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.
MLBbro Ke’Bryan Hayes Gets The Biggest Bag In Pittsburgh Pirates History | The Franchise Cornerstone Has Security
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.
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.
Don’t Even Watch Pirates Games For The Next 10 Days…Ke’Bryan Hayes Is Hurt
“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.
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.
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.
Josh Naylor etched his name into Major League Baseball’s history books Monday night by having the greatest late game performance in league history. He is the only player to ever record eight RBI in the eighth inning or later as he carried the Guardians to one of their biggest comebacks in franchise history. For that he takes the top spot on our Week 5 #HighFive list.
1. Josh Naylor
Josh Naylor changed the trajectory of the Guardians season with a few late inning swings Monday night leading him to the top spot on our #HighFive list.
The Guardians entered the ninth inning trailing Chicago 8-2. After getting a few runs across the plate Naylor entered the batters with two-outs and his team trailing 8-4. On the first swing of his at-bat he launched a grand slam to right field off closer Liam Hendricks. He shushed the crowd as he crossed home plate, clearly saving some emotion for what was to come later.
Then with the game tied at nine in the 11th, Naylor launched a two-out three-run home run to break the hearts of fans on Chicago’s Southside.
It may be the best home run celebration I have seen. We see players showing emotion more so now than in years past, but I’m not sure any player has shown more excitement than Naylor did.
In addition to his eight RBI, Naylor also had a game-saving scoop on a throw from third base in the bottom of the ninth inning to give himself a chance at being the hero later on.
Over his last seven games Naylor is batting .417 with a .875 slugging percentage, three home runs, 14 RBI and an on base percentage over .440.
He has been up and down from the Majors to the Minors over the last few seasons, but by the way he is going this season, he won’t have to leave the Guardians locker room any time soon.
2. Mookie Betts
We are going to see MVP Mookie Betts this entire season. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made it clear before the season his team has one goal in mind, win their eighth World Series championship, prompting Betts to respond as the teams table setter out of the leadoff spot.
Tuesday his season long 10-game hitting streak snapped but he made up for it by nailing a runner out at home in the first inning of that same game.
His 22 runs scored is good for second in the Majors as he trails Manny Machado by one for the lead. Over his last seven games Betts is batting .300 with seven RBI, two home runs and five runs scored helping his Dodgers get to the top of the N.L. West.
3. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge was the first player in the Majors to reach 10 home runs and has his team with the best record in the League going into this weekend as he earns the third spot on our #HighFive list.
Judge hit the first walk-off home run Tuesday night to kickoff what would be a three-game sweep in round one of their season-long matchup with the Blue Jay.
Through his last seven games Judge is batting .259 with six RBI, three walks and two home runs.
This weekend his Yankees travel to Chicago to take on Tim Anderson and the White Sox in their first matchup since the Field of Dreams game.
Saturday Night will be Tim Anderson bobblehead night.
4. Josh Bell
Josh Bell is making a case to be named an All-Star for the second time in his career by the way his 2022 season has started.
Josh Bell Talks The Melting Pot That Is the Washington Nationals
Bell’s .349 batting average is the third highest in the Majors and he talked with our very own Nick Hamilton last weekend about what he thought were the keys to his own success.
Through his last seven games Bell is batting .360 with a .448 on base percentage, three RBI and six runs scored.
5. Ke’Bryan Hayes
Ke’Bryan Hayes is earning the biggest contract in Pittsburgh Pirates history as he ranks in the top 10 for both WAR rating and on base percentage while being 11th in batting average.
He also leads all third baseman in Defensive WAR, but we have always acknowledged his potential to become the best defensive player in the league regardless of position.
Through his last seven games Hayes is batting .286 and has drawn three walks.
Ke’Bryan Hayes is expected to return to action on Saturday.
And when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ star third baseman does return from his left foreman spasm that knocked him out of the opener, Hayes will have a big bag with him.
The MLBbro reportedly has reached an agreement for a long-term contract extension that’ll be the richest in the organizations’ history, according to Robert Murray of Fansided. The contract extension is for eight years and will pay Hayes’ $70 million with the Pirates having the club option for Hayes’ ninth-year. Hayes can remain with the Pirates through the 2030 season.
