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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Bill Hall

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 12/28/79, Age: 22, Height: 6’0’’, Weight: 175, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Brewers - Drafted in the 6th Round of the 1998 Draft (Nettleton HS, MS). 2001 Stats: (High-A - High Desert) .303 AVG, 346 AB, 21 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 18 SB, 22 BB, 78 K, .345 OBP, .529 SLG; (AA - Huntsville) .256 AVG, 160 AB, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 SB, 5 BB, 46 K, .279 OBP, .375 SLG. 2002 Stats: (AAA - Indianapolis) .258 AVG, 62 AB, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 SB, 7 BB, 7 K, .343 OBP, .387 SLG.
    In two years, Bill Hall has gone from roughly #750 to the top-100 on the prospect charts. A little more than 18 months ago, Hall was muddling through a Low-A campaign in which he would hit 3 homers and possess a 1:7 BB/K ratio (18 BB, 127 K). Now, he’s batting either leadoff or second in AAA, and he might be the annual Jose Hernandez slump away from starting for the Brew Crew. Hall is a “toolsy” type of player, showing above average power, speed, and range afield. Hitting for average is probably not going to be Hall’s best attribute, but as he showed in High Desert, he is capable of driving the ball to the gaps. He did hit 18 homers last season between the two levels, and I think the Brewers would be satisfied if he were able to maintain that type of power and work on making more consistent contact (they already have a record-setter for strikeouts at SS in the majors). So far this season, Hall is hitting the ball with a bit less authority, but he has more than doubled his walk rate. That is probably a tradeoff that the Brewers can live with, especially in light of their problems atop the major league batting order. Hall’s speed is another issue. He has top of the order caliber speed, but his base stealing success rate is roughly 50% for his career. He obviously needs to pick his spots a bit better. Perhaps the organization kept on good terms with Davey Lopes when they fired him, as Hall could certainly use a leadoff-hitting tutor, and I’m not sure that EY is the man for the job, as likeable as he is. In the field, Hall’s positives and negatives are also side by side. Hall has tremendous range, decent hands, and a good arm, but his decision making is poor. He will get to a ball that maybe 10% of shortstops can get to, and then proceed to throw it into the third row of the stands. As he gets older, one would assume that this issue will resolve itself: either he’ll stop getting to the balls, or he’ll make better decisions.   In total, Hall is the typical athletic prospect: high risk, high reward.
   The Brewers have a few interesting young players, but very little system depth. None of the interesting players play in the infield, so Bill Hall is free to progress at his leisure. I would assume that they will leave him at AAA for most of this year, but they’re going to be so bad that they may want to commit to the youth movement sometime during the season. Unless Hall has a terrible season, I would expect him to be starting in Milwaukee sometime next season. In keeping with the high risk, high reward motif, a good comparison for Bill Hall is Miguel Tejada. Tejada has since bulked up, increasing his power while reducing his range at short, and Hall could follow that path or he could stay skinny. Either way, Hall could become the best shortstop in the NL in 5 years, or he could wash out of baseball. High risk, high reward.


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