Orioles No. 2 Pitching Prospect DL Hall To Debut Saturday

The southpaw with electric stuff, but sometimes-spotty command, will start against the Rays in Tampa.

DL Hall
BOWIE, MD - MAY 16, 2021: D.L. Hall of the Bowie Baysox throws a pitch against the Reading Fightin Phils at Prince George's Stadium on May 16, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland. (Photo by 2021 Rodger Wood/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

More help is on the way for the surging Orioles, this time in the form of their top left-handed pitching prospect, DL Hall. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the former first round pick will make his MLB debut on Saturday on the road against their divisional rival Rays.

Hall, 23, saw his 2021 season cut to just 32 2/3 innings due to a stress reaction in his elbow, but returned this season looking as good as ever.

Our No. 45 prospect in our Preseason Top 100 list, Hall is poised to rise in our soon-to-be-released top prospect update thanks to his astronomical 36% strikeout rate in Triple-A with three pitches that flash at least plus.

The Book on Hall

You’d be hard-pressed to find a southpaw with better stuff than Hall, but command continues to be a challenge for him. Hall’s 70-grade heater leads the way for him in the upper 90s and can even touch triple digits. His fastball command has improved quite a bit, which is probably what encouraged the O’s to promote their second-best pitching prospect.

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Hall’s slider is devastating to lefties and is sharp enough to bury into the back leg of righties. Improved feel for the changeup has led to Hall leaning on the pitch plenty against righties and it often looks like a plus offering. He also features a change of pace curveball that flashes above average.

Handing out free passes at a 14% clip has inflated Hall’s ERA to 4.76, but he has shown flashes of the kind of brilliance that could translate to big league gems. In his 20 starts this season, Hall has punched out at least seven hitters in nine of them. Most notably, Hall punched out 14 Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp last month.

The State of the Orioles

The Orioles enter this weekend’s pivotal series a half-game back from the Rays for the final playoff spot in the American League. Arguably baseball’s most pleasant surprise this season, Baltimore has pieced together a league-average rotation while leaning on the game’s best bullpen in the eyes of fWAR (5.4).

Baltimore’s already-thin rotation took a big hit when right-hander Tyler Wells hit the 15-Day IL with an oblique injury, though the team has been in need of a left-handed starter since John Means went down with Tommy John surgery at the season’s start.

With the bullpen’s ability to shorten games for the Orioles, Hall does not need to twirl complete games to make an impact. They’re in need of quality starts and Hall has proven that when he is on, he can miss bats at any level.

On top of needing a left-hander in the rotation, the Orioles could also use a swing-and-miss starter. Hall’s 36% strikeout rate in Triple-A is double that of Orioles starters this season. There could be some growing pains for Hall as he gets accustomed to the big league stage and not long ago, we saw the Rays spoil top Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Bello’s debut.

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That said, promoting Hall seems to be a risk worth taking, especially when you consider the fact that he was already on the 40-man roster.

Hall has the ability to be the most dominant starter the Orioles currently have right from the jump. He will be reunited with his Triple-A Norfolk battery mate in Adley Rutschman as the Orioles look to continue their improbable run.