Quick Hitter: Should the Twins Claim LHP Matt Hall from Detroit?
Image courtesy of © Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsAs of now, the Twins have just four lefties on their active roster and three of them (Rich Hill, Devin Smeltzer, and Lewis Thorpe) will be entering spring training looking to fight over the fourth and fifth starting spots in the rotation. This leaves Taylor Rogers as the lone lefty that is currently locked into the bullpen. This article will take a look at Matt Hall as a possible candidate to fight for a bullpen spot in 2020.
Matt Hall is a former sixth-round draft pick out of Missouri State who led the NCAA in strikeouts in 2015. At just 26-years-old and two years of team control plus three years of arbitration ahead of him, he still has up to five years of control at a reasonable price. The strikeout rate has carried over to his professional career as his minor league strikeout per nine (K/9) is 9.9 over 500.1 innings and is 9.2 in just 31.1 big league innings. Per Statcast, he has an great spin rate on his curveball and an above average spin rate on his fastball which are indicators that he has the stuff to be successful at the major league level.
Well, he was designated for a reason. Walks have been a major issue for him dating back to his collegiate days. In his limited time in the big leagues he has a walk rate of 5.2 which is well past FanGraphs rating of “awful”, although his collegiate and minor league rate sit at 3.5 which is still considered “poor”. For reference, Trevor May, who most considered to have a very good 2019 season, had a walk rate of 3.64 so this isn’t necessarily the “be-all end-all”. Hall’s fastball tops out in the low 90’s which is not good when you have troubles hitting the zone. This will likely be a project that doesn’t make an impact right away but could be great in the future, and possibly, by the latter part of this season. With that said, much of the fan base will likely rip the move as another “cheap” alternative to a true impact arm.
To be clear, the Twins would be claiming Matt Hall as a project who could become an impact arm down the road. In recent years, they have developed the likes of Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Trevor May, going from mediocre relievers to some of the best in baseball. At such a low cost, I think it really makes sense for the Twins to give Hall a shot in 2020.
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