Since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft, outfielder Austin Hays has gone from a new player in the organization, to one of the most talked about prospects among Baltimore Orioles' fans. Since being promoted to AA Bowie, Hays has continued to excel at the plate.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Hays, 22 (turned 22 on Wednesday), was playing college baseball just some 14 months ago, and now he is hitting extremely well at the AA level.
Entering the 2017 season, Hays showed he could swing the bat after posting a .336 batting average with the Short-season A Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2016. The Orioles elected to have Hays start the year with the High-A Frederick Keys, thus having him skip the Low-A level completely.
Some anticipated he may struggle a bit to start, but that was the opposite of what took place. Hays proceeded to earn a Carolina League All-Star nod and hit .328 with 16 home runs, 15 doubles, three triples, 41 RBI and scored 42 runs in 64 games with the Keys. He was one of the most feared hitters in the Carolina League and was all over the league leader board in several offensive categories.
Thanks to his stellar play, the Orioles elected to promote Hays to AA Bowie on June 22.
Since his promotion, Hays has not only refused to slow down, he's been even better.
Through 15 games with the Baysox, Hays is hitting .350 with three home runs, four doubles, 12 RBI and has scored seven runs.
Over his 15 games with Bowie, only twice has Hays been hitless in a game. He also has six multi-hit games already in a Baysox uniform.
The outfield for Bowie was already a fun one to watch with Cedric Mullins and D.J. Stewart, but now that you add Hays, the Baysox outfield is must-see. It will be interesting to see if Hays continues to hit this way through July, and if he does, I would not rule out a possible promotion to AAA to finish out the year for him. Hays is quickly becoming a top prospect to watch in the Orioles' system.