The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted 2015 first round compensation pick Ke’Bryan Hayes to Morgantown from the GCL. Hayes put up excellent numbers in the GCL after being drafted, with a .333/.434/.375 line in 144 at-bats. He was praised at the time of the draft as a guy who could hit for average, get on base, hit for some gap power, and play strong defense. He did all of that in his pro debut.

The most impressive thing from Hayes was his defense, and that’s considering the impressive offensive performance he had. Hayes is a smooth fielder with a good arm that leaves no question about his abilities to stick at third base in the long-term. He doesn’t have much competition in that regard in the Pirates’ system.

The GCL season was set to wrap up at the end of the week, and they’re not making the playoffs. Meanwhile, Morgantown is a game and a half back in the Wild Card race, so this move gives Hayes some playoff experience, plus experience in a college league. The latter will be good, as Hayes will almost certainly make the jump to join the West Virginia Power next year, where he will be one of the youngest players in the league.

UPDATE 2:25 PM: The Pirates also promoted second baseman Raul Siri from the GCL to Bristol. Siri was one of the best players in the Dominican Summer League last year, earning an All-Star selection and tying the league record with 25 doubles. Since he was so dominant last year and turned 20 back in October, it seemed like Bristol would be where he would start the season this year. Siri even made it look like a bad choice early on to start him in the GCL by putting up a 1.112 OPS in his first nine games, but his batting went into a tailspin since then.

In 44 games in the GCL, he hit .235/.318/.322, with ten extra-base hits and ten stolen bases. Over those last 35 games, he hit .175/.254/.237, though he did play some solid defense at second base. He has six errors this season, with five coming as a third baseman, mostly before Hayes joined the team. In 26 games at second base, Siri made just one error. In his first pro season last year, Siri only played second base and there were strong reports about his defense.

While Morgantown still has two weeks left in their season, Bristol ends next Tuesday, so it won’t mean that much extra playing time for Siri. The move could be due to Trae Arbet not playing recently, likely due to injury, since he has been the everyday second baseman. Siri would be the better prospect of the two players, since he has plate patience, speed and defense, all tools which Arbet lacks. – John Dreker

UPDATE 5:45 PM: Kevin Kramer is also moving up from Morgantown to West Virginia. Kramer has been crushing the ball lately, with a 1.206 OPS in 70 plate appearances this month. He had five hits last night, which was his second game in his last five games with four or more hits. Pablo Reyes has been hurt, so Kramer could fill in at second base in West Virginia, joining Kevin Newman in the middle infield.

While Morgantown is battling for a playoff spot, West Virginia is basically in the mix, leading their division in the second half by nine games. This will allow Kramer to get some playoff experience for sure. It also makes it a bit more clear how Hayes will fit in at Morgantown. My guess is that Hayes will play third base, with Mitchell Tolman moving over to second. – Tim

UPDATE 6:00 PM: Jordan Luplow was placed on the West Virginia disabled list today, retroactive 8/23. Indianapolis also released some moves, placing John Bowker on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain, retroactive 8/22. Kelson Brown was activated from the Indianapolis DL. Alen Hanson was placed on the temporary inactive list. More on these moves soon. – Tim

UPDATE 6:09 PM: Hanson was placed on the inactive list due to the birth of his child.  – Tim

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26 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t even know who or what Ayn Rand is, so I have no idea what he’s saying…and I’d like to keep it that way since it isn’t baseball related

    • LA Sports Management ‏@LASportsMgmt

      Congrats to Alen Hanson on the birth of his first baby, a girl! Healthy & prosperity now y siempre! @indyindians @Pirates @AlenHanson92

  2. “Basically in the mix,” Tim? Don’t you mean leading all SAL teams in wins and a well-placed as a front-runner?

    • Sorry. I’m used to discussing MLB playoff races where the Pirates look like a guarantee, but if you say anything close to them being a guarantee you get people freaking out about jinxes and saying anything can happen.

      I’m already making travel plans for Charleston in a few weeks.

  3. Hayes was just one walk away from walking as much as he struck out…incredibly impressive for a 18 year old, regardless of the level.

    Pirates have done a fantastic job of drafting contact/patience over the last few years; just a few of these kids developing average or better power could lead to something special.

  4. I glad, but surprise it didn’t happened sooner, the Astros promoted Cameron and Tucker weeks ago and Hayes out performed both in the GCL. Promotion makes sense not only base on performance, but that darn rain that seem to cancel every other game.

