Fans of the Baltimore Orioles are finally getting a good look at LHP prospect DL Hall. That look should provide hope for the future.
Hall was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft (21st overall) as an 18-year-old prep hurler out of Valdosta High School in Georgia. Assigned to the Gulf Coast League (Class-Rookie) after signing with the Orioles, he saw relatively limited action in 2017. In 10.1 innings over 5 games he pitched to a 6.97 ERA while walking 10, striking out 12 and hitting one: his WHIP of 1.94 was accompanied by .263 opponent’s batting average against.
Hall calls Delmarva of the South Atlantic League (Class-A Low) home right now in 2018. The Shorebirds’ relative close proximity to the Baltimore area allows fans to see much more of him than they did in 2017.
Through 2 games, Hall has no record but has pitched 5.0 innings to a 1.80 ERA. Of the 2 runs he has given up, only one was earned. Hall has surrendered 4 hits while walking 5 and striking out 4. Sally League batters are hitting him at a .250 clip, however.
Hall faced the minimum through 3 innings in his 2018 debut. He was aided by 2 double plays and finished with a line of 3.0 innings pitched, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts. His latest start this past Tuesday was not quite as stellar. Fighting the cold (40 degree temperature at game time) and snow flurries in Hagerstown, he lasted just 2.0 innings and 3 additional batters. Hall finished the night with 2 runs (1 earned) and 3 hits surrendered with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts. He was unable to find the plate for most of the second inning and left after two consecutive walks in the third. I am of the opinion that the cold affected Hall as he ended the first inning with back-to-back strikeouts but threw 11 balls out of 16 pitches in the second inning. Likewise, 8 of 11 pitches into the third inning were balls; the cold just caused Hall to lose the feel for the baseball.
At 19 years old, Hall has a fastball the sits in the mid 90’s and can hit 95 mph when needed; his curveball is considered a plus pitch as well. If his debut is any indication, fans can expect positive things from him in 2018. He should meet, if not exceed, expectations the rest of the season.
There was an excitement in the air on the two occasions when Hall pitched. I anticipate that excitement continuing throughout the rest of the season. The Orioles may very well have found a gem with this draft pick; time will tell. I am certain, however, that if Orioles fans see Hall pitch when they visit the Eastern Shore they will come away impressed and optimistic for the future. This young man is the real deal; mark my words.
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