2019 Level: A+
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: Mid-rotation starting pitcher
Ceiling: Top of the rotation starter
What we know: The Orioles 1st round pick back in 2017, DL Hall has some of, if not the best left-handed stuff in the minor leagues. Late in the season his fastball was routinely 94-97mph over 90+ pitches. He has three other pitches that’ll show plus at times. His changeup features well over 10mph of velocity separation from his fastball and he throws it with great arm speed. His curveball used to be his premium out pitch, but he’s tweaked it some to be more of a tool for getting called strikes and a third pitch against righties. The reason for this is because he’s developed a really good slider that’s a better swing and miss pitch. It’s harder for lefties to lay off it than the curve due to it’s higher velocity and horizontal break. It’s an MLB all-star level assortment of pitches right now. He led the Carolina League in strikeout rate (min 70IP) despite being the second youngest pitcher in the league. He still needs to hone his command and learn to pitch at the highest levels, but his potential is enormous.
What we don’t know: Hall worked on throwing his offspeed stuff in fastball counts this past season. He also faced hitters whose best option against him was to leave the bat on their shoulders since he was extraordinarily hard to hit. The result was a high walk rate despite not being particularly wild. While he’s generally around the zone, his present command is below average. The biggest question is how the command will progress. There is relief risk if it doesn’t improve.
What we think: Hall is super athletic and I like his chances of tightening up his command and developing into a #2/#3 SP. He has a mechanically sound delivery that makes the most of his strong lower half, but he’s still learning how to finish consistently from the stretch. Since he already has an elite arsenal of pitches, his development can focus on landing his offspeed stuff for strikes in any count and better commanding of his fastball. He’s young enough that you can really dream on the ceiling. If average or better command develops, you’re looking at a true top of the rotation dude.
Another Take: Hall has all the makings of a mid-rotation starter if he can improve his command enough to allow him to go deep into games. He’s got plenty of swing and miss stuff between his four pitches, including a fastball that sits plus and can reach plus-plus status from the left side. Batters couldn’t hit him slashing just .189/.328/.264/.592 but his 2.15 SO/W despite his 12/9 K/9 needs to improve as he moves up. He allowed just three home runs all season, but allowed more fly balls (44.8%) than ground balls (35.2%) for the first time in his career as he worked the upper part of the zone more leading to more strikeouts. Next year will be a good test for Hall to see if his command can improve enough to dominate the more mature hitters in the Eastern League. Hall has a floor of an impact reliever and upside of a TOR if his command improves. Only injury can derail a major league career. (Tony Pente)