A debut in the cleanup spot? Hall steps in

Slugger called up as Phillies try to get lineup going without Harper, Segura

June 30th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Darick Hall was in his Syracuse, N.Y., hotel room playing Xbox a little after midnight Wednesday.

His phone buzzed.

It was a group text from Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Anthony Contreras, who called an immediate team meeting in the hotel lobby because of a security issue. Hall had a bag and wallet stolen from his room in the same hotel a couple of months ago. The incident still upset him.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, no. The same guy is back,’” Hall said before Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to the Braves. “I’m kind of hot. I’m a little angry. [Contreras] is like, ‘The guy came in my room, and we might have to switch hotels. The guy who has my stuff, walked right out that door and headed towards Philly and Darick Hall might be going with him. Congrats.’ I went from being like ‘Grrrrrr’ to ‘Holy cow, this is happening.’”

The Phillies selected Hall’s contract from Lehigh Valley, and Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson hit him cleanup against the Braves. Hall is the first Phillies player to make his big league debut batting cleanup since LeGrant Scott in 1939. He is the first player in baseball to make his big league debut batting cleanup since Kris Bryant in 2015.

“Right in,” Hall said. “Here we go.”

Thomson hit Hall fourth because the Phillies’ lineup is lacking serious punch with Bryce Harper and Jean Segura sidelined for the next several weeks following left thumb surgery and right index finger surgery, respectively.

Nick Castellanos is hitting third in Harper’s absence. He had been hitting cleanup, but he has not homered since May 30. Didi Gregorius hit cleanup Sunday in San Diego, though he had not homered in 135 plate appearances entering that game. The last time a Phillies player hit cleanup with that many plate appearances without a home run was Von Hayes on June 13, 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He entered that game with 242 plate appearances without a homer.

J.T. Realmuto could hit fourth. He has five homers this season, including two in the last five games. But Thomson wanted to split up his lefties, so Realmuto hit fifth. After the first six spots Wednesday, there was Alec Bohm (four homers), Bryson Stott (four homers) and Mickey Moniak (no homers).

Hall, 26, has legitimate power. He batted .269 with 20 home runs, 67 RBIs and an .894 OPS this season. He has 118 homers in six Minor League seasons.

“I feel good,” Hall said. “My favorite thing about this year is that I’ve found some more consistency that I haven’t had in the past. Like the numbers would be there for a while and then something would happen like I’d get out of a routine. This year, I’ve found that happy ground more often to allow for the results to be consistent.”

The Phillies hope Hall provides some pop.

“This is everything that you could ever want,” said Hall, whom the Phillies selected in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. “It makes everything that you’ve done up to this point really worth it. You got to the point where you dreamed to be, worked to be, dedicated years of your life for doing and now you’re here.”