On Monday it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates top position player prospect, Ke’Bryan Hayes, was set to rejoin the team after battling COVID-19
Entering summer camp, it appeared that one of the top prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system had a legitimate shot at cracking the Opening Day roster. The prospect that this belief was about is third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes.
While Hayes, via his social media postings, was in Pittsburgh, he was not working out with the team. At first, manager Derek Shelton said it was for undisclosed reasons, but that it was healthy related. Then over this past weekend, the team revealed that Hayes tested positive for COVID-19.
This made Hayes one of four confirmed positive COVID-19 tests for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He joined relief pitching prospect Blake Cederlind, starting right fielder Gregory Polanco and outfielder Socrates Brito. Brito has since recovered and rejoined the team, and, due to Polanco’s battle with the virus, will now likely be part of the team’s Opening Day roster.
Then on Monday, news broke that Hayes has been clear to return from his battle with COVID-19. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette added that Hayes worked out at PNC Park on Monday.
All of this is, obviously, good news for Hayes and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hopefully, Hayes will be able to get back in game shape quickly and be ready to join the Pirates.
Prior to missing summer camp, Hayes appeared to have a legitimate shot of winning the team’s third base job. This job has since been locked down by the incumbent, Colin Moran. In exhibition action Moran has looked good with a pair of two hit games, including a home run.
That said, Moran has been a below average hitter and an abysmal defensive player in his MLB career. Even if he continues to hit once the regular season starts, since the team will not be using Josh Bell as their designated hitter it would make sense to put Moran there with Hayes starting at third base.
This is due to the defensive prowess of Hayes, who is a two-time minor league Gold Glove Award winner at third base. In addition to being head and shoulders above Moran as a defender, Hayes would likely already be one of the best defensive third basemen in the entire MLB.
Regardless of how things shake out, Hayes should make his MLB debut at some point in 2020. When he does, his reign at third base will likely begin, signalling a new era for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the position.