health, but more so it is a matter of plate awareness and patience which he has lacked in recent years.

With only 15 walks and 89 strikeouts combined this year, Hill still not deviated from the same patterns that afflicted him in the past which have prevented his offensive maturation. While he has corrected some of his free-swinging attitude, he will not completely back down from his style.

" I used to swing at a lot of curveballs and sliders out the zone, but I think I cut that down this year, but I'm a firm believer that I can't try to walk. I want to swing the bat, I don't want to leave my at-bats in the umpire's hands. It's just about getting a mental approach to get out of that and handling the whole strike zone," he said.

Each year, Hill has offered incremental steps to fulfilling the promise he showed when he was at the lower levels of the organization. Given his size and athleticism, he has the natural tools to elevate his game, but forces have prevent him from getting over the last hump. Perhaps a full time position and a year of health would allow Hill to meet his promise, but next year he may still find himself in a similar position where he will have to make the most of less playing time than he hopes for.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

Binghamton

.300

170

51

6

23

23

3

7

44

.343

.459

2007

St. Lucie

.258

163

42

1

12

18

3

8

45

.295

.337

2006

St. Lucie

.235

251

59

6

28

32

7

19

77

.298

.382

2005

St. Lucie

.252

456

115

16

64

64

13

47

151

.326

.414

2004

Capital City

.272

459

125

26

89

83

20

36

110

.334

.492

2003

Capital City

.300

20

6

0

1

0

0

1

6

.364

.350

2003

Kingsport

.241

170

41

6

26

22

14

10

45

.280

.418

2002

Kingsport

.295

200

59

8

31

34

7

22

48

.374

.505



Batting and Power: Going into each year, it is known what Hill could do with the bat. He has home run power and the ability to be a pretty fierce hitter, however with each passing season in which he does not get back to the promise he showed, he stands to be outdone by younger prospects and find himself in a reserve role. He needs his swing to stay consistent and true to meet the marks he has set for himself. If he cannot show more discipline at the plate, his most pressing issue, he will have a tougher time reaching his goals.

Base Running and Speed: Hill's knee injury significantly effected his speed and stolen base attempts this year, but when he has his legs under him, he is a quick on the bases and has the ability to steal more than he did this season. An improved knowledge of reading pitchers and picking the correct time to go should improve his chances as well.

Defense: His defense too was hampered by his injury this year, but his work in the outfield has been and still is his best quality. He has a very strong arm and is reliable in the field. Even when he struggles at the plate, Hill always carries his glove.

Projection: Hill is only going to get better by receiving more playing and more chances to prove himself. He really cannot afford any more injuries that make him miss large chunks of the season nor can he afford any regressions. If he is to take his game to another level, he must show he can significantly improve his skills at the Double-A level and work his way up from there.

ETA: 2009. Since he spent half of this season in Extended Spring Training and St. Lucie, his arrival date was postponed. Hill must make it back to Binghamton when camp breaks next year and see some time in New Orleans if he is going to get to the big leagues in a reasonable timeframe. If he can come back healthy and prepared to meet his talent in the spring, 2009 is not an impossibility.

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