As these words are being written, Jonathan Schoop just tossed a baseball needlessly into the third base stands, Dylan Bundy can’t find the plate, and Manny Machado just whipped a throwing error after a 12-beers-deep pirouette. So, you could say things are going as scripted for the Birds as they have for the better part of a month.
It’s been bad. Like, bad to the point where I haven’t watched nine full innings in about two weeks, which is unfortunate, because there’s nothing left to watch on Netflix and I stink at MLB: The Show ‘17. I literally have nothing else to do than watch the Orioles devour themselves.
If the Orioles continue to stink like a hungover fart, the construction of the franchise’s future will obviously become an increasingly urgent source of discussion.
There is no better way for the Orioles to lay the groundwork for the swift demands of a rebuild than to identify talent with upside, and draft said players. One of the things the Orioles did over the course of the last three days was target pitching and a handful of toolsy athletes at shortstop and center field, a familiar strategy when the draft screenplay tends to mirror the deflation that comes after scratching away all the numbers on a lottery ticket.
You want all the numbers, you feel good about ‘em, but not everyone wins the Powerball. On Monday, the Orioles walked out of the first-round gas station hoping 18-year old left-handed pitcher D.L. Hall is a rare jackpot.
Initial scans from experts more adept than I to provide a scouting opinion on Hall show a kid with a lot going for him. Already sitting 92-95 MPH with glimpses of 96 MPH on the fastball, Hall is the kind of arm that not only looks like a bona fide first-rounder, but you kind of wonder how he was capable of falling to 21st overall.
The first thing that stands out with Hall, for a high schooler, is he utilizes a very repeatable, smooth delivery. The Orioles, as they did with Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, will probably tweak his delivery in the slightest terms, asking him to maybe get just a bit taller en route to home plate and perhaps cut down on his obtuse arm action.
In the limited viewings available, such issues lead to a lot of fastballs flailing high and out of the zone, the cause of slightly inconsistent arm slots, but expect the O’s to tweak him such that he is more downward to home plate, an ailment to his loose fastball command.
Already comfortably low-to-mid 90’s with his fastball, Hall does have room to grow at 6’2, 180 pounds. There’s enough space available to believe he can bulk up to close to 200 pounds, projecting him to a very solid frame. Notably, when he is compact with his mechanics and because his delivery does somewhat hide the baseball, his fastball does seem to sneak up on hitters. Even with an above-average heater, Hall’s moneymaker is his big daddy hook.
Classified as a 1-7 breaker (I concur), Baseball America describes Hall’s curveball with a lot of shine, saying “some scouts grade it as a future 60 while optimists have rated it as high as a 70.” The motion is seconded, given the damn thing bites like a pissed-off wolverine. Still a baseball baby, Hall already has a devastating go-to breaking ball that for all intents and purpose, looks like a big-league pitch.
Hall also features a pretty good slider that has some tight left-to-right bite, but his changeup is a little bit flat that doesn’t carry a whole lot of downward fade or much tilt. But when he throws it right, it looks like a pitch with that can be built up.
Nevertheless, you see a lefty with natural fastball push, a bombarding breaking ball, a usable slider and changeup that can be improved, and you have a pitcher with an upward trajectory.
It’s encouraging to hear the rave reviews in regards to Hall, especially given the O’s need for arms on the farm. This is the kind of super-upside kid that isn’t going to be in any sort of rush to to be an Oriole, and though Gausman has skidded off the road and the franchise is notorious for not developing top-tier, starting caliber arms, the way the O’s groom pitchers seems to be a fit for Hall’s development.
It’s never a sure thing, but the only issue O’s fans should have going to have in the immediate future is his choice in cinema.
And hey, as you already know, the Orioles ended up winning last night. See? Everything’s coming up Orioles.