The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted 2015 first round compensation pick Ke’Bryan Hayes to Morgantown from the GCL. Hayes put up excellent numbers in the GCL after being drafted, with a .333/.434/.375 line in 144 at-bats. He was praised at the time of the draft as a guy who could hit for average, get on base, hit for some gap power, and play strong defense. He did all of that in his pro debut.
The most impressive thing from Hayes was his defense, and that’s considering the impressive offensive performance he had. Hayes is a smooth fielder with a good arm that leaves no question about his abilities to stick at third base in the long-term. He doesn’t have much competition in that regard in the Pirates’ system.
The GCL season was set to wrap up at the end of the week, and they’re not making the playoffs. Meanwhile, Morgantown is a game and a half back in the Wild Card race, so this move gives Hayes some playoff experience, plus experience in a college league. The latter will be good, as Hayes will almost certainly make the jump to join the West Virginia Power next year, where he will be one of the youngest players in the league.
UPDATE 2:25 PM: The Pirates also promoted second baseman Raul Siri from the GCL to Bristol. Siri was one of the best players in the Dominican Summer League last year, earning an All-Star selection and tying the league record with 25 doubles. Since he was so dominant last year and turned 20 back in October, it seemed like Bristol would be where he would start the season this year. Siri even made it look like a bad choice early on to start him in the GCL by putting up a 1.112 OPS in his first nine games, but his batting went into a tailspin since then.
In 44 games in the GCL, he hit .235/.318/.322, with ten extra-base hits and ten stolen bases. Over those last 35 games, he hit .175/.254/.237, though he did play some solid defense at second base. He has six errors this season, with five coming as a third baseman, mostly before Hayes joined the team. In 26 games at second base, Siri made just one error. In his first pro season last year, Siri only played second base and there were strong reports about his defense.
While Morgantown still has two weeks left in their season, Bristol ends next Tuesday, so it won’t mean that much extra playing time for Siri. The move could be due to Trae Arbet not playing recently, likely due to injury, since he has been the everyday second baseman. Siri would be the better prospect of the two players, since he has plate patience, speed and defense, all tools which Arbet lacks. – John Dreker
UPDATE 5:45 PM: Kevin Kramer is also moving up from Morgantown to West Virginia. Kramer has been crushing the ball lately, with a 1.206 OPS in 70 plate appearances this month. He had five hits last night, which was his second game in his last five games with four or more hits. Pablo Reyes has been hurt, so Kramer could fill in at second base in West Virginia, joining Kevin Newman in the middle infield.
While Morgantown is battling for a playoff spot, West Virginia is basically in the mix, leading their division in the second half by nine games. This will allow Kramer to get some playoff experience for sure. It also makes it a bit more clear how Hayes will fit in at Morgantown. My guess is that Hayes will play third base, with Mitchell Tolman moving over to second. – Tim
UPDATE 6:00 PM: Jordan Luplow was placed on the West Virginia disabled list today, retroactive 8/23. Indianapolis also released some moves, placing John Bowker on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain, retroactive 8/22. Kelson Brown was activated from the Indianapolis DL. Alen Hanson was placed on the temporary inactive list. More on these moves soon. – Tim
UPDATE 6:09 PM: Hanson was placed on the inactive list due to the birth of his child. – Tim