If all the talk from the Pittsburgh Pirates front office about building a World Series contender is true, then the Pirates will need to do everything in their power to sign third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to a long-term contract. If they are unable to pull this off, then it is time to chalk up the Pirates as one of the worst franchises in recent MLB history.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, 24, first entered the big leagues on September 1st, 2020 and went 2/5 with a double, 2 RBIs, and a home run. He finished the shortened season raking at a clip of .376/.442/.682, along with 5 HRs and 11 RBIs in just 95 plate appearences. Hayes batted better than any other Pittsburgh player during his time in the majors, with other top hitters such as Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier struggling through the final month of the shortened season. Hayes showed why he was one of the top ranked prospects in the MLB heading into the season, and gave Pirates fans a small glimmer of hope that the 2021 season could be somewhat respectable in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, Hayes picked up an injury after just two games, and was forced to miss around two months of action as a result. After coming off the injured list, Hayes showed why he is the building block of the franchise by going 2/4 with a triple and a single during his first game back. Say what you want, but Hayes ignited a 3-1 series win against the Miami Marlins, a series in which Pittsburgh played their most impressive ball so far this season. Hayes is currently batting second in the lineup and compliments lead-off hitter Adam Frazier and other big bats such as Jacob Stallings, Bryan Reynolds, and Colin Moran, who just came off the injured list himself. Hayes’s speed and big bat gives the following couple batters behind him a favorable chance to score him and others, while also creating scoring chances for himself as well if he can knock the ball out of the park.
In just 30 career games, Ke’Bryan Hayes has made his impact in Pittsburgh felt, and is already a top contender for National League Rookie of the Year after just four games removed from his stint on the 60-day injured list. The Pirates have many prospects throughout classes A-AAA doing well, and if they continue to perform well, they will get the call to the majors sooner rather than later. Pittsburgh could look very different next year as a result, and if Ke’Bryan Hayes is resigned, he will be the center of attention for the Pirates for many years to come.