Baby Birdland's 2017 Mid-Season Top 15 Baltimore Orioles' Prospects: #3 OF Austin Hays

Just as we did after the conclusion of the 2016 season, the writers here at Baby Birdland, as well as our primary photo supplier Patrick Cavey, all submitted a Top 15 list and we averaged those lists together to get our all encompassing Baltimore Orioles Top 15 Prospects list. Continuing on with our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we have reached #3, outfielder Austin Hays.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

We have reached our Top 3, and it was a tightly contested trio. First up is 22-year old outfielder Austin Hays, who is quickly becoming a well known name among Orioles fans.

Hays was selected by the Orioles in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Jacksonville and all he has done since being drafted is hit, and hit with authority.

After being drafted, the outfielder burst onto the scene by hitting .336 with four home runs, nine doubles, two triples, 21 RBI and scored 14 runs over 38 games with the Aberdeen Ironbirds. He also posted a .386 on base percentage and a .900 OPS.

Thanks to that performance, Hays earned a organizational All-Star nod for 2016.

Coming into the 2017 season, the Orioles elected to have Hays skip the Low-A level, and go straight to the High-A Frederick Keys. It was a risk, but the O's felt Hays was ready and boy did he prove them right.

Over 64 games with the Keys, Hays hit .328 with 16 home runs, 15 doubles, three triples, 41 RBI and scored 42 runs. In addition he owned a .364 OBP and a .956 OPS. His performance earned him three Carolina League Player of the Week honors, as well as a starting spot in the Carolina League All-Star Game.

As if that were not enough, the Orioles promoted Hays to AA in late June before turning 22. Guess what? Hays kept on hitting and has even performed better than he was in Frederick.

Over 33 games with the Baysox (as of August 2), Hays is hitting .338 with 10 home runs, 10 doubles, one triple, 31 RBI and has scored 23 runs. He also has a .368 OBP and a robust 1.015 OPS.

At this rate, it would not be a surprise to see Hays play at the AAA level before the season comes to a close.

Hays also earned the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Month award for June, and is certainly one of a handful of players in the running for the O's Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award.

He has all of the tools at the plate with terrific bat speed, plenty of power and the ability to keep the barrel of the bat in the zone for a long time.

Of the five lists submitted by Baby Birdland writers, Hays appeared on all five of them and was ranked as high as 2nd (three of the five).

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