Red-hot Hall making strong case for bench spot

March 6th, 2023

SARASOTA, Fla. -- figures he must hit this spring to have any chance to make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

What else is new?

“I’ve got to hit,” he said recently. “That’s my calling card.”

Hall is hitting. He went 2-for-3 with a home run in Monday’s 10-7 loss to the Orioles in a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium. He is batting .400 (6-for-15) with two home runs, four RBIs, three walks and four strikeouts in six games.

It is not just against right-handers, either. Hall is showing something against lefties, too. He singled against Orioles left-hander Cole Irvin in the first inning on Monday and he walked twice against Pirates left-handers on Saturday.

Hall credits a more selective approach at the plate.

“Let’s just say you have power, a good swing plane, all those tools,” Hall said on Monday. “That’s your ability. But how you control your own destiny is what you swing at. I really believe that. Obviously, at times you’re going to swing at balls or chase. But I realized the only way I can control my own destiny is by swinging at strikes. That’s when the best things happen. I really bought into that.

“You’re controlling your own destiny by what pitches you swing at. Look at [Bryce] Harper. That dude is one of the best at it. Obviously, he has a great amount of tools, the physical tools. But his tools to hit are extremely good, too. That’s the eyes and cognitive part.”

But isn’t that easier said than done? It seems every spring hitters come into camp saying they’re going to try to not chase as much, put the ball in play more, etc.

But being aggressive is just in some hitters’ DNA.

“It’s something I’ve worked on in the offseason with K Long [hitting coach Kevin Long],” Hall said. “We’ve talked about where the ball needs to start, and understanding the ball has to be in a certain place. We’re going to get fooled. We’re going to be late sometimes. We’re going to be early sometimes. At least I know if a ball comes in a certain window, OK, that’s the one. When you’re doing that is when you’re able to be calm on the inside.”

Catcher and utility players and are locks to make the Phillies’ five-man bench. Hall is a top candidate to take one of the final two spots. Also in the mix are , , and , who is not on the 40-man roster.

“Right now I feel like I’m really trusting myself,” Hall said.