Counting Down: Rockies Top 30: No. 14 Sam Hilliard
14. Sam Hilliard, OF
Born: 2/21/1994. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Wichita State, 2015 (15th round). Signed by: Brett Baldwin.
Hilliard is a poor man’s Larry Walker. He is a five-tool player in search of consistency. He has the size, left-handed swing, plus running speed, plus arm and strength that scouts embrace. He was, selected by the Twins in the 31st round of the draft as a left-handed pitcher with a fastball that was a solid 88-to-92 miles per hour. Hilliard, however, opted to transfer from Crowder (Mo.) Junior College to Wichita State, where he took off offensively. He led the South Atlantic League with 83 RBI in 2016, and in the move to High-A Lancaster in 2017 he ranked among Cal League leaders in RBI (92), fifth in home runs (21), eight in average (.300) and third in stolen bases (37). Like Walker he has the speed to play center field, but given his size he is better suited for right field. With his build the expectation is as he adapts loft into his swing his home run totals will increase. He has struck out nearly 30 percent of his at-bats in the minor leagues, which the Rockies would like to work on cutting down without taking away his aggressiveness.