Don’t look now, but the Orioles have arrived at a point where one can more easily picture the future. Despite losing an entire year of minor league baseball, Orioles prospects have crept close to claiming a spot in Baltimore.
The Orioles’ outfield best fits this description. Cedric Mullins has taken the league by storm this April, and Austin Hays will return this week after suffering a right hamstring injury. DJ Stewart healed up after a spring injury and immediately took a spot in the heart of the order, and Ryan McKenna got his first taste of big league baseball. Yusniel Diaz will arrive in Baltimore at some point this season, and Anthony Santander has not been traded yet.
Bruce Zimmermann has impressed during his first three starts, and Dean Kremer flashed some potential before being optioned to the alternate site. Several more Orioles’ starters will arrive at some point before Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall get a chance in 2022. Adley Rutschman will catch them all.
The Orioles are still rebuilding, but the pieces are coming together. That’s what makes the lack of high-level infield prospects a touch concerning. MLB.com named only two infielders when ranking Baltimore’s top 10 prospects, and neither Gunnar Henderson or Jordan Westburg have an ETA before 2023. The next tier of Orioles’ infielders, Terrin Vavra and Adam Hall, check in at 12 and 13. Paul Folkemer broke down Vavra on Monday, which brings us to Hall.
The Orioles selected Hall with the 60th pick of the 2017 draft. Hall was just 18 years old when Baltimore drafted him out of the A.B. Lucas Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. He was born in Bermuda before moving to Canada with dreams of playing pro baseball. He captured the attention of many with his play for the Canadian junior national team, and planned to attend Texas A&M prior to signing with the Birds.
Hall posted a respectable .293/.368/.374 slash line at Aberdeen in 2018, but the pride of A.B. Lucas cranked things up a notch the following year. Hall generated significant buzz with a .298/.385/.395 over 122 games at Delmarva. The righty was on pace for another promotion last season prior to the cancelation of the 2020 minor league season.
MLB.com describes Hall as player that can stick at shortstop throughout his development. His strong arm and range are worth noting, especially with many forecasting an eventual shift for Henderson and Westburg. Hall measures just under 6 feet, but his speed is a legitimate difference maker on the field.
Watch above as Hall races home to give Delmarva the lead in the eighth inning. MLB.com notes that he pairs his speed with strong baserunning skills, which is not always a given at 21 years old. Hall has room to add strength, but will likely never poses plus power. Still, he uses the entire field, and remains capable of rocketing one off the Cricket Wireless advertisement.
Hall’s dominant 2019 led to Delmarva Now naming him the number 24 player in ShoreBirds’ history. Shorebirds assistant general manager Jimmy Sweet called him the hardest working kid he’s ever seen. For what it’s worth, Hall checked in one spot ahead of Rutschman.
Hall will likely start the year at Double-A Bowie. His age and lack of experience likely require two years of further development, but MLB.com projects an arrival sometime during 2022. Projecting player’s pathways remains an unprecedented challenge after the lack of a 2020 season.
Hall’s speed provides him a unique advantage. The righty could develop into a utility type, but playing everyday at short remains a possibility. He stole 33 bases with Delmarva, and swiped 22 in just 62 games the year before at Aberdeen.
His unique journey from Bermuda, to Ontario, and now Maryland represents a kid willing to put it all on the line. His physical gifts and mature approach led to a few appearances with the Orioles in Sarasota, and his potential demands further monitoring by all interested parties.
The Orioles’ future infield may be slightly further down the road, but there are contenders within the organization. Henderson received a heaping amount of praise during the offseason, but Hall’s most recent pro performance suggests an entrance to the conversation with Henderson and Westburg.