The numbers may not show it yet, but Baltimore Orioles’ outfield prospect Austin Hays has been a consistent hitter for the Bowie Baysox in 2018.
Hays, the Orioles 2016 third round draft pick, has a slash line of .263/ .317/ .421 as he enters play Monday for the Baysox. He has 2 homeruns and 4 RBI to go along with 4 walks and 11 strikeouts on the young season. Hays is currently riding a three-game multi-hit streak and has gotten at least one hit in 7 of the Baysox’s 9 games. Over his last 4 games played, Hays has seen his batting average rise 120 points; he hit .412 in those 4 games.
Considered the Orioles’ top prospect by MLB Pipeline, Baby Birdland and others, Hays was the first member of the 2016 draft class to break into the Major Leagues when he was called up early last September.
It was the overall package of skills Hays possesses that fueled his rocket-like rise through the Orioles system. His bat led that skill set and it is that bat that will get him back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The 22 year-old energized the fan base last September and entered Spring Training with a decent shot to make the club as a right fielder in 2018. A shoulder injury hindered Hays during the spring and led to his assignment back to the minor league camp. In my opinion, it was a convenient reason to send him down in favor of Craig Gentry and Colby Rasmus and avoid a possibly difficult decision; Gentry and Rasmus are known favorites of Orioles manager, Buck Showalter.
For the record, Hays managed to play in 15 games during the spring in which he slashed .243/ .295/ .297 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI; he walked just twice while striking out 12 times.
Hays is aggressive at the plate and it is that aggression that will either make or break him. His high strike out numbers show that pitchers are exploiting that aggressiveness and will continue to do so unless he learns to control it. I am sure we will see improvements as the season wears on.
Orioles’ fans have neither heard the last nor seen the last of Hays. As his recent numbers show, Hays is and will be a solid bat in the Baysox lineup; continued batting prowess will lead to a promotion.
Youth will be served Orioles’ fans and Hays will play a major part; his bat is just too good. He will return to Oriole Park permanently, you can bank on it. It’s just a matter of when.
** To read more from Josh Michael (founder/editor Baby Birdland), Nick Stevens and myself about all levels of the Baltimore Orioles minor leagues please visit Baby Birdland **