For his performance during the month of May, Tampa Bay Rays veteran southpaw Rich Hill has been named the American League Pitcher of the Month.
Hill came to the Rays as a free agent, signing a one year $2.5M contract during the offseason as the Rays looked to replenish their sudden vacancies in the starting rotation. The original thought was that he’d help to solidify the backend of the team’s rotation or possibly serve in a bulk role following an ‘Opener.’
However, over his past few appearances, the 41 year old Hill, who is now the oldest player ever in Tampa Bay Rays franchise history, has proven that he is still more than capable of being a successful front end starting pitcher as he has been dominant.
Over his last seven appearances (since April 26th), Hill has yielded just five runs on 19 hits — 3 home runs — over 40 2⁄3 innings pitched. For the month of May, Hill had a 0.78 ERA, which was second among all qualified pitchers in the Major Leagues during the month; the lowest ERA (0.73), belonged to his award winning counter part from the National League, Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants.
It is in thanks to Hill’s dominance that the Rays went from being a below .500 team in April, to possessing one of baseball’s best records entering June and sitting atop the American League East division.