Pittsburgh Pirates: Analyzing Best Position Player Prospect Tools
After going over each of the best pitching tools among the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects, now let’s take a look at each of the best position player tools.
Last week, we went over each of the best tools for Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects. That included their fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and control/command. Since FanGraphs and now MLB Pipeline released their top Pirates prospects. With the release of their lists, they also gave grades of each tool a player has. Now, we’ll take a look at the hitters.
There are a handful of different tools that are graded here. Hit, power/game/raw power, fielding, arm/throw and run/speed. MLB Pipeline grades out five tools while MLB Pipeline grades out six tools as they consider both game power and raw power two separate tools. They also give a current grade as well as a projected future grade. Both sites grade each tool on the 20-80 scale where 20 is considered a well below average mark while 80 is considered the best.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at our first tool and out first prospect.
FanGraphs: 55 Current, 60 Future
MLB Pipeline: 60
While Ji-Hwan Bae was a close second, exciting young third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes takes the cake here. Though Bae had a 70 future hit grade on FanGraphs, Hayes had the higher current grade and higher grade on MLB Pipeline as well.
Hayes shot up prospect boards this year. After starting out 2020 as a top 50-60 prospect, he’s now considered a top 5-10 prospect. This is mainly due to his outstanding showing with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. In his first 95 plate appearances at the major league level, Hayes batted for an outstanding .376/.442/.682 line with a .464 wOBA and 195 wRC+. He also cranked out 5 home runs and ran out 14 doubles. He also walked a fair amount with a 9.5% walk rate and struck out at a solid 21.5% rate. He also hit well in the second half of 2019, and hit for average and got on base at a strong rate in 2018.
Hayes runs well with a 60-current speed grade on FanGraphs and on MLB Pipeline. He also built up his power by a notable amount. According to FanGraphs, he started out as a hitter projected with a 40-game power grade, but has now risen to a 50-grade guy. Hayes does have the potential for good power, putting up 92 MPH exit velo in 2019 and 2020 and 55.4% hard hit rate in 2020. For his hit tool to play up to the 60-grade it’s projected as, he needs to start hitting more line drives and fly balls. He had a 47.7% ground ball rate in 2020 and struggled with a high ground ball rate in 2019 at Indianapolis. However if 2021 Spring Training is any indication, that won’t be a huge concern this year.