Look, I know that hay is technically for horses, along with other fruits and perhaps some oats. To be honest, I’m not actually sure what a horse exactly eats, but I assume you know where I’m going with this because I certainly don’t. In terms of the actual Austin Hays, I can confirm that he is not for horses no matter how little I care to know about horses. I mean, do they have detachable jaws? Then science has made this answer easy. I guess the next natural question (if there ever was one) is probably: is Austin Hays for you? Well, before you go checking to see if you have detachable jaw with slight inclinations towards cannibalism (hint: you shouldn’t), it should be known that I am now strictly speaking in only baseball context. Crazy, I know! Now, you may ask, why Hays? What makes him so special? Well, I have an entire post to make that happen, so for now, to help continue your journey after the jump, I now promise no longer to refer to edible hay, nor horses. Maybe…
With the ratio stats above and the counting stats below, but more importantly from the ZiPS projections, a consensus can be formed on at least what kind of dude Hays is.
And that’s a dude that can be a multi-category contributor, but is still kinda stuck at the moment with being a sorta young-but-not-so-young dude with raw tools and a chance. Dude. If nothing else, that sentence would not pass muster with my high school English teacher. Also, I would love to talk about two other similar players (and I still might soon!) in Nick Senzel and Scott Kingery, but there are couple defining differences between those two and Austin Hays and it’s worth discussing briefly even though I seem to attach all three at the hip. Both Senzel and Kingery are former elite prospects, and both suffer from the core issue of not obtaining enough at-bats thus far to make a solid read of who they are and what they might become. In terms of Hays, well, for better or worse, he doesn’t have those issues to deal with. Already 25, he doesn’t have a chance to be something special at this point. While never say never in baseball, in terms of age and time in the minors, his ceiling remains somewhat limited. But I wouldn’t be interested if his ultimate end point was something less than “meh”. And with the combined at-bats, both in the minor leagues and 250+ plate appearances in the majors, we do have some data to review and draw some conclusions from.
Of course, there are some negatives. Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Hays has been marked as a “sleeper”. Granted, this is the first time I’m saying it, but even last season you might have been targeting this player with the same arguments I’m making now, and there’s only so many seasons you can be called a sleeper until people will just assume you’re sleepy. So the fact that nothing has happened is in play, and then combine that with his actual power profile. He has raw strength combined with a good frame, but sometimes drives a ball down a bit too much. You’ll see that reflected in his ailing batting average numbers. Playing time is also a factor here, though less so than last season, so I’d consider that negative a bit of a wash. All-in-all, I just don’t think the downside here is enough to affect any value, because frankly, it helps when you don’t have much to begin with…
So the overarching theme I wanted to establish is that Austin Hays is a dark-horse candidate that can bring both speed and power to the table for very little investment. In fact, with a current ADP of #255 and a hitter who’s generally ranked around 150ish, I’d go as far to say that there is no investment. This is an essentially free draft pick for anyone and everyone, so there’s nothing holding you back. Unless you’re a horse. And if that’s the case, what are you doing here?
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.