If you happened to be following the draft last night, you probably went through a whole wave of emotions.
After several top college prospects fell out of the top 15, you were probably just as ecstatic as I was. Then star Kentucky first baseman Evan White went 17th to the Mariners, Florida ace Alex Faedo went 18th to the Tigers, and then standout Oregon lefty David Peterson went to the Mets at 20th overall, right before the Orioles went on the clock.
And then to the surprise of just about everyone, the Orioles passed on star UNC shortstop Logan Warmoth and star Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall to take D.L. Hall, a left-handed pitcher out of Valdosta High School (GA).
Warmoth went 22nd overall to the Toronto Blue Jays (sigh), and the Dodgers pounced on Kendall with the 23rd overall pick.
But wait! As disheartening as it may have been to some (or most) Orioles fans that the team took a high school arm with their first-round pick, they may have found a special one in the 18-year-old lefty from Warner Robbins, Georgia.
The Orioles would follow up by selecting shortstop Adam Hall out of London, Ontario with the 60th overall pick and then LHP Zac Lowther out of Xavier University with the 74th overall pick.
Let’s look at the Orioles day one draftees:
LHP D.L. Hall: Valdosta HS (GA)
The Orioles may have landed a gem in the 18-year-old Hall. He was rated as the 16th best prospect on the board by Baseball America, the 14th overall prospect by MLB.com, and the 8th-best prospect in this year’s draft by ESPN’s Keith Law. John Sickels of Minor League Ball compared him to Mackenzie Gore, who went third overall to the Padres last night.
After posting a 6-1 record and a 1.81 ERA to go along with 89 Ks in 58 innings for Houston County HS (GA) en route to winning the 5-A state title in 2016, Hall transferred back to Valdosta High School in 2017 and posted a stellar 1.36 ERA over 51 1/3 innings while racking up 105 strikeouts.
The biggest question mark is this: Hall, who is committed to FSU, has already stated that it will be a tough decision on whether to sign or to play college ball. Here’s hoping that the Orioles can persuade him to sign without a hitch.
SS Adam Hall: A.B Lucas Secondary School (Ontario, Canada)
The Orioles seem to be in love Hall’s skills at the plate and believe he has the potential to be a five-tool type of player in the future. While scouts also believe he will stick at shortstop, many believe that he has the versatility to play second or even third as well.
While he will probably have a long way to go until reaching the majors, the 18-year-old Hall is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team and has been regarded as one of Canada’s top prospects for quite some time now.
Hall, who is committed to play at Texas A&M, will now have to make the decision to sign or stay pledged to his commitment.
LHP Zac Lowther: Xavier University
While the 21-year-old southpaw wasn’t on the top 100 prospects list going into the draft, Lowther may be a guy that exceeds expectations going forward.
After bursting onto the scene with a 2.52 ERA and 54:4 K/BB ratio with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League in 2016, Lowther carried that momentum into the 2017 season with the Xavier Musketeers and finished the campaign with a 5-5 record and a stellar 2.92 ERA over 15 starts while racking up 123 K’s in just 83 1/3 innings.
As a result, the Orioles made the kid out of Brooklyn Heights, Ohio the highest-drafted Musketeer in school history. A true swing-and-miss type pitcher, Lowther has an impressive four-pitch repertoire and excellent command. He could be on the fast track to the majors if his skill set can translate to professional baseball.
So Birdland, how are you feeling about the Orioles draft last night? Let us know!