Ke’Bryan Hayes is this generation’s next great third baseman and is earning the title of highest-paid player in Pittsburgh Pirates’ franchise history with his play through the first month and a half of the season.
The hitting numbers Hayes is posting has positioned him to be the representative for Pittsburgh at this season’s All-Star Game, which would be quite an accomplishment in just his second Major League season. The son of MLBbro player Charlie Hayes would join Josh Bell and Andrew McCutchen as recent Black Pirates to obtain the honor.
— MLB (@MLB) May 1, 2022
Entering Sunday’s game, Hayes ranks in the top five for the National League in batting average, on base percentage and Offensive WAR. This coming after Hayes’ 2021 season was filled with injuries from the first game of the year till his last. After the second game of the season, Hayes felt a pain in his left wrist that made it difficult to grip the bat, leading to him being placed on the 60-day Injured List.
He returned to the Pirates’ lineup at the beginning of June but near the end of the season, injury struck again, leading to him being shut down in late September.
“I had to grind through it,” Hayes told reporters at the beginning of this year’s spring training. “Going into the offseason, I really wanted to forget about it and make sure that going into this next season my body is healthy for this spring training. I’m doing good, the wrist is feeling good, so I’m ready to get rolling.”
Hayes’ bank account was one thing injuries couldn’t keep down. Not even a week into the season Pittsburgh made the 25-year-old out of Tomball, Texas the highest-paid player in their franchise history with an eight-year $70 million deal with a club option for 2030.
If Hayes can stay healthy, the deal will prove to be a bargain for the Pirates.
He did scare fans during the team’s Opening Day game this season when the third baseman appeared to re-injure that same wrist that plagued him last year in the first inning and was forced out of the game. But it was just a scare, and he didn’t miss any time from it.
The one phase of Hayes’ game that may be the least surprising this season has been his play on defense.
— MLB (@MLB) June 27, 2021
The three-time Minor League Gold Glove award winner currently leads all Major League third baseman in Defensive WAR and putouts by a comfortable margin.
At the plate Hayes is batting .309 with an on base percentage above .400 and a .799 OPS to go along with eight RBI and three stolen bases.
What’s Poppin’ takes it to Pittsburgh to feature an electrifying bro.
KeBryan Hayes went off yesterday, going 3 for 5 against the Dodgers and adding one of five runs in a solid Pirates win.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 10, 2022
He already has seven games this season with at least two hits, a 4-for-4 game and had two consecutive 3-for-5 games, one against the Cincinnati Reds and the other coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pirates Playoff Push?
Hayes has his Pirates’ record closer to the .500 mark than most thought they would be. They are a young team with players who will continue to flow to the Bigs over the next few years, but it looks like Pittsburgh has already found they can put the franchise on Hayes’ back as they work towards getting back into the playoffs for the first time since 2015.