Orioles pitching prospect D.L. Hall, who is currently on the injured list with Double-A Bowie, says he has a unique and special bond with teammates Grayson Rodriguez and Adley Rutschman.
“I think at the alternate site last year, I didn’t really know Adley. I had met him at spring training. I didn’t really know Grayson, either. Same thing, I met him at spring training,” Hall said on Glenn Clark Radio July 7. “… We went to the alternate site together and we were kind of just like the three younger guys. We were all around each other because we were younger and we didn’t really know anybody, so we all started hanging out and then we became pretty close friends.”
Hall sees his bond with Rodriguez and Rutschman lasting a long time with the Orioles.
“It’s pretty cool to think that us three can be up there together,” Hall said. “Pretty exciting times for the Orioles.”
Hall, 22, was drafted in the first round (21st overall) as a prep left-hander out of Georgia in 2017. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Hall had a 3.13 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 31.2 innings (seven starts) this season before hitting the injured list in June with elbow tendinitis. He is very hopeful that he’ll be ready to roll in a few weeks.
Hall ranks No. 4 on MLB Pipeline’s Orioles prospect list. Rodriguez has won six games with a 2.02 ERA and 85 strikeouts between the Baysox and High-A Aberdeen. Rutschman is hitting .283/.413/.921 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs entering play July 13.
Hall is always trying to grow as a pitcher. He touched on how he appreciates it when Rutschman meets him after an inning to talk about the at-bats that just occurred.
“For me, I enjoy it. I feel like it’s just positive energy. He always comes jogging up to you with a little grin on his face or something after maybe you made somebody look dumb, bad swing or something,” Hall said.
Hall was in the midst of an astonishing year for the Baysox prior to going down with the injury (15.9 strikeouts per nine innings). He is a believer that practice makes perfect and thinks that he can get even better than he already is.
“I go through games all the time that I pitched this year and I’m like, ‘That should have been a strikeout, that should have been a strikeout. There should have been four or five extra strikeouts in those two games,'” Hall said.
In describing the mindset he has on the mound, Hall said that when a batter has two strikes on him, he just wants to strike the batter out and go on to the next one.
“With two strikes, I feel like for most pitchers it’s the best as far as our mental head space,” Hall said. “It’s the best because we’re ahead and I feel like I have control.”
Asked whether he has a preferred out pitch, Hall said he is comfortable throwing his secondary stuff despite possessing a fastball that reaches the upper 90s.
“I love striking guys out with a fastball … but sometimes guys are ready for that,” Hall said, “so you’ve got to throw other things.”
Hall experienced some difficulties early in his pro career in terms of walking batters. Since then, he has worked to improve his command. He walked 6.0 hitters per nine innings in 2019. That’s down to 4.5 this year.
“It’s definitely been huge,” Hall said. “That’s something that I hold near and dear to my heart because I’ve heard it my entire minor league career. It gets annoying, to say the least, hearing it over and over again. Last year with the alternate site and this offseason I told myself, ‘I’m going to come back and not give them any reason to talk about that anymore.'”
There are a lot of Orioles fans right now who are paying attention to the Baysox. Hall loves the feeling of playing in Bowie because of the energy in the park, and he is very excited for what is ahead for the Orioles’ organization.
“Being able to see those crowds in Bowie, it’s been a lot better this year, just with all the guys we have and excitement surrounding the team,” Hall said. “The crowds have been a lot better. On certain nights, Orioles fans have shown up and it’s been a lot of fun to experience that atmosphere. … Hopefully we can bring that winning spirit to Baltimore one day.”
For more from Hall, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: William Vaughan/Bowie Baysox