Hilliard was known more as a pitcher early in his amateur days, even getting drafted as a left-hander by the Twins when he was in junior college in 2014. His bat came alive the following year after he transferred to Wichita State and his upside as a hitter got the Rockies to take a chance on him with a 15th-round selection. He's shown glimpses of putting his tools into production, playing 2018 in Double-A, then really standing out with a strong Arizona Fall League performance to earn a spot on the 40-man roster.
On any given day, Hilliard will show all five tools. Given that he didn't really start focusing on his offensive game until college, he's still learning to hit. He made some adjustments to his swing at the end of his 2018 season, adding a small leg kick to replace a toe tap with strong results, especially in the AFL. It allowed him to keep his weight back, wait on breaking balls more and lay off of ones out of the strike zone, something that has previously plagued him. It should help him tap into his easily plus raw power more consistently. He runs very well for his size and while he has seen time in all three outfield spots, he fits the profile of an athletic power-hitting right fielder with a plus arm.
Because of his size, athleticism and tools, Hilliard sometimes gets Larry Walker comps, minus the plus hit tool. That's an unfair standard obviously, but there is ceiling for Hilliard to still grow into.
Statcast - Batting
Hard Hit %
Colorado Rockies recalled RF Sam Hilliard from Albuquerque Isotopes.
Colorado Rockies optioned RF Sam Hilliard to Albuquerque Isotopes.
Colorado Rockies selected the contract of Sam Hilliard from Hartford Yard Goats.
Hartford Yard Goats activated RF Sam Hilliard from the 7-day disabled list.
Hartford Yard Goats placed RF Sam Hilliard on the 7-day disabled list.
RF Sam Hilliard assigned to Hartford Yard Goats from Lancaster JetHawks.
Colorado Rockies invited non-roster OF Sam Hilliard to spring training.
RF Sam Hilliard assigned to Lancaster JetHawks.
LF Sam Hilliard assigned to Colorado Rockies.
LF Sam Hilliard assigned to Asheville Tourists from Grand Junction Rockies.
OF Sam Hilliard assigned to Colorado Rockies.
Colorado Rockies signed OF Sam Hilliard.
OF Sam Hilliard assigned to Grand Junction Rockies.