ABERDEEN, Md. — Four weeks ago, DL Hall pitched his triple-digit fastball in a Grapefruit League game against the Phillies. On Tuesday, the southpaw arrived at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium to begin what he hopes will be a trip to Baltimore.
Hall will begin his season in the coming days with the High-A IronBirds, officially resuming his Minor League career after a left elbow stress reaction forced him to miss the final three and a half months of the 2021 season.
“I feel good,” Hall said. “It was a long journey. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had time to use the rubber in a game, but I’m just excited to put it in the rear view mirror and continue to advance.
Hall has been training at the Orioles’ facility in Sarasota, Fla. since March 28, when he was drafted after his perfect inning against the Phillies in Clearwater. The 23-year-old southpaw averaged 99.1 mph with his 11 fastballs that day, showing what ranked him as the Orioles’ No. 5 prospect (and No. 89 on the MLB Top 100 Pipeline) at the start of the season.
“It was awesome, lots of adrenaline,” Hall said of the outing, which was his first since June 12. “It was just a great feeling to be back in the game in that game setting.”
Hall wasn’t the only Orioles top prospect to show up in Aberdeen on Tuesday; Adley Rutschman – the club’s No. 1 prospect and baseball’s No. 2 prospect – was due to make his first appearance in rehab on Tuesday night after missing most of spring training due to a strain. right triceps.
Hall and Rutschman are part of a promising farming system that makes Orioles feel good about their future. While the duo may not be playing together in Baltimore in the immediate future, they are excited about the prospects of what lies ahead.
“It’s definitely a thought that goes through our heads; I can’t lie,” Hall said. “It’s very exciting, not just with us, but with all the guys coming. Everybody in this farming system, there’s just a lot of talented guys. It’s super exciting to know that the future of the Orioles is in good hands, that’s for sure.
The IronBirds haven’t announced when Hall will make his Aberdeen debut, but after building his arm over the past month, the 2017 first-round pick is chomping at the bit to get back on the mound.
“I’m a few weeks away from really being let go. But I’m pretty well built right now, so we’ll see how far it goes in the game,” Hall said. “[The injury] is in my rear view mirror. I feel great – arms feel great, body feels better than it’s ever been. I think I’m more ready this year than ever.
Hall was 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA in seven starts last season before injury ended his year prematurely. Although he didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic, he hopes to end up in the Majors in 22.
“That’s my ultimate goal,” Hall said. “That’s what I want to do; I want to be there. It’s been a long road, so I’m ready.