Pirates Number 2 Prospect Expects A Lot From Himself

Ke'Bryan Hayes Enjoying His First Big League Camp

Eric Hagman
February 22, 2019 - 7:32 pm

Eric Hagman 93.7 The Fan

Bradenton, FL (93.7 The Fan) - For 22-year-old prospect Ke'Bryan Hayes being surrounded by Major Leaguers is nothing new, but he appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the Pirates major league camp, even though he isn't on the 40-man roster.  Hayes, the Pirates number 2-rated minor league player, is the son of Charlie Hayes, who played 14 seasons, including 124 games at third base for the Pirates in 1996.  The younger Hayes is also a third baseman, maybe the best defensive one not in the majors.

"I think it's just from a young age he always had me focus on defense just as much as offense," Hayes said of his father's influence.  "I think it's just a bunch of reps and picking these guys brains and seeing what they did, kind of like observing and slowing the game down and knowing where to go (plus) thinking two plays ahead."

While his defense receives raves, Hayes is no slouch at the plate, batting .293 with 7 home runs for double-a Altoona in 2018.  Scouts and evaluators believe he'll develop into a better-than-average run producer.

"I think last year was a really good year for me," Hayes said.  "Some of the power started to show up.  They just tell me not to try to force it.  As I get older the ball will start to carry a little bit more as I get a little stronger.  I'm just kind of sticking to that, going up there and controlling the zone and driving the ball."

It doesn't take long to realize that Hayes is anything but a brash know-it-all young player.

"I'm just blessed to be here," Hayes said.  "Whenever I came in here the first day I looked to my right and have 14-year Melky Cabrera and have Josh Bell sitting next to me.  It's just very humbling.  I'm going to take in as much information as I can before the season."

Hayes has moved rapidly through the Pirates minor league system since he was drafted 32nd overall in 2015.  With his background and pedigree, is there pressure to get to the majors as quickly as possible?

"Not really," he said.  "I don't really think about it all, actually."

Hayes likely will spend the season at triple-a Indianapolis and knows what kind of season he expects of himself.

"Hopefully, it goes good," he said, laughing.