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Pirates’ Hayes optioned to Triple-A Indy

Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, Ke’Bryan Hayes actually wants to be a Pirate. Following Friday’s news, he’ll have to wait a little longer to get that official designation. Pittsburgh optioned MLB.com’s No. 41 overall prospect to Triple-A Indianapolis, the organization announced. Right-handers Geoff Hartlieb, Yacksel Ríos and Edgar Santana, left-hander Sam Howard, infielder Cole Tucker and outfielder Jason

Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, Ke’Bryan Hayes actually wants to be a Pirate. Following Friday’s news, he’ll have to wait a little longer to get that official designation. 
Pittsburgh optioned MLB.com’s No. 41 overall prospect to Triple-A Indianapolis, the organization announced. Right-handers Geoff Hartlieb, Yacksel Ríos and Edgar Santana, left-hander Sam Howard, infielder Cole Tucker and outfielder Jason Martin also were assigned to the Bucs’ International League affiliate.

Hayes made a solid impression in his first spring as a member of Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster. The 23-year-old third baseman hit .280/.400/.440 with one homer and one double in 13 Grapefruit League games. He also drew five walks, struck out four times and did not commit an error in 13 chances at the hot corner.
When the Minor Leagues safely resume play following the COVID-19 pandemic, Hayes will open with Indianapolis for the second straight season. The 2015 first-rounder hit .265/.336/.415 with a career-high 10 homers and 12 stolen bases over 110 games with the Indians last season. He also won a Minor League Gold Glove award for his work at third base, marking the third straight season in which he claimed the defensive honor.

Given that resume, it’s no surprise that Hayes’ most prominent skills are on defense. His fielding tool was given a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale by MLB.com while his arm earned a 60. His offense will decide what type of Major Leaguer Hayes can be. A career .279 hitter in the Minors, the Texas native has shown flashes of becoming a plus hitter from the right side. He could also gain some pop with experience, though his 10 homers in 2019 marked the first time he had cracked double-digits in the category.
Even if he becomes merely an average hitter, Hayes should take over as Pittsburgh’s everyday third baseman at some point in 2020, putting one piece of the Bucs’ turnaround into place.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.

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