Ke’Bryan Hayes Ranks Among Top Third Base Prospects

MLB Pipeline continued their rankings of the top prospects at each position in the minors, going with third baseman on Tuesday. Ke’Bryan Hayes was named the fifth best third baseman, just two days before his 19th birthday. They called him an advanced hitter for his age, with the footwork, hands, arm strength and instincts to remain at third base.

The 32nd overall pick from the 2015 draft got some great experience in his first year by signing early and reporting to the GCL, where he hit .333/.434/.375 in 44 games. He finished second in the league in batting average, losing the title on the last day of the season. Hayes was promoted to Morgantown, where he played another 12 regular season games and five playoff games. That should set him up nicely for a promotion to West Virginia to start 2016, where he would be one of the youngest players in the league.

We took a look at Hayes yesterday during our top prospect countdown, ranking him tenth overall in the Pirates’ system. He has the bat and glove to make him a regular in the majors for a long time, as long as he progresses well through the system. If he develops power, then he could be an above average player.

The Pirates have been well represented so far on the prospect lists, making five of the first six, including two of the top six catchers. This link from yesterday has links to all of the other lists. Austin Meadows is sure to make the outfield list on Thursday, and when the top 100 is announced on Friday night, the Pirates will be near the top for number of players on the list.

  • Would be interested in knowing where you guys think Hayes ends his season this year…
    He seems to have the hit tool to get to AA – and the glove works…

    Would it be good thing to push him – challenge him – Harper and Trout both fast tracked to the majors – Hayes is the one Pirate prospect that would seem to be a possible for the same sort of thing – or am I over reaching on the reports on him.

    Do the Pirates do any psych kind of thing with these guys?

    I think some players need to be challenged and pushed – while others need to be “developed” – Mike Trout is a good example of the first group – he would have gone crazy with Huntington telling hime “Mike – you need at least 1500 ABs in the minors and at least 500 at AA and 500 at AAA before we can bring you to the majors”. Pedro I think was in the opposite group – needed to get comfortable at each level – more ABs would be better than fewer. I actually thought they brought him up too soon – and paid a price…

    • I love Hayes, but he is no Harper or Trout.

      As for that myth about NH holding prospects back, I feel confident that, had we had Harper or Trout, that 1500 rule wouldn’t have applied. And, if they had, Harper and Trout would’ve had to deal with it. If Trout had ‘gone crazy’ then it would’ve been a lesson in patience for him.

      Of course, Trout didn’t do well his first year, so there’s that.

      • Hmmmm
        I don’t know – a short season – 145 ABs and a 0.7 WAR at age 19 – then two years of 10+ WAR…

        I really don’t understand why it is a bad idea to get good players into the majors – passing on two years of 10 WAR so Trout learns do ‘deal with it” seems silly at best and asinine at worst.

        And you may be right – Hayes may not be Trout or Harper – but maybe Meadows is – or someone else – my concern is that the Bucs seem to have a formula – and it sounds logical – but it has not worked very well…

        We all love Kang – but does anyone really think that the Pirates would have invested in Kang had Hanson developed into what we all were led to believe he would be 3 years ago. Kang was a move out of desperation because the farm system could not produce quality alternatives.

        I would remind everyone that the great J-Hay was a AAAA player a couple of years ago that could not make the roster out of spring training – thinking he is a lock to put up 2+ WAR this year might be a bit on the wild side.

        • Kang was a desperation move, sure man.

          • Kang does not happen if Hanson develops the way he was expected to – that was my point and I am sticking to it…

            • Kudos for standing by your point sir.

              Having said that, i find it making 0 sense. Kang basically split time between SS and 3B, and i dont think there is any way he finds that same split if Mercer gets hurt and we have no other option at SS.

              Kang was about 3B and increased ML ready depth. Hanson wasnt ML ready depth to start last year, and thus his position really didnt matter.

        • You wait because once you bring him up, his clock starts ticking. How many players start putting up their prime numbers at 21-22. Regardless how good Harper has been, I have a feeling the Nats would gladly trade his first three years (4.6, 4.0, 1.4 WAR) for the three after he becomes a free agent. (I’m actually not sure how Harpers contract worked, so his clock may have been ticking sooner, rather than later). He’s going to be a free agent at age 25-26. IT would really suck for the Yankees or other team that can simply outspend the Nats (and that’s a pretty high bar) to get to enjoy those prime years.

    • You may have your answer if you look at the years that Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson had at Lo A in 2012, and they stayed at that level the whole season. If he gets that promotion to Lo A I think he will stay at that level all year.

