Matt Hague is a 6’3″ right handed stick and glove out of Oklahoma State. Hague has hit .300/.370/.436 in three seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.
We grabbed a hard copy of Baseball America last night. It had the usual top prospects list from Dejan Kovacevic and the Pittsburgh Pirates were covered extensively, but it was an article on the back pages entitled, WINTER WONDERS by Bill Mitchell that caught our eye.
Mitchell discussed Hague, the Pirates ninth-round pick, getting ready for his fourth year with the Bucs by getting experience in Mexico playing for the Aguilas of Mexicali. It seemed exactly the HBO show Kenny Powers, except Hague is a first baseman.
The story described the fans, the music, and firing up a smoke in the dugout which seemed like great baseball talk proving that we gotta get to Mexico next winter.
Hague was strong for AA Altoona, the E.L. Champs last season, hitting .295/.375/.442 and belting 15 bombs. Hague showed excellent discipline at the plate striking out just 62 times in 509 at-bats. It was the second straight season of solid stats for Hague who hit for the third highest average in the A-ball Carolina League and his 135 hits were good for fourth best in the league. Playing for the Carolina League Champion Hillcats two seasons ago, Hague had a line of .293/.356/.412.
After getting slow starts out of the block for Altoona and Lynchburg the past two years, Hague was hoping Mexico would help him start stronger this year . But the Mexican League would have none of it and since players are dismissed after performing poorly, Hagues 3-for-21 start in eight games sealed his fate.
What does Kenny Powers say?
Mitchell writes that Hague had been warned about the style of pitching in Mexico.
“Batting here in Mexico is a totally different game than in the minor leagues. In the minor leagues there are a lot more power arms and throwers…..here I am lucky to see one or two fastballs in an at-bat. It is more difficult to sit on a pitch or try and cheat in an advantageous count, because the pitchers here will throw whatever, whenever….”
The challenge for the Pirates will be keeping the first base position open for enough at-bats to see if Hague can thrive at AAA. The Indianapolis 1B position is one we will be watching closely this season.
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