When Darick Hall steps to the plate at Coca-Cola Park, the scoreboard shows graphics of him and refers to “Long Ball Hall.” He’s one of those guys that make you put your beer down and expect something good to happen. On Tuesday night, Hall smacked his 20th home run of the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a loss to the Syracuse Mets. He has driven in 67 runs and is hitting .269 with a .346 OBP and .548 SLG this season for Lehigh Valley. Later that night, Hall and his teammates were summoned to the lobby of their hotel in Syracuse by manager Anthony Contreras, where “AC” announced that Hall was heading for Philadelphia for his major league debut.
On Wednesday when Hall showed up at Citizens Bank Park, he found out he wouldn’t be riding the bench, he would be in the lineup. In fact, he was going to DH and hit fourth, slotted between Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto. Hall became the first Phillie to make his MLB debut batting cleanup since 1939. He finished the game 0-for-4, but hit the ball on the nose and looked like he belongs in a major league lineup.
Looking back, Hall’s lowest home run total for a season was in his rookie year of 2016 when he played at short-season Williamsport and went deep nine times in 57 games and batted .282 for the Crosscutters. Since then, he has hit 20 or more home runs in every season with the exception of 2021 when he launched 14 and hit .230 with Lehigh Valley.
One drawback to Hall’s game is that the only defensive position that Hall has played professionally is first base. The Phillies currently have Rhys Hoskins at first base, and although he is somewhat maligned because of his streakiness at the plate, he is generally a solid offensive player.
Defensively, Hall would have the edge over Hoskins, who has a .990 fielding percentage, under the league average of .995 for first basemen. In the minors, Hall is a career .994 fielder at first and that includes early seasons when his performance defensively was less than it is now. In 2019, Hall posted a .996 fielding percentage and has held steady at .998 both last season and this season.
Could Hall play a different position? Not too likely. He has the mentality to give it a shot, but it’s just not likely that it would work out. That leaves the 26-year old Dallas Baptist University product as either a first baseman or a DH.
Darick Hall could turn into trade bait. There are teams around who would have interest in a young, power hitting first baseman with leadership skills and a play hard mentality. Add into that the fact that his defense is above league averages and he becomes somewhat attractive as part of a package to find a player who could help at the major league level in Philadelphia.
Hall was recalled when infielder Johan Camargo was placed on the IL with a right knee strain.