4. Austin Hays does his best Trey Mancini impression and has a breakout year
Austin Hays absolutely destroyed the ball in the minors last year, ending the season slashing .330/.367/.594 with 32 home runs between his time at both single-A and double-A. I don’t think Hays is necessarily going to start the season in the majors, it seems like the Baltimore Orioles have this belief that Colby Rasmus and Alex Presley need to have spots on a major league roster.
But I think Hays playing in the majors is going to be an inevitability. If he’s playing in triple-A and he’s absolutely raking, which I would imagine he will based on how he did last year, there’s no way the Baltimore Orioles can keep him down.
The fact that Mark Trumbo is starting the year on the DL helps Hays’ chances too. That likely means either Trey Mancini or Rasmus starts as the DH (I would imagine that’d be Mancini since Rasmus is a good fielder) and an outfield spot opens up. The Orioles could fill that with Presley or Anthony Santander, but I feel like they have to see what they have in Hays.
And if Hays comes up and he starts hitting the ball well, there’s no way they’ll bench him. Mancini slashed .293/.338/.488 with 24 home runs last year, why can’t Hays do it?