It was a defining moment for Brooks Hall when he tossed a perfect game in 2009 as a high school senior before a Milwaukee Brewers scout.
Now he is a member of the team’s 40-man roster after compiling his best season between High A Brevard County and Double A Huntsville.
“I had a good year and was surprised. I was pumped about that and was caught off guard,” Hall told Brewers Farm Report on January 1. “I wasn’t really expecting that, the Brewers really don’t tell you much. They will tell you that your progressing good but they don’t really tell you what is going to happen.”
Hall, 23, produced five straight performances to begin his season with Brevard County en route to being named as a Florida State League midseason All-Star.
The South Carolina native allowed just five earned runs through his first 28.2 innings with 18 strikeouts and ten walks. He also allowed no home runs and held opponents to a .192 batting average.
“I was happy about that but the only bad thing is I didn’t get to play. They called me up before that.” said Hall, who was promoted to Double A Huntsville in June.
Hall’s promotion was inevitable after he posted a 2.76 ERA and maintained a stellar 40-18 strikeout-walk ratio in 58.2 innings for the Manatees.
“I just threw strikes and used my changeup and used my fastball more to get ahead of the count,” Hall said.
Hall was relegated to relief duty upon his arrival in Huntsville where he admitted having difficulty finding the right rhythm.
“At first I was coming out of the bullpen. I just never felt comfortable to be honest,” Hall said. “Having a 20 pitch bullpen stint where I would come out and face just three batters.”
In his second relief appearance with Huntsville, he allowed six earned runs including three of his eight total home runs in just 0.1 innings.
However, Hall made needed adjustments after realizing the stark contrast between the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and hitter-friendly Southern League.
“In Florida State you got the wind blowing in but if you make a mistake in Double A, you are going to pay for it,” Hall said. “Just like the big leagues.”
Additionally, he credited Stars’ Pitching Coach Chris Hook for offering additional guidance and a quick turnaround.
“He helped me a lot. Last year he was my pitching coach in Brevard and now he is with Huntsville,” Hall said. “He really told me to think more out there and start using your brain. Start reading hitters.”
Hall responded by holding hitters scoreless in seven of his final 11 appearances including a four-game stretch where he captured two victories for the Stars.
In the ensuing four-game streak, he held opponents to 12 hits and four walks in 17 innings for a .207 batting average against.
“For a young pitcher, you start thinking a little more it will be a little easier,” Hall said. “If I can carry it onto next year I will have a really good year.”
Despite the recent success, Hall acknowledges more work needs to be done to advance his career stating he “will not take anything for granted.”
In order to gauge Hall’s rapid progression as highly touted pitcher from T.L. Hanna High School in South Carolina, one must consider where he began playing.
“I was a hitter in high school and I played third base,” Hall said. “I never pitched until my junior year and also played shortstop.”
Hall was surprised to learn he possessed the tools to be a successful pitcher during his junior season.
“In my junior year they threw me on the mound and I started throwing 93, 94 mph,” Hall said. “I had no idea, so I started pitching.”
In addition, his high school coach found Hall’s physical build as an asset on the mound.
“You are going to be a pitcher, you are tall and lanky so we are going to put you on the mound,” Hall said.
Prior to his selection in the fourth round by Milwaukee in 2009, Hall committed to play for the University of South Carolina.
However, the pitcher opted to sign with Milwaukee and forego his college playing career.
After months of negotiations, Hall signed in late 2009 and started his professional career with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers in 2010.
Hall emphasized he is still learning the pitching trade as his career progresses through the professional ranks.
“I am way better now than when I got out of high school,” Hall said. “Coming out of high school I never knew what I was doing. I just threw hard in high school.”
However, Hall remains modest about his development within the Brewers organization including where he will begin the 2014 season.
“I think I will start out in Double A Huntsville,” Hall said. “But I have no idea I could be in Triple A with a good spring training. You never know what they will do.”