When the Orioles drafted Canadian prep shortstop Adam Hall in the second round in 2017, it wasn’t long before he signed and began to play in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He began his pro career going 6-for-9 in his first two games with a double, triple, four runs scored, a stolen base and two RBIs.
Hard to get off to a much better start for the right-handed hitter from A.B. Lucas Secondary School in London, Ontario. But then Hall suffered an oblique strain that ended his 2017 season after such a promising beginning. He was healthy by instructional league last fall and played very well during extended spring training this year, getting his career back on track. He’s back with an affiliate now and recently started the season with short season Single-A Aberdeen.
Ranked as the Orioles’ No. 17 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and No. 18 by Baseball America, Hall was drafted No. 60 overall last year and signed for an above-slot $1.3 million.
So far with the IronBirds, Hall has gotten off to a slow start. He’s batting .176 (6-for-34) in eight games. He did have his first two-hit game on Thursday and went 3-for-9 with a double over back-to-back games before going 0-for-3 last night. But he’s got plenty of promise on both offense and defense, and a pro career is really just starting here.
According to O’s staffers that watched Hall in extended spring, he played well both at bat and in the field.
“I just felt that I’ve improved at every aspect of my game,” Hall said recently at Aberdeen of his play during extended spring in April into June. “My fielding has really come along, baserunning and just overall hitting, as well.”
Aberdeen manager Kyle Moore has been impressed so far.
“Really toolsy player with some talent that has squared some balls up,” Moore said. “Had a great extended. Everyone I’ve talked with was really excited about every phase of his game during extended spring. You really like to hear about a high school draft pick from Canada that is really raw doing that. Stole some bases, hit for a high average, played good defense. He hit a ball 105 mph the other night for us.
“Now we need to just let him go out and get as many reps as he can at shortstop. The game is probably coming at him 1,000 mph at this point as a young guy. Just run him out there every day, let him learn and see how he handles everything.”
Hall said he has not really set any goals for this summer at Aberdeen.
“Nothing too specific. Just keep having good at-bats, play good defense,” he said. “Steal some bags, as well. I just mostly need to learn how to manage playing through a full season and get used to playing every day. We saw some of these pitchers in extended. I haven’t really found it overwhelming, but competitive. Hopefully, a couple of hits will fall soon.”
While Hall was drafted out of a high school in Canada by the Orioles, he spent the first 12 years of his life in Bermuda.
“Bermuda is not really a big baseball country,” Hall said. “It’s pretty small, a population of about 65,000, So baseball there is pretty much just house league. And then I moved to Canada at 12 and started playing there. We managed to find some pretty good programs there and just kind of went from there. Baseball has definitely grown there.”
The Orioles saw Hall play a prominent role for the Canadian Junior National Team and felt he showed some potential plus tools with his arm and speed and showed solid bat speed.
As a high draft pick, he is a bit of a marked man, but said that is nothing to be concerned with.
“You know, once you get in the system, no one really cares where you were drafted. Everyone is trying to make it. They are just going at you like they go at anyone else,” Hall said.
Going for a sweep: After scoring 17 runs and winning Friday and Saturday at Atlanta, the Orioles go for a three-game sweep this afternoon. After going 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in three games in Washington, the Orioles are 10-for-21 in Atlanta. They have won seven in a row from the Braves, dating to 2012.
They scored seven runs on two swings yesterday. Mark Trumbo hit a first-inning grand slam off Julio Teheran. He blasted one 108.7 mph and it went out 412 feet to center field. It was the Orioles’ third slam of the year. Earlier, Pedro Álvarez hit one and so did Manny Machado. Trumbo has a seven-game batting streak and is hitting .346 with four homers and nine RBIs in this span.
First baseman Chris Davis helped the club open a 7-1 lead with a three-run double in the fifth that hit high up on the wall, not missing a second slam by much. Davis has returned to the lineup going 2-for-8 over the last two days with a homer and five RBIs. In his previous 24 games, he had no homers and two RBIs.
Getting production from Trumbo and Davis is no doubt big for an Orioles offense that has finally scored some runs. They’ve scored seven runs or more four times in the last six games, scoring 39 in that stretch.
Mountcastle and Hanifee notes: Double-A Bowie’s Ryan Mountcastle had six hits in a doubleheader last night as the Baysox split at Richmond. Mountcastle went 4-for-4 in the opener and 2-for-3 in the nightcap for a 6-for-7 twinbill. Mountcastle had hits in his first six at-bats last night and has 12 hits over his last 16 at-bats. He’s now batting .311 in 42 games.
At Single-A Delmarva, right-hander Brenan Hanifee pitched eight scoreless, allowing just three hits, in a 4-0 win over Kannapolis. Hanifee did not walk a batter and fanned four, throwing 61 of his 86 pitches for strikes. He is now 6-3 with a 2.61 ERA. Hanifee’s eight innings are a career high and he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.