Darick Hall had always been a part of the Phillies’ plans for the 2023 season. Now, due to Rhys Hoskins’ season-ending injury, Hall has a much greater role to play.
Hall, a left-handed hitter, was drafted in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB draft out of Dallas Baptist University. In 660 games in the Minor Leagues across six seasons, Hall averaged 31 home runs per 162 games played.
The Injury Hall Monitor
Typically, when a starter is injured in Major League Baseball, it opens up an opportunity for someone else to step up. Lou Gehrig is a perfect example. In 1925, Gehrig was sitting on the Yankees’ bench when Wally Pipp, the Yankees’ first basemen, asked for a day off due to a headache. Gehrig stepped in, recording three hits, taking the starting job in the process.
While athletes always are looking for a chance to step up, seldom does a player want the chance to come at the cost of a fellow teammate. For Darick Hall, this has now been the case twice.
The rise of Darick Hall
The 27-year-old originally earned his call-up to the Majors last June following Bryce Harper’s injury. At the time, Hall was primarily looked at to help fill in at the Designated Hitter position until Harper returned. He appeared in 41 games on the season, primarily DH’ing, batting .250 with nine home runs.
Following Harper’s Tommy John surgery this offseason, it became clear that Darick Hall was going to be a large part of the Phillies’ plans at DH until Harper’s eventual full return. In 51 at-bats this Spring, Hall has hit 15 hits including five home runs for a 1.027 OPS. He’s also seen as many walks as strikeouts, looking at nine apiece as of Saturday.
And then Rhys Hoskins went down with a torn ACL. Now, between first base and DH, it seems likely that Hall will be an everyday player moving forward for the Phillies. More so, with Hoskins set to enter free agency this offseason, Hall has a chance to show the Phillies that he is their starting first basemen for the foreseeable future.
Room to Grow
The largest issue surrounding Darick Hall thus-far is his ability to bat against left-handed pitchers. In 2022, Hall went 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts against lefties. Now, there are many baseball pundits out there who do not want to give Hall a chance to prove himself, a chance to grow. The same people would have crucified Mike Schmidt after his performance in 1972-73. But I digress.
1-for-12 is a very small sample size to go off of. Darick Hall is young and is still growing as a ballplayer. If he is not given chances to bat against lefties, how is he expected to improve?
Citing his performance against lefties so far, many are expecting Hall to be a platoon player at first this season. Manager Rob Thomson says otherwise. During their game against the Yankees on Saturday, Thomson grabbed the headset and chatted about Hall with the NBC Sports Philadelphia television crew.
“I don’t think it’s a true platoon with him,” said Thomson.
Thomson went on to describe that Darick Hall has faced several left-handers this Spring and has already shown signs of improvement. Thomson wants to continue giving Hall those opportunities this season as he sees a majority of the at bats at first base.
Next Step for Darick Hall? Opening Day
With right-hander Jacob deGrom on the mound for the Texas Rangers, Hall will almost certainly be the Phillies’ starting first basemen on Opening Day. If the Phillies hope to return to the playoffs and, more importantly, the World Series, they will need production from first base. Without Hoskins’ production, the Phillies are looking to Long Ball Hall to fill the gap. Only time will tell if he pans out, or if the Phillies will need to fill the void via trade.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire