Baltimore Orioles: DL Hall is ready to be a Major League pitcher

DL Hall #67 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
DL Hall #67 of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

So far in 2022, the Baltimore Orioles have overseen a vast proliferation of prospects to the higher levels of their minor league system and to the big league club itself.

Adley Rutschman just recently crossed the 130 at-bat threshold and has looked every bit like the player who was considered a consensus top prospect. Kyle Stowers made a brief cameo for the Baltimore Orioles in Toronto.

Gunnar Henderson, this year’s Orioles representative in the MLB Futures Game, is running roughshod on AAA pitching despite being the sixth youngest player to appear in an International League game this season (and replaced Rutschman as a top-five prospect).

Jordan Westburg, Colton Cowser, Coby Mayo, and Connor Norby have all performed well enough to receive promotions. Heston Kjerstad made his long-awaited debut and has hit the ground running in Delmarva. One thing you’ll notice about these names? They’re all hitters.

The progress hasn’t been nearly as widespread or linear for Orioles’ pitching prospects as it has been for their offensive contemporaries. Grayson Rodriguez was excelling in Norfolk and appeared mere days from making his Baltimore Orioles debut until a lat muscle injury stopped him in his tracks.

Kyle Bradish has dealt with command struggles and bad batted ball luck and is currently on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation. A parade of others has kept the Norfolk-to-Baltimore shuttle busy, thanks to mixed results and roster crunching.

Baltimore Orioles: DL Hall is ready to be a Major League pitcher

That statement may have sounded preposterous last week when Hall’s ERA sat at 5.17 after allowing seven earned runs against Lehigh Valley. Still, a possible explanation has been identified and (seemingly) corrected.

Hall surmised that hitters were squaring up his fastball with regularity because he was tipping his pitches and made a corresponding mechanical adjustment after the start, as mentioned above in Allentown.

Even if you have a fastball pushing triple digits, two above-average breaking balls, and an improving changeup like Hall does, it’s hard to get outs if the batter knows what’s coming. Hall has battled with walks throughout his pro career, but could some of those result from batters laying off pitches that he tipped? The early results indicate that this is a possibility.

Hall has started two games since revealing these adjustments, and it’s safe to say whatever he did is working. He struck out 8 in four shutout frames against Braves affiliate Gwinnett, but the standout start came Wednesday night in which he completed six innings for the first time this season and struck out 14 Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Hall’s past two starts have yielded just one earned run and three walks, and he’s struck out 22 of the 38 (58 percent!!!) batters he’s faced. Not terrible! The Orioles rotation is currently short-staffed (pun intended). Austin Voth, another Mike Elias waiver claim special, has set the table neatly as the team’s opener, but Brandon Hyde’s squad would be better served with a confirmed starter in that role.

With Voth, he can appear more frequently and in a role with which he has more familiarity. DL Hall seems to have mastered the AAA level, has the stuff to get MLB hitters out right now and should be making his debut for the Baltimore Orioles sooner than later.