The Orioles are adding their top prospect, infielder Gunnar Henderson, and pitching prospect DL Hall for the stretch run as they pursue a playoff berth. Henderson and Hall are flying to Cleveland to join the Orioles’ taxi squad for Wednesday night’s game and they’ll be added to the roster on Thursday when it expands from 26 to 28 players.
The news was first reported by MASNSports.com. and confirmed by an industry source.
The Orioles are three games back for the third and final wild-card berth after being one-hit in a 5-1 loss to the Guardians on Tuesday night.
Henderson, who is rated the No. 1 prospect in the minor leagues by Baseball America and No. 2 by MLB Pipeline, was hitting .288 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs and an .894 OPS at Norfolk. He was 3-for-5 in Norfolk’s 5-0 win over Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night.
Projected as a shortstop or third baseman, the 21-year-old left-handed hitter has played six games at second base and three at first in the last two weeks.
Hall didn’t allow a hit in 1 1/3 innings in Norfolk’s shutout of Lehigh Valley. He walked one and struck out one, throwing 27 pitches. The left-hander made his major league debut on August 13th at Tampa Bay when he allowed five runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out six.
After the game, manager Brandon Hyde said that Hall, who was returned to Norfolk, would pitch in relief for the Tides before he returned to the Orioles. Hall, who was 3-7 with a 4.70 ERA with Norfolk, allowed three runs on three hits in 6 2/3 innings in four relief appearances. He struck out 11 and walked five.
Henderson was drafted 42nd overall by the Orioles in 2019. His addition means the team’s first three picks in 2019 — catcher Adley Rutschman, the overall No. 1 pick, Henderson, and outfielder Kyle Stowers, the 71st pick — are all with the Orioles.
On Monday, infielders Joey Ortiz and Darell Hernaiz, who were selected in the fourth and fifth round, were moved up to Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, respectively.
Hall was the Orioles’ top draft choice in 2017.