Hayes spoke to the media about Opening Day and what the contract meant to him, “I’m just thankful for this opportunity, for them believing in me for a long-term deal,” said Hayes before the Pirates took on the St. Louis Cardinals. “I’m very committed, as I’m sure they’re committed for this partnership. I’m excited to get back to work this year….It shows how much they believe in me. With the little time that I have in the big leagues, it’s a huge confidence boost, showing they want me to be a guy who’s here for a long time and helps lead the way. It’s very humbling.”
This new deal surpasses the Pirates’ previous largest deal ever with Jason Kendall’s six-year, $60-million guaranteed deal contract back in 2000.
Hayes, 25, struck out in the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cards and then sustained an injury in the bottom of the inning.
It was called a cramp or spasm around his left wrist going up into his forearm. The Pirates and Hayes are pleased to hear that it wasn’t anything too serious as he’s listed day-to-day on the injury report, and should be good to go for the second game of this series against the Cardinals on Saturday.
“I knew it wasn’t an injury….I knew it was a cramp,” said Hayes, son of former MLB third baseman Charlie Hayes. “I was trying my best. There were like two or three pitches I didn’t even have my glove on. I was trying my best to get that thing to loosen back up. I just didn’t have the time to do it.”
Hayes, who played in only 96 games in the MLB’s 2021 season due to a lingering left wrist injury, scored 49 runs and had 38 RBI in that time. In his 2020 campaign, Hayes was on fire in 24 games, Hayes hit .376 with a 1.124 OPS and instantly thrust himself into the National League Rookie of the Year conversation.
In the offseason, Hayes tried to change up his batting mechanics, specifically his follow-through swing to help not aggregate the same injury again. That’s why when he sustained the scare during the opening game, it made his teammates worrisome.
“We were all holding our breath a little bit,” Pirates’ shortstop Cole Tucker told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Very up-and-down day for him. We were just kind of confused. Glad to know that it sounds like it’s nothing major.”
The Pirates finally paid the MLBbro what he rightfully deserved and locked up Hayes for the long-term, giving him the keys to leading the franchise going forward. He’s their future no doubt about it. The organization has had its share of Black talented players who’ve played for them, including Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, and last but least, the great Barry Bonds.
It was said that Parker was the first “Richest Man in Team Sports” as the Pirates gave him a $1 million per year contract that actually never came to fruition as the franchise pushed back payments over years as he played there after its World Series win in 1979 over the Baltimore Orioles. Stargell, the 1979 World Series MVP, played his entire career with the Pirates. But players didn’t make the kind of money they make now.
Bonds won the NL MVP Award in 1990, but was frustrated with the organization as he was one of the lowest-paid players in the majors during this time. Ultimately, he left for San Francisco.
The Pirates didn’t make the same mistake this time around with our MLBbro. Hayes deserved to get paid and will endure some tough times as the team goes through the rebuild phase. But there’s one thing for certain, he can AFFORD mostly anything through these times.
Ke’Bryan Hayes and Anthony Alford have both earned the opportunity to be major parts in the Pittsburgh Pirates rebuild.
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.
He returned to the Pirate lineup on June 3 and has been the best defensive third baseman in the league since — the numbers do not lie.
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.
On one occasion earlier this year after hitting one out against the Dodgers he failed to step on first while rounding the bases and was called out.
Anthony Alford’s Time Is Now
This is the first time in Anthony Alford’s career that he is getting a chance at extended playing time, and he’s making the most of it.
During his first two seasons with the Blue Jays he was ranked as a Top 20 prospect in the organization, but Alford played in a total of 33 games and only had one home run.
Fast forward to this season, and there have been many instances where he’s been the best player in their lineup, especially this month.
Alford has five home runs this season and four have come this month including two in one game against the Chicago Cubs.
He adds a .298 batting average, seven RBI and seven runs to his September statline.
It will be interesting to see what are the plans for the Pirates this off-season, but I’m certain they have two future stars to hold it down on the left side of the diamond.
Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes gets the first walk-off hit of his career to lift the struggling Pirates to a 4-3 comeback win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.