    • Knowing the Pirates, I’m surprised it happened this soon. I fully expected him to get promoted after Saturday’s game and start playing for Morgantown on Monday. This is actually early for them, they usually wait for the GCL season to end.

  5. I cannot complain about the kid’s start, his batting average, and his K/walk numbers – all very impressive. I would like to see more extra base hit power from him, but I am sure that will come as he grows and matures – as he is a pretty big kid.

    • The pay does go up as you move up, but not among the short-season teams. It’s the same across those levels, though it’s less in the DSL. Even if a player today went from Morgantown to West Virginia, the difference over a short time wouldn’t really matter.

      That’s especially true for someone like Hayes, who got a huge bonus. His actual salary over the last three months will look like nothing compared to the first installment of his bonus.

        • It really is pathetic what they get paid. If you dont get a sizeable bonus, you dont actually make even okay money for about 3-4 years. Big risk for mid round picks that dont get a massive bonus.

            • A few articles have been written about it. Yes, they can have house parents so no rent. And they have a food budget, but its not realistic. When you listen to stories of guys who did it, its kinda shocking that ML teams let the young guys deal with that rather than paying them better and ensuring they have quality nutrition. It seems small, but ensuring the kids in A ball arent eating fast food a ton seems logical.

              • The expenses are very minimal. Sometimes the higher bonus players get apartments, but that’s on them to decide, the rest stay in local homes and they get meal money while they are on the road. In the DSL and GCL, everything is made for them, so they are eating good and they basically keep all of their pay unless they decide to spend it on stuff.

                I look at it this way, if you’re good, you get a good bonus and if you become good, they add you to the 40-man roster, which gives you a lot more money than a low-level salary, but if you’re not that good at baseball, then it’s up to you to get better or move on because someone else will gladly take your place

                • I get that to some degree, but in reading more than a little from previous minor league guys….this isnt an issue of “you dont have that many expenses, its easy”. Its paying guys less than $20,000 a year, which is fine because guys will take it thinking they will make the bigs…but it’d make a ton of sense for teams to pay these guys better if only to ensure they are staying healthy in their eating habits and health.

                  A big bonus makes up for it, but many arent making that bonus. They make the trade of absurdly low wages for the potential to make millions later.

                  • One of the problem lies in the sheer number of players each system has. There are about 260 players right now and they all want substantial raises. That’s a lot of money. The players get fed at home, they get per diems on the road, they have minimal expenses during the year and most cities have ways to earn extra money, which usually goes to the players that need it, autograph signings, appearances, etc. And it goes without saying that a lot of the players have supportive parents and they are very young.

                    In a farm system, about 70-80% of the players are fillers with little chance of even reaching AAA. They go into this knowing the pay and they are willing to do it for a shot. You start paying them a lot more and you’re probably going to see a lot less jobs available, as teams would reconsider how many fillers they have around. I don’t think players consider that part. There might be a lot of players that never even get that shot if the costs go up and then they end up playing independent ball for less money and less chance of making it.

                    It’s really difficult to convince teams that they need to pay about 175 players with no shot of making it, more money when they could find thousands of others willing to take their spot for less and many of them are just as talented.

                    I don’t think anyone goes into baseball with no idea about the pay. They tell late round picks, this is what you get and are you willing to work for it, if not, they go on to someone else with the pick. If you’re not that good and you’re worried about the money, then minor league ball isn’t for you, but the good part is that no one is forced to choose that profession.

                    The food part only becomes an issue once they leave the DSL/GCL, so for short-season teams, you’re talking 2 1/2 months, with part of it covered during home games(sometimes by host families) and the other part by their per diem. Then once they reach low-A, they make more money, and some of them might need to get a winter job until the get better. The problem is that you can’t just give extra money to the few that need it, it has to be spread around to everyone, including the guys you gave six or seven figure bonuses to and there are a lot of those in the system at one time.

  6. Good move on Hayes… I would also like to see Munoz move up from Bristol and maybe Nagle and Bastardo down to Bristol in order to get both short season teams in the playoffs for extended play versus the top teams in their respective leagues.

  7. That’s good to hear about the defense. There’s just a lot to like about this kid. He’s a legacy, good physical tools, plays a premier position. He probably runs into a little adversity up there but sounds like he needed the challenge. So far, so good.

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