CHICAGO - In a bit of a surprise, with many analysts expecting the Orioles to take a college player in the first round, they selected a high-school, left-handed pitcher with their No. 21 overall selection Monday night in the First-Year Player Draft.
The O’s selected DL Hall from Valdosta (Ga.) High School with the pick that began what will be 41 selections over three days for the Orioles.
Hall throws a fastball that sits between 92 and 95 mph, touching 96, along with a curveball and changeup. He has a college commitment to Florida State, but if the O’s took him first, they must be pretty certain they’ll sign him.
Hall is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 14 overall talent in the draft, and No. 18 by Baseball America. MLBPipeline.com’s Jim Callis called the pick “a steal for the Orioles at 21,” on the MLB Network live broadcast.
He is the first high school pitcher the Orioles have taken with a first-round selection since they drafted Hunter Harvey No. 22 overall in 2013. The signing bonus slot for that No. 21 pick is $2,892,400.
The Orioles made two other selections Monday night. They drafted prep shortstop Adam Hall out of A.B. Lucas Secondary School in Ontario. That was a second-round pick and was the No. 60 overall selection. With the 74th overall pick, a selection in competitive balance round B, the Orioles took left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther out of Xavier University, a big strikeout pitcher.
Here are some comments from O’s scouting director Gary Rajsich and DL Hall, from a conference call with reporters Monday night.
Rajsich on Hall: “I’d like to welcome DL to the organization. We’re very excited that he was available for our first selection. We really couldn’t be happier. DL is an exciting pitcher. He’s polished, he has a good delivery, he has a good repertoire of pitches, a good fastball, a good curveball. I think he throws a slider as well, and a good changeup. We project him to be a future starter in our rotation, and it shouldn’t take very long.”
Rajsich on Hall being available when O’s picked: “We weren’t real thrilled with our options there, but we were ready with our contingency picks. I don’t know why DL fell there. I don’t know what the clubs in front of us were thinking, but we weren’t planning on him being there, originally. But when he got closer to our turn to pick, we realized it was a possibility and we began to get pretty excited.”
Hall on his draft day experience: “It was a very exciting, emotional time. It’s always cool to hear your name called on television, and tonight was just a huge night for me and my family - a very exciting night, being here with my family. We’re actually down at the beach, sitting around the TV watching. It’s a very exciting, very emotional time for me and my dad. We’ve done it all together, my whole life, the whole baseball experience. It was overall just emotional.”
Hall was asked if he expects to sign: “It’s a tough decision. I grew up a huge Florida State Seminole fan, but I trust that me and my family will make the right decision here in the coming days, and just see what happens. But either way, I think it’s a blessing to have both of those opportunities, and I couldn’t be more thankful either way.”