TODAY: The Orioles have officially announced Hall’s promotion. left handed Nick Vespic was chosen for Triple-A to make way on Baltimore’s active roster.
2:59 pm: Top pitching prospect DL Hall travels to the Orioles in St. Petersburg for their upcoming series against the Rays, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed that Hall was promoted, but suggested that the team has yet to decide when he will pitch for the first time (via Andy Kostka of the Baltimore Sun).
It’s been half a decade since Hall entered the organization as the 21st overall pick in the 2017 draft. He was a Georgia high school product and received a $3MM signing bonus based on a mid-term fastball. 90s and a curveball that most reviewers considered at the very least a plus. Hall also showed a promising substitution, but had some questions about the consistency of the batting ability.
That report — monstrous raw stuff combined with spotty control — may have gotten even more extreme during his time in the professional ranks. Baseball America wrote during the off-season that Hall now hits 100 MPH and averages around 97 MPH on his heater. That’s an atypical speed for any starter, but particularly rare for a left-hander. Among MLB starters with 30+ innings on the season, Jesus Luzardo and Shane McClanahan are the only left-handers with an average speed north of 96 MPH (although Carlos Rodon, Blake Fast and Aaron Ashby are all between 95.5 MPH and 96 MPH).
BA credits Hall with two different breaking pitches—a mid-80s slider and a slightly softer curveball—and rates both as at least above-average offerings. The outlet also credits him with the solid change he has had in his arsenal for a long time, giving him one of the better repertoires for any young pitcher. Hall was in the top 60 of BA’s overall prospects to enter in the past four years, earning the #59 ranking in the latest update from last week’s publication.
Unsurprisingly, that elite arsenal has translated into many minor league-level gadgets. Hall has fueled more than a third of opponents at each stop since hitting High-A in 2019. That includes a huge strikeout rate of 36% to 18 starts with Triple-A Norfolk this season. Among International League pitchers with 50+ frames, teammate only Grayson Rodriguez (who is widely regarded as the best pitcher in the sport) has knocked out hitters with better clipping.
However, unlike Rodriguez, Hall still has to use his arsenal consistently. He has walked more than 10% of the batters faced at every level and has handed free passes to 13.9% of opponents in Norfolk. No qualified big league starter has a running speed that comes close to such a high level, and it is the third highest among that group of International League pitchers with 50 or more innings. The free passes, combined with an increased batting average of .340 on balls in play against him, contributed to a mediocre 4.76 ERA over his first 70 Triple-A innings.
Nevertheless, the Orioles will be taking a look at Hall against big league-hitters in what is surprisingly a crucial series for Baltimore. They are 58-53 on the year, just half a game behind the Tampa Bay club, against which he will likely make his debut for the American League’s final Wild Card spot. The next three games are arguably as important as any games the franchise has played in more than five years. Giving Hall the ball in one of those games is a strong vote of confidence in the 23-year-old.
Hall is already on the 40-man roster, having been added last season to avoid being drafted into the Rule 5 draft that never happened. He is in the first of three minor league option years and could definitely bounce between Baltimore and Norfolk in the coming weeks. We’re well past the date when Hall either gets a full season of service time or enough to have a serious possibility of qualifying for early arbitration as a Super Two player after 2024. Even if he’s in the major leagues from now on , he will not come to arbitration until after the 2025 campaign and will not make a free decision until the low season of 2028-29. That trajectory could be further narrowed by future options for the minor leagues.