By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
The Baltimore Orioles selected 18 year old LHP D. L. Hall out of Valdosta High School in Georgia with their 1st (21st overall) pick of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Photo: Baby Birdland
Admittedly, I was not initially pleased that the team selected a High School player in the 1st round. I do not think the team has the ability to wait on the development of a high schooler. The Orioles did well in selecting college players in the 1st round last year (Cody Sedlock and Keegan Akin) and I anticipated they would go that route again this year.
Looking at what Hall brings to the table, I have come to like both the pick and the player.
BabyBirdland’s editor, Josh Michael, called Hall a potential “steal” by the Orioles.
Hall has a high ceiling and was considered one of the top two southpaw prep pitchers in the draft (MacKenzie Gore was the other). He was also thought to be the most polished pitcher of the prep group and was not expected to be available at #21 in most mock drafts.
There is a lot to like about Hall, who the Orioles see as a future starter. Currently listed at 6’ 1” tall and 180 lbs, Hall has a three pitch repertoire: fastball, curve and change-up. His fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range and can hit 96 mph. His curveball is considered his best pitch and has been called exceptional. It clocks in at the mid-70 to low-80 mph range and has a late 1-7 break. Some scouts have rated Hall’s curve as a 60 on the 20-80 scale and even project it to be a 70. The change-up is the lesser of his three pitch arsenal but is showing improvement.
Hall shows good command, a sound delivery and has drawn to comparisons to Scott Kazmir (12 year Major Leaguer, pitched for 6 teams).
As a senior at Valdosta High School, Hall threw 51.1 innings and compiled a 1.36 ERA. He struck out 105, walked 25 and allowed only 24 hits; opponents batted just .129 against him. He was very good with the bat as well, slashing .349/ .439/ .674 with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homeruns and 33 RBI from the #3 hole in the lineup. He was honored as the Georgia Region 1-6A Player of the Year for his performance.
Hall also excelled at the 2016 East Coast Pro Showcase. There he struck out 7 batters in three innings of work in front of the amateur scouting community.
Currently committed to Florida State University, Hall has a huge decision in front of him: honor his commitment and hope that he moves up in the draft three years from now or sign with the Orioles and begin his professional career.
As with any high school draftee, his signability is the one thing that causes me concern. I have seen where it was speculated that he would honor his college commitment if he fell below the #15 pick. I hope those speculations are incorrect as I see Hall bringing many positive attributes to the table. I like this pick and hope to see him in the orange and black later this summer.