The Pittsburgh Pirates finally saw one of their prospects recognized by MLB Pipeline as one of the best at their position. Did any of third base prospects make the cut?
So far MLB Pipeline has released six top 10 prospect lists based on position. The Pittsburgh Pirates failed to have a top right-handed or left-handed pitching prospect. The team also did not have a catcher or first baseman ranked. However, yesterday the team at MLB Pipeline released their Top 10-second base prospect list and the Pittsburgh Pirates finally had a prospect make the cut. Ji-Hwan Bae, a 20-year-old middle infield prospect, was ranked as the ninth best second base prospect in baseball.
Today, MLB Pipeline released their top 10 prospects that play third base. Many fans know that Ke’Bryan Hayes is the top positional prospect in their organization. However, MLB Pipeline views him as one of the best third base prospects in the game. According to the prospect site, Hayes is the second best third base prospect in the league.
This speaks volumes about the type of player Hayes can be at the next level. The only player in front of him on the list is Phillies’ prospect Alec Bohm, who was the third overall pick in 2018 and projects to be a pure, middle of the lineup type bat. Hayes, however, might be the best all-around third baseman.
The Pittsburgh Pirates know what they are getting in Hayes as a defender. He has won the Minor League Gold Glove at third base the last three years. MLB Pipeline named him on their All-Defense team that they released last week. However, the question mark has always been about the type of bat Hayes would provide.
He has had a solid career at the plate through the minor leagues. He has always hit for a decent career average at .279 with a solid .354 OBP. His power has slowly developed over the years and his slugging percentage is now at an even .400 after a strong year in 2019.
Speaking of 2019, Hayes spent all of it at Triple-A Indianapolis. He got off to a rough start and only hit just .245/.336/.398 (.734 OPS), through the first 63 games. This obviously raised some concerns being a step away from a potential big league début. However, his second half was really strong and gave reason to be optimistic. In his final 46 games, he hit for a solid.290 batting average and raised his OPS to a respectable .772. Furthermore, he batted an impressive .327 in the month of August.
Hayes also finished the year with a career-high in home runs, reaching double digits for the first time at 10. If Ke’Bryan Hayes can post similar numbers to what he did in the second half of last year and play elite defense, he very well could be the third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the coming years. If nothing else, MLB Pipeline views him as one of the best third base prospects in baseball.