|Darick Hall with Lakewood in 2017, image- Jay Floyd|
A 14th round draft selection in 2016, Hall made a big splash last year in his first full season as a pro. With Class A Lakewood, the six-foot-four 235-pounder notched a team record 27 homers. Overall, combined with the time he spent at Clearwater to close the regular season, Hall posted a .270 average with 29 round trippers and 101 RBI in 121 games.
This week I talked with Darick about his powerful production, which coaches and teammates he has learned the most from, the buzz surrounding his offense and more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-You're leading the FSL in homers and enjoying a great start to the season. Congratulations on that. Share some thoughts on the offensive success there in Clearwater.
Thank you! One of my biggest keys this season so far has been sticking to my plan at the plate and not giving in. I focus on getting my best swing off early and being on time. We talk a lot about an "A" hack and "B" hack as an organization. Early in the count is the time to use your "A" hack and later is the time to use the "B" hack. This has shined a lot of light on approach for me.
-After leading the Sally League and now jumping out to an FSL lead in home runs...is it a goal to maintain the lead and stay on top in the category?
My goal is always to be productive and to consistently square up the baseball. The home runs take care of themselves. My goal is to drive the ball at all times without sacrificing contact for power.
-How has the jump to Class A Advanced been? Is it still challenging despite your performance?
It's definitely been a jump. The pitchers are definitely more crisp. They are around the zone more and they try to induce weak contact early instead of always going for the punch out. The umpires for the most part are better.
-With all the home runs comes attention. Phillies fans have begun to hear about this guy Darick Hall who has a load of power down in Clearwater. Is that welcome attention? Do you enjoy the buzz?
It's been a blessing honestly. As a player anytime you are recognized it is an honor. Our job is to play to the best of our abilities and maximize the talent we have.
-Your home numbers (1.203 OPS) seem much better than road numbers (.707 OPS). Is there anything about the home park that stands out for you? Are you seeing the ball that much better there? Or is it just how things have gone so far?
We've honestly played so many home games this half that I've become really comfortable with our home field. Our field is arguably the nicest field in the FSL and it makes it so much fun to play at.
-What sort of feedback have you gotten from the coaches on your progress?
The biggest feedback that I've gotten is my footwork at first base has progressively gotten better and they like what they are seeing defensively. This past off-season I made it my mission to improve my footwork and it's nice to have seen results come out of it.
-Is there a coach that has really helped you with your development since you turned pro?
Chris Truby (the Phils' minor league infield coordinator) has really laid a platform of what he expects out of me defensively. He basically gave me what I need to work on to take my game to a higher level. Nelson Prada last year at Lakewood was always the guy I would turn to about approach at the plate. He is always refreshing to talk to about hitting and is very understanding. John Mizerock is another one of my favorite coaches. I tend to overthink and he's a big time believer of simplicity. He helped me at Williamsport and he is here in Clearwater this year. (Lakewood manager) Marty Malloy was another one that helped me. Being in your first full season you always look to your manager at times to get you through and his grit and ability to grind was something that I looked up to and respected.
-Your college and pro teammate Austin Listi is enjoying some success and is among league leaders is some categories as well. He's older than you, but you've been with the Phillies longer. Is there any sort of brother relationship with him and if so, who is the OLDER brother of you two?
Austin has really made point of his ability at the plate this year so far and it's awesome to see! Listi and I have a lot of the same interests and are roommates. We both love the outdoors and enjoy watching bass fishing videos together. (Laughs) We're good friends and it's awesome to have a fellow (Dallas Baptist) Patriot to grind with!
-Have you gotten any exposure to any big leaguers or former big leaguers that made a lasting impression on you during your time in Florida, whether it's during the seminars, during spring training, or whatever?
I got the chance to work with Carlos Santana during a couple days with the big league club and that was a treat. He's got so much knowledge at first base and I did my best to soak it up. I talked to Rhys Hoskins about approach while he was down getting some AB's in spring training.