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Derek Hill

Elk Grove




Derek Hill makes it look so easy.

In the outfield, with those long strides and that easy glide to the ball. And the sweet stroke in the batter's box.

But we all know—it ain’t that easy. 


Just ask the hundreds of thousands of prep players nationwide who know first-hand how hard it is to hit .500 for the season—including playoff games at the highest level (Division I)—or to catch, fire and nail a runner at home with a perfect one-hopper from centerfield.  

No piece ‘o cake, and it sure ain’t easy as pie. 

But that’s how D-Hill, the Elk Grove Thundering Herd centerfielder, played the game his senior year, just like his junior and sophomore campaigns. 

“We saw numerous (future college) Division I-type pitchers, and to hit .500 or above against those guys speaks for itself,” notes Elk Grove head coach Jeff Carlson. And obviously with all the pressures he had, being slotted to be a first-round draft pick, and to be able to perform under those extreme conditions, with all those eyes on him, makes him the best player of the year.”

This season, while batting third for the Herd all season, Hill hit an even .500 with 11 doubles, seven triples and 30 runs batted in. His on-base percentage was .586 while he slugged at .765. For good measure, he stole 21 bases. He led his team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, and if not for a resilient Davis team, Elk Grove (26-6) may have claimed the title again this season.


For his three-year career, Hill batted .458, compiling 114 total hits, 20 doubles, 15 triples and three round-trippers, along with 76 RBI. 

“Baseball talent aside—and he’s very talented—the best attribute he has is being a great guy and very humble,” Carlson added.

His father Orsino Hill is a professional baseball scout for the Dodgers. He played 12 seasons in the minor leagues, including eight at the Triple-A level. He knows talent when he sees it—and he sees it in his son Derek, who was selected in the first round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers with the 23rd overall pick. 


“Derek’s blessed with a lot of talent,” the father proudly admits. Asked to pinpoint Derek’s greatest assets, Orsino Hill says it’s his “his intangibles—he just knows how to play the game. He’s very athletic, but he understands the game. 

“And at the higher levels, that’s what separates you.” 


Derek Hill knows how to separate. He proved it at the prestigious summer showcases put on by Perfect Game in 2013 and USA Tournament of Stars in 2012. 


For two years he played under the shadow Dom Nunez and Rowdy Tellez, two of the great high school players to emerge from Sacramento area in a long time (Tellez was a two-time POY for BaseballSacramento, winning the award in 2013 and 2012). Last year, Nunez was taken in the 6th Round by the Rockies and Tellez slid to Toronto in the 30th Round due to “signability” issues.

And now Derek’s topped them both, as he’s the only local prepster selected in the First Round in the 21st Century. It may very well be a long while before someone else can make that claim.

Derek Hill’s proven it ain’t easy. 

Uploaded 6/8/14
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