Two Orioles for the fantasy baseball rookies series and Grey plants his flag in the Shizzville district of Camden Town. I’m someone sad like Morrissey singing about Camden Town. *places hand on ear to listen intently, another hand on my heart, swaying back and forth singing a song I don’t know so it’s just mumbles* “Blue blue blue, sad sad sad…So sad…” That’s me singing a sad song I don’t know. *climbs fence at the late Boog Powell’s house and places a flower on his freshly dug grave, sniffs around* That smells terrible. Just then Boog Powell comes out of the house, screaming, “I’m not dead! That’s my septic tank!” Sorry, Boog! I’m getting in touch with my O’s love! It’s my O’s face! Okay, fellas and five ellas, I don’t suddenly love the Orioles, but Austin Hays has great defense and an interesting hitting profile for fantasy. Defense doesn’t mean much for us, but it helps pencil in playing time. Here’s him making one of the best catches of last year:

How much does Gorilla Glue have to advertise to get that placement behind home plate and also get Austin Hays to beat his chest like a gorilla? Did every Orioles player beat their chest after every routine catch? Is that all part of the same advertising campaign? What’s that, you don’t have Gorilla Chest-Thumps as a category in your league? Hmm…Can you find a new league? No? Okay. So, what can we expect from Austin Hays for 2020 fantasy baseball?

According to scouting reports I’ve seen, Austin Hays is a 60 for raw power and 50 for speed. 60 is above average. Hello, 30/20, baaaaaaaaabee! Though, that would be the best we’ve ever seen from Hays. By a lot. In Triple-A last year, when, like his teammates Ryan Mountcastle, he spent way too much time in the minors, Hays went 10/6/.254 in 59 games. *insert GIF of Larry David making a meh face* He also had a 23.7% K-rate and 4.3% walk rate. Like any group of people who decided to go hiking in a cave, the deeper we go, the worse it’s getting. Hays seemed nonplussed with MLB pitching (like everyone) and went 4/2/.309 in only 21 games. *chef’s kiss* Samples are best in small sizes. Like an amuse bouche of stats. Austin Hays also hit .419 vs. righties in the majors, which is legitimately hilarious and highlights how small this sample really is. There’s worry he won’t hit .220, so for him to hit .400-anything is pure comedy. What he’s good for methinks, as mebegins to talk like a leprechaun, is a 15-team or deeper weekly league flyer. As I focused on above, he should see everyday playing time, due to his defense, and can go 22/12. The average may be hit or miss, literally, but someone with his speed/power profile and at-bats could even be a deep league sleeper. If he shocks the world and hits .270+, he might be a 3rd fantasy outfielder in all leagues, not just deep ones. For 2020, I’ll give Austin Hays projections of 66/18/51/.244/12 in 507 ABs with a chance for more.

  1. DonnieB says:
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    With 500+ at bats, I will take the over on 24 HRs. Hays is a great hitter in a great Park with always a great team around him and a good manager beside him….just kidding! Great writeup GREY. You are spot on him

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Yeah, he could get over 24 HRs, but I’m being conservative and he could also have less than 15 HRs

  2. CMUTIMMAH says:
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    yeah, I think the over/under is 20 HRs. And the steals will be the only intriguing thing he can offer. With everyone hitting 15 HRs now, extra SAGNOF and Hays price tag might make him the prettiest pig in the county fair.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      He’s gonna be super cheap, so even if he doesn’t get there, he’ll be worth trying on for size for his price

  3. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Austin Hays sounds like a made up name for a baseball after school special..lol

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Austin, come into the back of my van and try some crack rock…

      …I don’t think I should…

      …C’mon, you’ve never sampled cheese at Whole Foods? It’s the same thing.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        But Ma said never to talk to strange men in vans, but I do like cheese.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          See, it’s a tough call

  4. Phil says:
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    Great write-up as always, Grey. During the offseason, you are my methadone.

    So what are your thoughts on this keeper quandary for one of my leagues next year? 12 team league, typical 5×5 but with a 6th cat in hitting for OBP. Keeping Yelich and Lindor for the 2nd and 3rd round picks respectively, and Sexy Dr. Pepper with the 12th round pick. I have a fourth and final keeper, but don’t know whether to go Eloy Jimenez in the 13th, or DeGrom with a 1st rounder. Only considering deGrom in the 1st because by the time the 4th round comes around to me, there really isn’t much left in terms of aces or stud hitters. Not really inclined to keep Ozzie Albies with the 4th round pick, although I really do like him.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Do you know what pick you have in the first round? Can you keep Eloy and then use your first rounder on an arm?

      • Phil says:
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        Thanks DK and Grey!

        I actually have the last pick (12th pick) in the 1st round because I won my league (last place gets first pick, so on). That was an important piece of info I neglected to include in my previous post. Apologies. If I had a higher pick I’d try to draft an arm. But since 48 players will be kept, and a majority will be very good, not many studly studs will be available.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I’d go deGrom

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:
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          Agree with Grey

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks, Phil! Can answer Donkey’s questions, but prolly deGrom — Eloy’s ‘gettable’ elsewhere

  5. BigBun says:
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    Thanks for the write-up! Gonna keep an eye on Hays.

    I gotta decide on keepers for next year by the end of today. Debating on how long to sign Laureano for, can go up to 4 years. Considering going all 4 because he’s cheap, what do you think about his long term potential?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks!

