TODAY: The Orioles officially announced Hall’s promotion. Left handed Nick Vespi was chosen to Triple-A to make a place in the active roster of Baltimore.
2:59 p.m.: Top prospect DL Hall travels to meet the Orioles in St. Petersburg for their upcoming series against the Rays, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link). Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed that Hall has been promoted but suggested that the team has yet to decide when he will start first (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. A Georgia high school product, he received a $3MM signing bonus on the strength of a mid-90s fastball and curveball that most evaluators considered at least a surplus offer. Hall also showed a promising changeup but had some questions about the consistency of strike-throwing ability.
That report — monstrous rawness paired with spotty control — became perhaps even more extreme during his time in the professional ranks. Baseball America wrote during the offseason that Hall now touches 100 MPH and averages about 97 MPH on his heater. That’s atypical speed for any starter but especially rare for a left-hander. between MLB starters with 30+ innings on the season, Jesus Lizard and Shane McClanahan are the only southpaws averaging north of 96 MPH (although Charles Rodon, Blake Snell and Aaron Ashby are all between 95.5 MPH and 96 MPH).
BA credits Hall with two distinct breaking pitches — a mid-80s slider and a slightly softer curveball — and classifies both as at least above-average offerings. The outlet also credits him with the solid changeup he’s long had in his arsenal, giving him one of the better repertoires for any young pitcher. Hall has appeared among BA’s top 60 overall prospects entering each of the past four years, and he earned the #59 ranking in last week’s publication’s latest update.
That elite arsenal has unsurprisingly translated into plenty of whiffs at the minor league level. Hall has fanned more than a third of opponents at every stop since hitting High-A in 2019. That includes a massive 36% strikeout rate through 18 starts with Triple-A Norfolk this season. Among International League pitchers with 50+ frames, only teammate Grayson Rodriguez (who is widely regarded as the top pitching prospect in the sport) struck out batters at a better clip.
Unlike Rodriguez, however, Hall has yet to consistently utilize his arsenal. He walked more than 10% of batters faced at each level and handed out free passes to 13.9% of opponents in Norfolk. No qualified big league starter has a walk rate anywhere near that high, and it’s the third-highest mark among that group of International League pitchers with 50 or more innings. The free passes, coupled with an elevated .340 batting average on balls in play against him, contributed to a lackluster 4.76 ERA over his first 70 Triple-A innings.
However, the Orioles are ready to watch Hall against big league hitters in what is a surprisingly pivotal series for Baltimore. They are 58-53 on the year, just a half game behind the Tampa Bay club he will likely make his debut against for the last American League Wild Card spot. The next three games are arguably as important as any the franchise has played in more than five years. Giving Hall the ball in any of those contests is a strong show of faith in the 23-year-old.
Hall is already on the 40-man roster, having been added last offseason to prevent him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft that never ended up happening. He is in the first of three minor league option years and could certainly bounce between Baltimore and Norfolk over the next few weeks. We’re well past the date for Hall to get either a full season of service time or enough to have a serious chance of qualifying for early arbitration as a Super Two player after 2024. Even if he’s in the big leagues from here on out. , he won’t reach arbitration until after the 2025 campaign and won’t hit free agency until the 2028-29 offseason. That trajectory could be pushed back further by future picks to the minor leagues.