Today’s Prospect Stock Watch takes a look at a breakout Orioles outfielder, more prospect thievery for the Astros, and a wild arm capable of hitting 100 mph.
Austin Hays, OF, Orioles: Selected 91st overall in 2016, Hays has already reached double-A. The well-rounded outfielder has done nothing but hit as a pro despite an inconsistent amateur record. He owns a career .336 average and .945 OPS. And he’s added power to his resume in 2017 with 18 bombs in just 72 games.
Hays has been putting balls over the fence despite a well-controlled swing that helped him strike out just 43 times so far this year (13%) – a very low number for someone closing in on 20 homers. Just 21, his biggest need at this point is to work on getting on base more consistently without having to rely so heavily on his batting average. His walk rate sits at just 4%. Although he’s not a big stolen base guy, Hays should have enough speed to stick in center field for the foreseeable future. He’s been a real steal for the Orioles and someone you’re going to start hearing a lot more about in the near future.
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