    • Maybe I am too patient but why would we even want to rush the guy? Kang is at 3B for the next three years. Harrison will probably be the back up assuming Hanson, Moroff, or Frazier grabs the starting 2B position.

      Leave Hayes in Low A until he proves he is ready for a challenge. (He will already be one of the youngest players there.). Best (but unlikely) case is he moves to Hi A by mid-season is ready for AA in 2017. That to me would still be very aggressive as he would be in AA at 20 years old.

      • Michael Sanders
        January 26, 2016 8:04 pm

        I know that a lot of people say that Kang will be playing soon and the same or better than he did last year. Has anyone who has viewed the mini camps seen any adverse affect in his batting stance or hesitation to make plays? Is he even cleared to play?

        • Not sure mini camp would be a good representation of how he’s doing I think we will have to wait till opening day or later for when he’s finished his recovery to see how he’s doing

  • Really looking forward to seeing whether or not the org can teach power, because the scouts have pretty much delivered hitters that were expected on draft day since going to this hit-over-power philosophy in 2013.

  • This was the best pick in the draft by far IMO. Hopefully he develops well and contribute in a big way. Impressive start to this point.

  • John are you surprised or expected with where these guys are being ranked? Any major differences with your opinon?

    • I thought Taillon had a chance to get 9-10, but I also knew there is reason to be skeptical on him right now. They did mention him as one of five who just missed, so that’s fine. I wasn’t sure if Diaz would make the top ten, but apparently catcher isn’t a strong position now. Everyone else so far falls where I think they should be. No one is on their shortstop list according to Jim Callis and that’s to be expected at a strong position in the minors and no top ten guys in the system. I’ll have to see the outfield list before I can figure out if Harold Ramirez had a case for the back-end of it.

      • John, do prospects get a boost on top lists by being at the top of a weaker position? i.e. McGuire, Diaz. Because they represent a position with less talent, does that make them more valuable because quality catchers are harder to find?

        • If I understand the question right, do you mean their ranking on the top 100? I can say that Josh Bell was the only 1B in the top 100 for most people last year because the position was weak, so it didn’t help whoever was #2.

          If you mean trade value, I guess it could help for a short time, but most positions that are weak at a certain point, are just there as part of a cycle. Catching used to be a deep position not that long ago, so Diaz probably wouldn’t have made the list. I remember McGuire being ranked 7th at one point and if anything, he has taken a small step back due to the bat not coming around as fast as you would like. Yet he’s ranked #4 and it’s hard to argue against that ranking when you look at who is behind him.

          The Pirates farm system right now is at a high point because all of their top prospects are near the top of the system, but if Taillon, Bell, Hanson, Diaz and Glasnow all graduate this year, you could see Hayes in the top five in the system instead of ten where he is now, yet he doesn’t have to get any better to move up.

          • “but if Taillon, Bell, Hanson, Diaz and Glasnow all graduate this year, you could see Hayes in the top five in the system instead of ten where he is now, yet he doesn’t have to get any better to move up.”

            Boom. Hence “prospect list”.

      • Thanks

        • If you have a minute, go back and look at the Top 10 position lists from ’11/’12/’13. SS and OF are always stacked with guys who actually turned out to be decent big leaguers, as you’d expect, but I was surprised how few 2B, 3B, and even catchers ended up succeeding. Most who did and were ranked outside of the top few were just young at the time and moved to the top of the lists in subsequent years. Then look at the first base lists if you really want a laugh.

          I guess this somewhat makes sense given what we know about prospects at the up-the-middle positions, but it kind of surprised me how few 2B/3B/1B are actually in the minor leagues in a given year. Everyone loves lists, but this wouldn’t appear to be a great judge of future potential.

          • Yeah, you have to take the 2B and 3B lists with a grain of salt. A lot of the future All Star 2B and 3B are still playing SS in the minors as teams try to maximize their value as long as possible. Especially true with second basemen

  • Pretty impressive ranking for someone as young as him ( 7-8 months ago he was going to prom) and being drafted just this past year. Pretty exciting to have all this talent in the farm system.

    • Everyone likes shiny, new things.

      Don’t get me wrong, I liked the pick a lot. Means absolute squat. Luis Heredia was once a top ten prospect. So was Stetson Allie.

      • Big difference in that both Allie and Heredia completely messed the bed in rookie ball… abysmally. Allie had to drop his pitchers glove after season two and Heredia should. Normally I would completely agree with your sentiments because, especially on this site, fans always see projections as production but I do see Hayes as having proven something as a pro.

        To your defense though, I seem to remember rookie league flashes like Tyler Gushue etc. looking like something as Frosh only to fizzle in the fa-shizzle.