Detroit Tigers TigsTown Q&A: West Michigan Whitecaps LHP Matt Hall

Missouri State’s Matt Hall led the NCAA in strikeouts in 2015, and was drafted by the Tigers in the sixth round. He posted solid numbers in a small sample last year, but the left-handed pitcher has been dominant for the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2016. He owns an 8-0 record, and his 0.73 ERA is the lowest in all of minor-league baseball. TigsTown talked to the young southpaw about his draft experience, his developing changeup, and his eating habits.

TigsTown: How do you feel about the season so far?


Matt Hall: We started off a little slow as a team, but now we’re starting to pick it back up and figure things out, and we’re starting to play really good baseball.


TT: How about you personally?


MH: I’m just doing what I can to get out there and give my team the best chance to win.


TT: Your stats are pretty spectacular. Do you pay attention to any of that stuff?


MH: I just go out there and try to do my job. I mean, if we’re winning when I’m on the mound then that’s a good thing.


TT: Is there any particular stat that you keep track of?


MH: I try to keep the walks down and try to keep the runs to a minimum, and then just try to get wins for the team.


TT: You had a bullpen session this morning, The pitching coach said you were working on keeping the ball down?


MH: Yeah. Last outing was a little bit better keeping the ball down, but I’m trying to be more consistently down in the zone.


TT: Have you found any trouble pitching up in the zone, or is this just something where you generally want to be down in the zone?


MH: That’s where I always want to be, down in the zone.


TT: You’re about six feet tall. Is it harder to get down in the zone?


MH: I just don’t have as much downhill angle as the 6’4 guys, but it’s all right.


TT: You’re known for having a very good curve ball. How has that been for you this year?


MH: It’s still there, I still use it. The main thing is my changeup. I’ve been trying to develop a really good changeup over the past month, really, and it’s starting to work out for me.


TT: What kind of grip do you use on the changeup?


MH: Just a traditional four-seam changeup grip. Not really a circle, it’s just a straight change that has a little bit of depth in it.


TT: Do you throw a four-seam or a two-seam fastball?


MH: I throw four- and two-seam, but mostly four.


TT: It’s been about a year since you were drafted. Can you talk about that experience?


MH: It was a good process. That morning I was working a baseball camp for my college, Missouri State, having a bunch of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders there. And then I left that early because the draft had started and I wasn’t sure if I was gonna go that day, so I watched it. I was with my girlfriend at the time. My family had something busy going on back home so they couldn’t make it down. We didn’t even hear my name get called. Well, we did, but we weren’t paying attention, and then all of a sudden we hear it, and then five minutes later I get a call from Marty Miller of the Detroit Tigers, letting me know I’d been drafted.


TT: Did you have any idea the Tigers were looking at you?


MH: I wasn’t sure, no,


TT: Where are you from originally?


MH: Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It’s a suburb just outside of Kansas City.


TT: And your rotation mate at Missouri State, Jon Harris, was a first-round pick wasn’t he?


MH: Yeah, he’s with the Lansing Lugnuts right now. We haven’t played them yet, but we met up on an off day and played a round of golf together though.


TT: So what do you try to do when you’re not playing baseball?


MH: It’s just depends on the time of day. If I’ve got time to go out and shoot 18, I’ll go out to the course and shoot 18. And if it’s after 8 o’clock I’ll just watch some Netflix, or play some Xbox with my buddies down in Lakeland.


TT: Who are some of your friends down there?


MH: I mostly talk to Tyler Alexander and Keaton Jones.


TT: And finally, what’s your favorite food?

MH: If it’s on a plate, I’ll eat it. Chipotle is good, but I’m not against a classic cheeseburger either.


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