Tale of the Tape
Age on Draft Day: 18 years, 9 mos.
Weight: 190 lbs.
One of the top prep arms heading in to the spring for this year’s draft, Hall is a slight-of-build lefty with an advanced arsenal of pitches for his age. That 6’1’’’ height doesn’t scream upside (his stature has also varied by publication - some places have him an inch shorter or taller) but he’s pitching in a fertile watershed for prep players and could be a #2 starter at his ceiling.
Even though the state of Georgia has actually produced more prep draft selections from the position player front in recent years, the state is still ripe with pitching talent - Hall and fellow Georgian Mackenzie Gore should both go in the top 15 picks this year. Regardless of position, it’s one of the best locations in the country to showcase prep talent in terms of weather (playing time), competition (facing top prep hitters) and location to many MLB teams and their scouting departments.
So Hall will attempt to continue these recent trends with an advanced fastball and one of the best curveballs in the draft that make him one of the safer prep arms to come around in some time. Hall’s fastball sits in the low 90s (90-94 range) and can touch 95 on occasion - the fastball from an 18-year old would offer enough to dream on, but his curveball is exceptional and will push his professional floor even higher. Hall has a developing changeup that’s not very dependable right now but could work itself into an average or above-average pitch down the road.
Hall’s curve gets a paragraph of it’s own because it’s very good: That breaking pitch clocks in the mid-70s and has great depth and sweeping action, as well as a high spin rate as reported by MLB.com (Luhnow alert). It can also get slurvy, suggesting differentiation and shape change that should help distinguish it from the normal 12-6 form at the pro level. That curveball projects as a plus offering, although Hall gets mixed reports on his overall command/control of his pitches.
Back on the projectability/athleticism/height thing: Many reports from scouts and evaluators actually sound optimistic about Hall’s athleticism. It helps that he’s not a lumbering hurler over 200 lbs. - remember, we’re trying to project 18-year olds, who still should be growing. Hall’s delivery also has some effort to it, so it could use some tweaking to potentially improve his command. Any projection (which is possible if he’s really bigger than his reported height) could push his fastball consistently up a few ticks on the radar gun and help with that command.
Though fellow Georgian Mackenzie Gore is considered a “polished” prep arm, Hall’s left-handedness, experience on the high school showcase circuit and advanced breaking ball give him a considerably higher floor than many prep arms (and even some college ones) that we normally cover in draft years. He’s still 4-to-5 years off from the majors due to simply learning how to pitch as he fills into his frame, but will be nice long-term pitching prospect for whichever team drafts him.
Projected Draft Range
Most mocks and draft rankings have hall within 9-15 range without a ton of fluctuation. He’s been known in scouting circles for quite some time so I imagine most scouting departments are comfortable with that ranking. I definitely don’t think Hall is the best prep pitcher in this class, but the breaking stuff and left-handedness give him a pretty high floor for a prep arm so I’d be surprised to see him fall past the #13-15 range. Miami loves prep arms, has probably seen him a ton of times due to location and has the 13th pick so that could be his floor.
Does he make sense for the Astros?
He’s a prep lefty with some obvious risk, but the high-ish floor with advanced breaking stuff puts him on a similar projection level as Forrest Whitley. He would probably be BPA when Houston picks at #15, though it would be interesting if the Astros draft a prep pitcher two years in a row even if he’s available.
Will He Sign?
Hall is committed to Florida State. If he falls near the #20 range or lower, I could see him packing it up, pitching in Tallahassee for three years and coming back around in 2020.
Major League Comparison
Scott Kazmir. It makes too much sense, even though it’s frightening since the Astros were burned with that mid-season acquisition two years ago. Slight lefty, plus breaking stuff, #2 starter ceiling at his best. Even their deliveries are uncannily similar.