Is Bill Hall Back?

For a two year span beginning in 2005, Bill Hall was one of baseball’s best kept secrets. At the ages of 25 and 26, Hall combined to hit .280/.344/.525 while averaging 26 home runs and 13 stolen bases. Oh, and he did that while playing parts of four positions — mostly the left side of the infield with some center field and second base thrown in. During those years he accumulated 8.7 WAR. To date, he’s racked up 11.3 wins for his career. Needless to say, Hall’s career hasn’t quite turned out like it could have.

Yet, he’s in his first season with the Boston Red Sox and, through nearly 120 plate appearances, he’s looking sort of like his old self. You don’t even have to squint to see the similarities:

2005: .360 wOBA, .204 ISO, .336 BABIP
2006: .369 wOBA, .283 ISO, .320 BABIP
2010: .366 wOBA, .210 ISO, .317 BABIP

For the most part, 2010 has been a crude hybrid. The crux of Hall’s wOBA is being upheld by a strong walk rate which simply doesn’t reflect as well in his OPS. Still, it’s a bit soon to say the Red Sox have recaptured Hall’s magic — especially given his history of always having one insane month.

In April 2009, Hall posted a .304/.377/.522 line through 77 plate appearances. In July of 2008, Hall batted .288/.350/.548 through 80 plate appearances. There was even June of 2007, when he scorched through 104 plate appearances with slash stats of .307/.388/.523. All of those looked like maybe, just maybe, the rekindling of Hall’s fire, and they all faded quickly. The difference seems to be that this collection of good hitting from Hall is not as dependent on a high batting average on balls in play as those months were.

Given how the Sox’ roster was constructed, even if Hall cannot sustain this performance, they probably won’t regret trading Casey Kotchman for him too much.

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15 Responses to “Is Bill Hall Back?”

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  1. Butch says:

    Gee, I wonder what it could be…

    .298/.385/.509 home
    .191/.309/.383 away

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    • Jerry says:

      True, but to be fair, Hall has always run a fairly large home/road split over his career. In fact, the spread between his home and away ISO this year is just about the smallest it’s ever been.

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  2. Steve C says:

    His walk rate is about 5% higher than his career average. He is also hitting a lot more fly balls (55% v. 40% career).

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  3. DavidJ says:

    Hall also gave the Sox a perfect inning of relief in a blowout loss to KC on May 28, throwing seven of his eleven pitches for strikes and generating three groundball outs.

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  4. Steve says:

    Another trade the Mariner FO “lost” this winter.

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    • Judy says:

      Where would the M’s have played him, though? He’s only getting so much playing time with the Red Sox because they’ve had multiple OF injuries, and he seems like more of a defensive negative almost everywhere, except maybe in comparison to Jeremy Hermida.

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      • gnomez says:

        Hall has always struck me as a passable 3B.

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      • Dealer A says:

        They say he is a poor man’s Soriano……or is Soriano the rich man’s Bill Hall?

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      • Alireza says:

        Anywhere he is needed. He can play positions 3-9.

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      • Dann M says:

        Considering how terrible the Mariners’ offense has been for most of this year, they could have rolled him out there in a handful of positions, as well. I remember one box score specifically where only Ichiro and Gutierrez were hitting over .212. Six guys were under .200, and I’m pretty sure it was already late April/early May. Of the 12 Mariners with 75+ PA, 4 have/had (Griffey) OPS at or below .600, while 4 are above .700 and Saunders is at .690. Their team line of .242/.313/.345 compares nicely to the .242/.286/.352 of the Brewers’ main four of Gallardo, Wolf, Bush and Narveson. Seriously, who couldn’t play for the Mariners’ offense?

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  5. al says:

    In addition to his rise in FB% babip on fly balls is insanely high (.257) is that a skill or just random variation. In other words is babip on fly balls a skill or just random and everyone will eventually everyone will regress?

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    • Eric M. Van says:

      He’s 3 for 16 on non-fliner flies to the OF; a 2B and a 3B that could have been HRs in other parks, and a gift bloop 1B. I think 1 lucky hit out of 14 is normal.

      On Fliner (Fly)s he’s 6 for 13. (I believe his ratio of Fliner (Fly) to plain Fly is quite high.) Three of the hits (and one of the outs where he was robbed) were actually hit very hard (two 2B and a 1B off the wall) and three were your standard flares. I’m not sure whether a .333 BABIP on Fliner (Fly)s to less than the deep OF and .750 on very deep ones is lucky or not, but it also strikes me as in the ballpark for normal.

      His BABIP on (Liners)s is low (.692) and on GB is very low (.167), so he hasn’t been lucky. He’s just hit the ball hard.

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  6. CircleChange11 says:

    Hall was fun to watch in MIL and he seemed to always be a Web Gems regular contributor. Then he was just known as the “Mothers Day Guy”. Glad to see him having success.

    As a strange bit of humor, all of the “l’s” in the title must have thrown my eyes for a loop b/c when I first read it, I thought it said “Is Bill Hall Black?” … And I got all excited because I knew the answer. *grin*

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  7. grandbranyan says:

    Let’s not forget his shiny 0.00 ERA on the year, either.

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  8. pft says:

    Maybe Hall, V-Mart , Beltre and Papi are all drinking the same milk shakes (LOL).

    Seriously, all of them are basically in contract years if you assume Beltre will not pick up the player option and that the RS do not pick up Papis and Halls option. V-Mart has no options and is a FA at the end of the year

    While Hall and V-Mart have favorable Home splits, Papi and Beltre have actually hit better on the road. In any event, they have 33 HR in 738 AB and 132 RBI. The bridge is producing.

    Hopefully Hall can avoid being trampled by Adrian Beltre. He is a menace to LF’ers. I suggest the RS put cow bells around Beltres neck to warn LF’ers of his approach.

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