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Power-hitting Phillies prospect Darick Hall leads Triple A ball in RBIs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
In minor-league baseball, Monday is always an off day, a valuable time for some rest and recovery, a reset for the next bus ride and the next six-game series.
Given his druthers, Darick Hall would have skipped this week’s day off and kept on playing. That’s how hot the 26-year-old, power-hitting first baseman for the Phillies’ Triple A Lehigh Valley club has been.
“It’s been a special stretch,” the personable Arizonan said Tuesday morning, as he readied for the IronPigs’ next stop, a six-gamer in Syracuse.
Against Rochester two series ago, Hall hit .333 (8 for 24) with two doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.345 OPS.
Last week against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he hit .360 (9 for 25) with two doubles, five homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.469 OPS.
These performances have earned Hall back-to-back International League Player of the Week honors. A month into the season, he leads all of Triple A baseball with 29 RBIs and is second with 10 homers.
A big, left-handed hitter at 6-4, 248 pounds, Hall has always had power. It’s what attracted the Phillies to him when they selected him in the 14th round of the 2016 draft out of Dallas Baptist University. He was the South Atlantic League MVP at Lakewood in 2017 and an Eastern League All-Star in 2019 at Double A Reading. He led the league with 38 doubles and 59 extra-base hits and was second with 20 homers.
Invited to big-league spring training camp in 2020, Hall said his goal was to improve his plate discipline. He lost valuable playing time to the pandemic in 2020 but began to see the improvement he was looking for in the second half of the 2021 season at Triple A.
It has carried over into this season, especially against right-handed pitching. He’s hitting .293 overall, .386 against right-handers. He has struck out 18 times and walked 11 in 104 plate appearances.
“Pitches I would have fouled off or swung over or under, I’m not missing this year,” Hall said. “It goes back to discipline and routine and knowing your swing.
“I was always kind of a tinkerer, thinking too much about my swing instead of understanding this game is hard and I need to be on time and recognize the next pitch. What pitch you swing at, being ready for it, getting into good counts, laying off pitchers’ pitches, those are the important things I’m improving on. I’m getting better at getting out of my own way and focusing on what matters.”
In short, Hall is maturing as a hitter. He credited his work with hitting coaches Garey Ingram, Kevin Long and Joe Thurston for having a major impact.
With 10 homers so far this season, Hall has 108 in his time as a Phillies minor leaguer.
As nice as it is to reach the 100-homer plateau, the place a hitter longs to do it is the major leagues. The Phillies’ major-league staff knows Hall well. He’s had significant time in big-league spring training camp over the last few years. Just last week, manager Joe Girardi mentioned Hall’s good work at Lehigh Valley. It’s difficult to imagine Hall not getting a shot in the majors someday, especially with his ability to hit right-handers and the designated hitter now being used throughout the majors. But whether that shot comes with the Phillies remains to be seen. The team is deep in first basemen/designated hitters.
Hall remains upbeat and undeterred.
“I really believe something that has helped me is staying focused wherever my feet are planted,” he said. “As much as I want to be there, I don’t think I’d be doing this if I wasn’t focused on doing my job here. As a younger player, you’re always thinking about moving up, but in the long run that can hurt you if you don’t focus on the job at hand. There is always something to be learned wherever you are.
“There’s also an integrity element to it, too. If you’re doing well at Triple A and you start flipping bats and not running out balls because you think you should be somewhere else, no one wants to see that. It drags people down. That’s not the teammate I want to be.”
Hall was trained well on the art of playing the game the right way. His granddad, Bo Hall, is a member of the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame and recently had the field at Cochise College named in his honor.
Whether his strong start leads to time in Philadelphia or not, Darick Hall knows it’s important that he continues to produce. He will become a free agent at season’s end, not the kind of free agent that lights up the off-season hot stove and commands huge money, but the kind of minor-league free agent that sets himself up for his next opportunity, a chance with another big-league club that is not so deep in guys who play his position, or maybe a lucrative offer overseas.
But making it to Philadelphia remains first on Hall’s wish list, though he’s not going to let it distract him from the task at hand. You’re only as good as your last week and, “We’ve got a six-game banger coming up in Syracuse,” he said.