To say that things haven’t worked out for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ke’Bryan Hayes is pretty much a foregone conclusion. The Bucs are battling it out with the Oakland A’s for the worst record in the majors and the number one pick in next year’s MLB Draft.

Both teams are experiencing losses in bunches. But prior to Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, a cool moment happened between two generation players.

Ke’Bryan Hayes got to catch the ceremonial first pitch from his father, former Phillies third baseman and Yankees World Series contributor Charlie Hayes.



The younger Hayes spoke on how cool the moment was via Justice delos Santos

“To be able to follow in his footsteps and then be on the field together, get a first pitch – that was the first time we’ve ever did that. It was pretty cool.” 

It might not be the last. According to, Ke’Bryan stated that there might be another opportunity to link up for another first pitch in New York when the Pirates play the Yankees in September. This moment might be even more special considering that it was the elder Hayes that closed out the 1996 World Series with a catch that started the franchise’s last dynasty of championship success.


The injury bug has bitten Ke’Bryan Hayes since his rookie season. His latest trip to the IL was a 10-day stint with a mid-back muscle strain. He had been held out of three games prior, trying to rest the injury to no avail. Since coming back, the Pirates hope that he can keep trending upward at the plate.

In the ten games before being injured, Hayes had slashes of .297/.350/.405 which is an improvement during a season in which he’s been up and down at the plate.

After getting off to a solid start through May 15th, the combination of his already elite defense and batting slashes of .301/.398/.381 with a .350 wOBA (weighted on base average) and 125 wRC+ (weighted Runs Created plus), had him positioned as one of the more valuable third basemen in the game based on the advanced stats.



Then Hayes went into a massive slump dropping slashes of just .222/.274/.346 with a .274 wOBA and 74 wRC+. The longer that slump continued, the more fans started to criticize the Pirates’ decision to give Hayes the biggest contract extension in franchise history at eight years and $70 million, which runs through at least 2029.

MLBbro Ke’Bryan Hayes Gets The Biggest Bag In Pittsburgh Pirates History | The Franchise Cornerstone Has Security believes that Hayes’ improvement will come with certain changes in his mechanics and discipline. The power that he has hitting the ball is still unquestioned as his numbers such as exit velocity, hard hit rate and chase rate can attest. But what is exactly the issue with a believed power hitter that is not hitting home runs? It’s in the swing.

According to Noah Wright’s analysis on, it’s broken down to a few things.

Ke’Bryan’s launch angle on his swing is at 4.7 degrees. This leads to ground balls that take away from power numbers. Up until this point in the season, Hayes has a ground ball rate of over 50 percent. With a reputation of hitting for power, this leads to a lot of frustration for everyone involved.

Hayes also hasn’t consistently pulled the ball due to the issues with his swing listed above. He pulls the ball less than 30 percent of the time while hitting the ball in the middle of the field at a higher rate (40 percent).

With an increase in pull rate to 40 percent and an adjustment in his launch angle a few degrees, if Hayes can keep his hard hit rate and exit velocity at the same levels, more balls could be deposited in the seats.   

Can this happen? Sure it can. covered the same issues with current San Diego Padres player, Josh Bell when he was with the Washington Nationals. His launch angle and ability to guide the ball led to great results this season. Much of the analysis from Mark Dero of the MLB Network can apply to Ke’Bryan Hayes going forward.

It’s hard to see a player get blamed for scoring a huge contract and get caught up in struggles that are surrounding his team. But in sports, that’s why players get the big bucks. But he does have the potential to be a f30-homer guy?  He doesn’t strike out a lot and is patient enough to draw walks. 

But with plausible evidence of his power based on how the ball jumps off the bat, if Hayes can make a few tweaks in his swing, this MLBbro will be a monster throughout his contract.

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