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The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted top third base prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes ahead of their Tuesday night game against the Chicago Cubs (GameTracker) at PNC Park. Hayes, 23, was drafted by the Pirates as the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Hayes’ promotion to the big leagues was delayed partly because he was sent to the alternate training site after he tested positive for the coronavirus in July. Hayes should become the Pirates everyday third baseman for the foreseeable future.
Scouting reports cite his solid plate skills and Gold Glove-caliber defense. In 2019, Hayes became just the second player, and first since 1961, to win a Rawlings mino-league baseball Gold Glove three years in a row after recording a .989 fielding percentage in 104 games. Hayes is also the son of ex-major leaguer and 1996 World Series champion third baseman Charlie Hayes. Pittsburgh is hoping the youngster can build on his power that he showed during his time in the minors.
Last year, Hayes was ranked as the second-best Pirates prospect in the club’s farm system, behind right-hander Mitch Keller Here’s what our RJ Anderson had to say about Hayes:
Hayes spent this season in Triple-A, where he hit .265/.336/.415 — that’s a .150 ISO, for those keeping score, placing him 10th among the 16 International League players who qualified at third base. Hayes also ranked near the bottom of the league in pull percentage — not because he lacks the bat speed, but seemingly due to that being his desired approach. One talent evaluator noted his propensity for hitting fastballs into the ground.
To some extent it’s understandable if the Pirates don’t want to tinker with Hayes’ swing. He’s almost big-league ready and he contributes enough defensively and on the basepaths (where he went 12 for 13 on stolen-base tries) to be valuable without hitting for much power. But if his hit tool plays closer to average than expected, he might top out as a middle-of-the-pack third baseman — that’s a fine outcome, it just may cause you to wonder what if?
The Pirates just lost three of four on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers, while the Cubs spilt a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. In the NL Central, Chicago (20-14) is in first place while Pittsburgh (10-22) sits in last place.
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