Every team in the Major Leagues faces difficult decisions when it comes to player personnel, especially when a highly-touted prospect struggles once they reach the big leagues. Weighing a player’s upside versus the lack of on-field production can really keep a general manager up at night. The Colorado Rockies are getting close to meeting that crossroad with outfielder Sam Hilliard.
Could Sam Hilliard’s time with the Colorado Rockies be coming to a close soon?
Sam Hilliard exploded onto the scene in the final month of the 2019 season, slashing .273/.356/.649, with seven homers, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 77 at-bats over 27 games played. Those numbers created expectations that Hilliard has failed to live up to ever since.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he hit .210/.272/.438 in 36 games and, in 2021, he hit .215/.294/.463 in 81 games with multiple trips made between Triple-A Albuquerque and the Rockies due to his struggles at the plate. Those struggles have carried over into this season as, in fact, they have been worse.
In 49 at-bats, Hilliard has eight hits (.163/.293/.245) with zero home runs, three RBI, and four runs scored with 15 strikeouts. Those numbers are even worse in his last seven games where he has a lone hit in 21 at-bats (.048) with six strikeouts.
With Kris Bryant likely coming off the injured list after the road trip, the Rockies are going to have to make a difficult decision as to who will lose their spot on the active roster.
In the Rox Pile’s latest podcast, Kevin Henry and Noah Yingling suggested that the Rockies would likely send down someone in the bullpen to make room for Bryant.
The recent play by the 28-year-old Hilliard might make the decision easy on the Rox front office. He does have two minor league options, but what comes next? He has already shown that he can hit in Triple-A, but it just has not translated since his debut in ’19.
The Rockies made the difficult decision to release one-time All-Star David Dahl in 2020 after he couldn’t live up to his high potential (and after he had an extensive injury history). Sam Hilliard could suffer the same fate.