Triple-A Syracuse right-hander Taylor Hill continues to excel. He got off to a very good start in April and has been consistent in May.
The first 10 games of the season have been close to masterful for the 6-foot-3 former Vanderbilt hurler. Hill has gone 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 10 outings, nine of them starts. In 60 2/3 innings, Hill has surrendered only 11 runs and struck out 47 batters with just eight walks.
In eight of those 10 games, he has allowed six or fewer hits. He also has given up just four walks in his past seven starts.
On May 24, Hill went seven innings and allowed five hits and no runs, with no walks and four strikeouts in a 4-1 win over Pawtucket. Veterans Ryan Mattheus and Mike Gonzalez pitched the final two frames to close out the game.
Hill has a fastball that ranges from 88 to 93 mph. He has commanded the fastball and slider well, mixing in the curveball. He also has a serviceable changeup.
Syracuse pitching coach Paul Menhart said Hill has done good job of mixing those pitches throughout each start.
“Taylor knows who he is and doesn’t try to do too much,” Menhart said. “Cliche, I know, but it is what makes him so successful.”
The six wins are tied for the International League lead with Rochester’s Yohan Pino and Louisville’s Josh Smith. Hill’s 1.63 ERA is ranked fourth. His 47 strikeouts are 13th on the list - former Nationals property Nathan Karns (59, first) and Alex Meyer (54, tied for second) are also on the list. Hill’s 0.96 WHIP ranks third in the league.
Hill had nine combined wins last season in 28 games. He has six wins in nine starts just two months into this season.
Similar to Karns or Taylor Jordan last season, Hill is a likely top candidate to grab a spot start for the Nationals when the need arises, providing depth to an already strong starting rotation.