MINNEAPOLIS - The numbers over the past few starts didn’t impress. They might have concerned fans begging the organization to bring him to the majors as the next elite prospect to make his debut, setting the alarm early on Mondays, when these promotions usually happen.
DL Hall is fine. He’s made 11 starts at the Triple-A level after being held to only seven last summer at Double-A due to a stress reaction in his left elbow. The Orioles slow-played him in the spring, careful to build up his innings at a safe pace.
The nine earned runs (12 total) and 10 walks in 7 2/3 innings in his previous two starts before last night left his ERA at 5.17 and WHIP at 1.591. But he had 59 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings for the season. He allowed one run and struck out 11 in 4 1/3 before those next two starts, which quieted some of the outside talk about promoting him.
Inside the organization, everyone has the same faith in Hall and sees the same qualities that make him profile as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
They were on display last night with four scoreless innings, one hit allowed and eight strikeouts against Gwinnett. The only hit was a bunt single, and Hall exited after 71 pitches.
He's more than fine.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said earlier this week that Hall’s stuff “has been incredible.”
“He’s right, the stuff has been great,” said Norfolk pitching coach Justin Ramsey.
“He was throwing more strikes (Sunday) than I’ve ever seen him throw in terms of just getting ahead. The first three innings, I think, ended up being 58 pitches, but it was only 12 balls, so it wasn’t efficient in terms of getting outs, but it wasn’t because of a lack of command. So that was good to see.
“He’s growing as we go through this. We’ve identified a couple things that we really want to chip away at that we think will help clean up the longer at-bats, I guess I’ll say. It was a bad, obviously, week, but we think, long-term, this will be good for him in terms of his growth and where he can go from here. We’re actually really excited to see where he goes with his next couple outings here.”
Grayson Rodriguez probably would be pitching for the Orioles except for the Grade 2 lat strain that might end his season.
Rodriguez is in Sarasota, letting the lat heal and still hoping to pitch again in September.
No one questions whether he was ready.
“He was absolutely working his butt off to get up there,” Ramsey said.
“The main thing was to get the innings under him and make sure he’s built up the right way and make sure he was used to facing a lineup for the third time, which he really hadn’t done since once or twice in 2019, because he was still a pup, and so we didn’t have a huge runway of innings. But once he checked those boxes, which he had done, yeah, it was really exciting to see where he's headed because we know what he’s capable of.”
Ramsey was in Baltimore during the three-game series against the Rays and two-game set versus the Nationals. He attended meetings with the pitching department on the off-day.
Minor league managers or coaches often are invited onto the staff in September. This was a little different.
“Obviously, it was awesome to be there,” Ramsey said, “an honor to be around and just take in what I can, which is really the point of that is to go observe and, hopefully, take at least one thing back to the minor league side that we can do better to help prepare these guys when they’re going up there. Because that’s really what our job is, to make sure it’s as seamless a transition for those guys as they get ready to go into that monster that is the AL East.”