Coming into the season expectations were not exactly high in the Steel City for the Pirates to be anything close to contenders, but they do have one of the top minor league systems in baseball and fans wanted to see some of them make a positive impact in the Bigs and Ke’Bryan Hayes and Anthony Alford have done just that.
Ke’Bryan Hayes Will Amaze
Baseball was robbed of a full season from Ke’Bryan Hayes after a wrist injury two games into his season landed him on the 60-Day Injured List.
Hayes leads all Major League third basemen with a 1.9 Defensive WAR rating and has only committed three errors in 89 games.
Even though some of those numbers may be skewed because he has played in fewer games than most full-time National League third baseman, his resume and highlight reel speak for itself, and he deserves major consideration for a Gold Glove.
On the offensive side of the ball Hayes is ending the season strong. Entering Tuesday Hayes was batting .298 for the month of September with 20 hits including his first career walk-off, three doubles, four RBI and 10 runs scored.
Hayes has five home runs on the season, even though he’s hit six out of the park.
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Ke’Bryan Hayes is in his first full season. After putting up impressive numbers during the 2020 season, Hayes was determined to come back in 2021 ready to make an impact.
During the 2020 season he appeared in 24 games and hit .376 with five home runs and 11 RBI. His bat was lit and the energy he infused into the Pirates faithful was reminiscent of when Andrew McCutchen helped take Pittsburgh from the losingest franchise in North American sports to World Series contenders.
Hayes, the son of former MLB player and World Series champion Charlie Hayes, put the baseball world on notice and his glove garnered praise similar to that given to such webmasters as Manny Machado, Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.
Those are some numbers that will catch people’s attention and it certainly caught the Pirates’ attention. In fact, Hayes is the only reason most people outside of the state of Pennsylvania even watch Pirates games.
This season, our MLBbro has seen a lot more action and he has put together solid numbers. The Texas native dealt with injuries at the beginning of the season and now he’s trying to finish on a strong note. He’s batting .248 with five home runs and 27 RBI through 69 games.
Hayes recently went on a six-game hitting streak this month. During that span he recorded eight hits and had a .363 batting average. Such offensive explosiveness is the reason why the Pirates selected him in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft. They saw the potential in him six years ago and now it’s all starting to show.
When you look at the future of the Pirates, you have to envision Hayes as a leader of the pack because he has the physical tools and natural leadership qualities. And he’s just scratching the surface of his peak as a player.
Now he has struggled a little bit this season due to a wrist injury and some other issues, but he’s also shown strong signs of being a franchise player. The Pirates are looking to find their identity and having a young, exciting player like Hayes on the team certainly helps.
When the team traded it’s top infielder Adam Frazier, Hayes was not a happy camper because Hayes always received some positive words from his former teammate.
“He came to where I was sitting at on the plane and talked, and he just told me to keep working hard, keep going, keep your head level and keep fighting every day, because I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Hayes told the Post-Gazette. “He was talking to me about that, he was telling me just be aggressive at the plate and have positive thoughts and keep working.”
“Losing Frazier kind of sucks,” Hayes added. “Him and [center fielder Bryan Reynolds], they’ve been our best hitters this year. You’ve just got to look at the bigger picture with what they’re trying to do in the next few years, once we’ve gotten the guys down in the lower levels up and as guys like me — this is my first full year — being able to get some experience. That way whenever I’m in a position like Fraz to help kind of lead the team for the younger guys that are coming in, like how I came in last year.”
Hayes is 24-years-old and he already believes that the Pirates will be in a good position down the line.
“I feel like we’re going to get there, because we have a ton of talent, the trades that we’ve had already, bringing in some pretty good young prospects,” he said. “So I think it’s just taking it day by day and just building that chemistry with everyone to get to that end goal.”
When McCutchen first came to Pittsburgh, the francise was a bottom feeder. Instead of leaving, he stayed the course, signed a six-year, $51 million extension, won an MVP and before the franchise dumped him at age 30 (following a 28-homer season), he led them back to the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds roamed the outfield.
“It used to be that people didn’t want to get traded to the Pirates and people didn’t want to come here unless they were trying to redeem their careers,” McCutchen told S.I.com back in 2013. “Now we’ve got guys who come here and want to be here. They see what we have and they want to be a part of it.”
Hayes has the same optimism oozing from his persona. Hayes is becoming the face of the Pirates and the key the franchise;s future.
MLbbro Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a laser of a home run and missed first base during his ceremonial celebratory trot around the bases. The umpires reviewed the call and punched him out, negating his home run on a rule technicality. If baseball is worried about offense then this isn’t the way to help address that problem. In fact, it might be time to completely trash the rule altogether.
Nobody in all of baseball had a better week at the plate than Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Cedric Mullins.
CM Storm takes the top spot in Week 10 of our #HighFive list and remains hotter than a new stereo system during a blackout.
1. Cedric Mullins
Mullins rocked out in Cleveland this weekend to the tune of a .750 batting average, going 9-for-12 with three home runs, four RBI and five runs scored on his way to earning a feature on Monday’s Homeboi Highlights.
CM Storm has been getting it done all year, and with All-Star voting recently opening up, he has taken his play to another level in hopes of earning one of the three starting outfield positions. In his last seven games, he has an average of .536 with a 1.036 Slugging Percentage, three home runs, nine runs scored and five RBI.
The fleet-footed outfielder’s .323 batting average is sixth place in all of Major League Baseball. His 76 hits lead the American League and are good for third in the Majors. Mullins will look to gain more All-Star momentum and inch closer to a mid-season batting championship during this weekend series in Tampa against the Rays.
He recorded hits in 10 of his last 11 games before going hitless Thursday, which is something he has not done often this year.
J.P. has upped his game on the offensive side of the ball this season. In addition to adding on more weight, he has drastically improved his batting average against left handed pitchers. This season, he is hitting .365 off lefties with eight doubles as opposed to a .242 average in 2020 and a .160 line in 2019.
3. Taijuan Walker
One half of the New York Mets Melanated Mound Marauders sits in the three spot on this week’s High Five list. Taijuan Walker has gotten straight to business since returning from injury May 29th. In his last 34 innings, he has only given up five earned runs.
Walker is going through a stretch where he has allowed no more than one run in five of his last six starts.
Taijuan brought his best stuff to Baltimore on Wednesday as he had one of his best starts of the season. He struck out nine through seven innings, allowing just one run and making one of the plays of the year, stopping a line drive and throwing a runner out at first from the ground.
He sits in sixth in the MLB with a 2.07 ERA leading into his next start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.
4. Ke’Bryan Hayes
Ke’Bryan Hayes missed two months after suffering a wrist injury at the beginning of the year and since returning to the Pirates’ lineup has wasted no time in reminding us that he is one of the best young players in the game.
Hayes is 9-for-26 with a .346 average, a home run, three RBI and four runs scored.
We as fans have to feel cheated for not getting to watch Ke’Bryan play ball much this season and it’s going to be a treat seeing him get the chance to develop in front of our eyes for a young Pittsburgh team that is in dire need of a spark plug.
5. Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson has been a consistent force for one of the best lineups in baseball through this entire season as he has his White Sox five games ahead of the pack in the American League Central.
During his last seven games, Anderson has a .379 batting average, a .552 Slugging Percentage, a home run and six RBI. His .302 batting average puts him just outside the top 10 in Major League Baseball.