      Depends on your league size and other factors, but 4 years is long time for him

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        I think 4 years for Laureano is a great idea. He is only gonna get better imo.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Meh, maybe, that’s a long time

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
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            Laureano just turned 25, I’d lock him up for the 4 years. Power, speed and a solid BA.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Meh, maybe, I’m not convinced unless it’s a deep league

              • BigBun says:
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                It’s a competitive 12-team AVG/OBP/SLG league. We added an extra UTIL spot this year so my starting lineup looks like this:
                Grandal, Olson, Merrifield, Machado, Segura, Marte, Schwarber, (Laureano), Alonso, H Dozier

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  4 years is a long time, a lot can happen, I’d go at most 3 years

                  • BigBun says:
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                    Thanks a lot!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      No problem

  6. Hernan says:
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    Great reading as always, it seems that Hays’ profile screams “ I’m either Ramon Laureano, or, or Harrison Bader….”, hopefully the orioles give him 550 PAs , when you’re a lock to be the first team out of contention ( mid April) , featuring the worst pitching staff in recent history, they need all good defensive players to be on the field, wonder if some of their shifts would include no catcher/extra outfielder….., interesting…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, the no catcher shift is a widely underused strategy

      • Hernan says:
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        Yeah, lots of umpires could go on dl, a la Mitch Haniger…., let’s get the robots!!!!!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha, beep boop boo, robots incoming!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          BTW, Smart to get ahead of praising robots…

  7. Cersy says:
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    Hi Grey,

    I’m in a 12 team H2H keeper pool. The offensive categories are: runs, hits, RBI’s, sbs, k’s, BA, OPS and tbs. The pitching categories are: wins, ERA, WHIP, k:bb and k’s.

    We keep 8 players. My for sure keepers are Betts, Rendon, Freeman, Springer and Machado.

    Which 3 would you keep from the following group?

    Villar, Corbin, Morton, Darvish, Bauer, Laureano and Pham?

    I’m leaning towards Villar, Corbin and Darvish.

    Thanks a lot.

    Cersy

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Villar, Corbin, for sure… Then toss up… Yu works

  8. Been keepin tabs since he went 32/95/.329 in ’17. But the Orioles and the Rockies like to keep MLB ready guys in chains so who knows? I agree he is worth a grab late.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, agreed, Hays and Mountcastle should’ve spent the entire 2019 season in the O’s lineup

  9. Dave D says:
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    Well, this is the O’s after all, so just when it looks like Hays may break out they will start Santander os Smith Jr in 4 straight games. At least that’s what I am concerned with with any O (or COL). If it’s late enough I’d take him or the other two, like in a DC. I’d probably want two out of the three just to hedge any bets.

    On another note looks like NFBC is offering a nice discount of $100 on a three-pack for one each of DC, Cutline, OC for $550. I might bite on that.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, agreed, Hays and Mountcastle should’ve spent the entire 2019 season in the O’s lineup

      That’s a solid discount, especially if you plan on doing at least those three

  10. Dave D says:
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    I predict they’ll grab an OF in the rule 5 and screw everything up even further in their convoluted situation. I mean if they can play Steve Wilkerson in 115 games I think they are capable of anything. And I don’t mean that in a good way. It’s kinda like roulette drafting an O’s AAAA player.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      The weird thing is Hays, Mountcastle and others aren’t expensive to play… They won’t be expensive to play for years, and that’s only if they’re good… Steve Wilkerson shouldn’t even be in the majors

      • Dave D says:
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        And how long did they let Joey Rickard waste at-bats. Like 3 years?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, it’s nuts

          • Dave D says:
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            Is Cedric Mullins in the picture too? He kind of disappeared.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              As Sweatpants mentioned below, Trumbo! Haha, ugh

              • Dave D says:
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                Ha! Yeah or maybe they’ll sign Kole Calhoun. He kinda fits their profile for a long term contract: early/mid-thirties power hitter with low average who is on the cusp of a rapid decline. Seems like a perfect fit if they cant re-sign Trumbo (Toronto bound?) or they convert Chris Davis to a SP to fill their rotation needs.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Oh god you’re so right, Calhoun so fits their profile

  11. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    And don’t sleep on them bringing Trumbo back on a cheap contract haha

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, ugh, it’s funny bc it’s true

  12. Warren Shapiro says:
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    Austin Hays – wtf am I going to do with you. I play in a keeper 12 team AL only 5×5 obp league. He was my first round ultra pick last year because with keepers and all – he was the most upside when my 11th pick came around.
    I have him at 10 bucks when I activate him but if he is in the Majors opening day he has to be one of my 12 keepers. We keep up to 4 minor leaguers who are not activated. I so hope they keep him in the minors but that would piss him off and make no sense. I don’t see a service time issue. Is there?
    I figure at 10 in an AL only based on the pedigree and the projections above its worth seeing what he can do – do you agree or should I try and peddle him as magic beans.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      $10 seems pretty good in that deep of a league… tho, redrafting him will be around the same price prolly

      • Warren Shapiro says:
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        Thanks for the confirmation. I wouldn’t get him back at 10. His flash in the pan finish would make him 15-17.

        I expect that next year is going to be the year of the steal in the same way this was the year juiced ball HR. at 10 he has great SAGNOF potential. I don’t know who else pointed out the gorilla and gorilla chest thump and the gorilla glue connection but that is marketing genius Grey. Have one of your Lackey’s make a call. I can see it now. Roto pundit becomes super agent ……..

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I am a Gorilla Glue rep during the offseason and will be shipping a forty drum container to your house…

          I’d keep Hays then, he could be way better than even $15-17

  13. andrew edenbaum says:
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    Damn, outside of Mancini, Villar, Nunez, Means, and Bundy for some k’s, the Orioles really suck.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, they been sucking…

      • LaRockakis says:
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        Mancini!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Well, yeah!

  14. LenFuego says:
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    Health is going to be the key for Hays … injuries the past couple of years have really hindered him. If he can have an injury-free season, I like him to beat your projections across the board comfortably.

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