O's prospect DL Hall to begin season in Minors
Lefty will stretch out at Triple-A after being limited by injury in Spring Training
SARASOTA, Fla. -- DL Hall's build-up as a starting pitcher will continue in the Minors.
The Orioles announced they optioned Hall to Minor League camp following Sunday afternoon's 4-2 win over the Phillies, meaning the 24-year-old left-hander won’t be breaking camp with the big league team and will instead open the 2023 season with Triple-A Norfolk. It was among the toughest decisions the club needed to make during Spring Training.
Hall, Baltimore’s No. 7 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 97 overall prospect, had a slow ramp-up this spring due to right lower lumbar discomfort he experienced during an offseason workout in February. He pitched in only two Grapefruit League games, allowing four runs (two earned) and striking out seven over four innings.
“We’re really happy with the progress he made,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I love the way he threw the ball all Spring Training when he was out there. We just want to get him a few more innings and build him up a little bit more.”
The Orioles remain optimistic Hall has a long-term future as a starter. He’s made only one big league start, which came last Aug. 13, when he allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in his MLB debut, a spot start vs. the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Last September, Baltimore called up Hall again to provide a boost to its bullpen when it was in the American League Wild Card hunt down the stretch, and he posted a 3.60 ERA in 10 appearances. He allowed only one run in 8 2/3 innings over his final eight games of the season.
Rather than trying to build Hall back up to starting length while he’s working out of the big league ‘pen, Hyde believes it will be more beneficial for the southpaw to pitch in the Triple-A rotation early in 2023.
“It’s hard to build guys in the bullpen, honestly, just because you never know what’s going to happen night to night,” Hyde said. “We just felt like the best thing for him, right now, is to keep him as a starter and get him stretched out at Norfolk.”
Hall’s longest outing of the spring came Saturday night, when he went 2 1/3 innings vs. the Pirates. So Hyde noted it’s going to “take a few starts” for Hall to be built all the way up.
After his final Grapefruit relief appearance, Hall said he thinks his feel for his pitches is “at an all-time high.” His focus has been on regaining stamina -- because he hasn’t worked as a starter since his MLB debut -- and proving he belongs in the Majors.
“I’m going to do anything I can to be pitching at the big league level,” Hall said Saturday night. “I’m just going to keep pushing and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
Though that will be taking place in the Minors for now, Hyde seems encouraged about Hall’s potential impact on the Orioles’ pitching staff down the line.
“None of these guys want to hear they’re not breaking with us, but I think that he took it like a pro,” Hyde said. “I think it’s just a matter of time for him.”