Baltimore Orioles: Austin Hays Ready to Compete in Spring Training

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Austin Hays has risen from a third-round draft pick to one of the best prospects in the Orioles’ organization.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Austin Hays has risen from a third-round draft selection in 2016 to the No. 21 overall prospect in the prospect rankings by Baseball America.

This has boded well as his rise has attributed to the growth of the Orioles farm system as a whole. With spring training less than three weeks away, the Orioles have considered the possibility of Austin Hays as the everyday right fielder for the Orioles in 2018.

Such a move would improve the outfield defense by replacing Mark Trumbo and pushing him to a more permanent DH role. Austin Hays got a taste of the major leagues in his great ascent from the High-A Frederick to AA Bowie to Baltimore.

Being the first player in the 2016 draft to reach the majors is quite an impressive feat.  Nonetheless, the Orioles are interested in acquiring a lefty bat to even up the heavy right-handed lineup, given that Chance Sisco, Chris Davis, Anthony Santander, and Jaycob Brugman is the only ones. Austin Hays will have to have a Trey Mancini type of performance at Spring Training to be able to start the year in right field for the Baltimore Orioles.

Trey Mancini had an impressive debut in 2016 when a Steve Pearce injury forced a roster addition. In spring training, Mancini was so fired up and ready to deliver that he impressed the staff and was placed on the 25 man roster.

Mancini in 60 spring training bats accumulated 20 hits, three home runs, seven doubles, and 14 RBI’s. This type of performance proved to be enough to show the Orioles that at least hit bat was Major League ready.  Mancini would hit .293 with 24 home runs, 78 RBI’s and a solid .338 OBP to finish third in the rookie of the year voting.

The need for a lefty bat in the line-up may push the Orioles to sign a lefty bat and potentially push Hays down to the minors for the beginning of the season.

If Hays can show that he indeed does belong in the Majors, this Spring Training will be an opportunity to showcase his incredible talents both offensively and defensively. While Hays could platoon against lefty pitchers, his talents merit an opportunity to play every day.

Concerning the nearby future, the Orioles do have lefty bats on the way in the farm with Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart and could later be tapped into in 2018.

Hays, however, offers the full package and may be ready now to start the season in Baltimore. Austin Hays will come to camp to prove he can be the everyday right fielder.