Josh Michael: 2017 first-rounder DL Hall terrific this season

The Orioles are in the midst of a rebuild and gained an influx of prospects that drastically overhauled their top 30 prospects list per MLBPipeline.com. Despite the newcomers, left-handed pitcher DL Hall could still be the cream of the crop and his 2018 performance is proving it.

Hall, 19, was the Orioles’ first-round selection in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Valdosta High School (GA). Many felt it was a bit of a steal to fall to No. 21 in that draft, and after they signed him to a $3 million signing bonus, Hall has lived up to expectations thus far.

After being drafted in 2017, Hall saw some limited action with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles where he posted a 6.97 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP over 10 1/3 innings pitched. He also took part in the O’s fall instructional league where he reportedly made some improvements to his delivery consistency.

That improvement on his delivery has helped with his command. He walked nearly one batter an inning last year, and thus far with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds in 2018, he is walking one batter every two-plus innings.

Overall this season with the Shorebirds, Hall has posted a 2.27 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP and 81 strikeouts over 18 appearances (16 starts) and 75 1/3 innings pitched. He has also held opponents to a .196 batting average and is recording 1.11 groundouts per air outs.

In watching Hall pitch several times this season, the very first thing I noticed is the confidence he shows on the mound. He is not nibbling corners, he is attacking hitters and knows his stuff can get people out.

His stuff has been really good as well. His fastball is still sitting in the 92-94 mph range consistently and I’ve seen it hit 96. His curveball has been very good as well, and I have seen it be absolutely filthy, making batters look silly at times. His changeup has improved per some of the scouts I have talked to and he is using a good mix of pitches in all counts.

One of the five or six favorites for the Orioles’ Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year award this year, Hall has already garnered some awards in 2018. He won back-to-back South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors (July 8 and July 15), as well as winning the O’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month award for July.

I do not expect the awards to slow down for Hall either. When the season wraps up here in about a month, I could easily see Hall earn a MiLB.com organizational All-Star nod, a postseason SAL All-Star nod and would not be surprised to see him possibly creep into some of the national top 100 prospects lists.

Orioles fans are looking forward to the future with the rebuild in progress and make no mistake about it: DL Hall is going to be a big part of that future where fans hope for October baseball to return to Camden Yards.

Josh Michael blogs about the Orioles for Baby Birdland. Follow him on Twitter: @BabyBirdland. His opinions on the Orioles will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s longstanding initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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