Ke'Bryan Hayes looks like the next young Pittsburgh star that is traded away for nickels on the dollar. Albeit just a cup of tea in the bigs last year, he slashed .376/.442/.682 across 85 at-bats with five home runs, 11 RBI and one stolen base. His strikeout rate of 21.1 percent is far from horrible, and that 9.5 percent walk rate is a good baseline after routinely posting a mark in the double-digits across the minor league ranks. His .376 batting average was inflated by an astronomical .450 BABIP, but good things can happen when you have a hard hit rate of 44.6 percent. There are some flaws in the game of the 23-year-old but he oozes fantasy potential.

Is Hayes going to be a 20+ home run guy? Probably not, or at least he doesn’t project to be. He hit 10 home runs in 110 games at the Triple-A level in 2019 and five home runs in 24 games in the majors last year. For his minor league career, he homered 25 times across 1,731 at-bats, good for a home run every 69.24 at-bats. Over the course of 600 at-bats, we are looking at about 8-10 home runs for a full year. Now, the optimism is that he can get hot, and his 9.2 percent barrel rate and 92.8 percent average exit velocity can turn into some round-trippers, but drafting him solely for power will leave you wanting more by season's end. Furthermore, his 30.8 percent fly ball rate last year isn’t super encouraging, and his 25 percent HR/FB ratio will surely come down. In 2021, roughly 15 home runs is his ceiling, but when selecting him, prepare for somewhere in the 8-12 range.

Honestly, after writing that, the more I think about it, one minor adjustment and Hayes could really tap into his power potential. Consider the following:


Barrel %

Exit Velo.

Launch Angle





Trea Turner




Vladimir Guerrero Jr.




Courtesy of Baseball Savant

Hayes’ batted ball profile isn’t too far off from Turner who has 12 or more home runs in four of the last five years, and Guerrero Jr., whom we continue to hype up as a big time power guy, as long as he adjusts his launch angle. Can Hayes do it in 2021? Certainly, he can, but drafting him where he HAS to do that could leave you with a negative return on investment, especially as his average draft position continues to be on the rise.

Now, what Hayes does give you is above-average defense that will buy him time in the lineup, should he slump a bit. Furthermore, he can run, and run well. He ranked in the 79th percentile in sprint speed last year and was a perfect 1-for-1 on stolen base attempts. For his minor league career he was 66-of-84 (78.6%), but he was solid at each level overall.


Success Rate

A (Adv)







Courtesy of

Pittsburgh has been in the bottom-third the past couple of years in stolen base attempts, so hopefully that changes this year and moving forward to let Hayes run wild on the base paths.

The earlier you draft the better value you will get on Hayes, because as you’ll see below, his average draft position is moving up and up and up.



Min Pick

Max Pick

October 2020

158.50 (#18 3B)



November 2020

139.40 (#16 3B)



December 2020

133.96 (#16 3B)




Courtesy of NFBC

He’s only going to get more and more expensive as a value power/speed guy. He’s going to be a popular fall back option for those who miss out on the big boys at the position, and speaking of just the third-base position, he’ll prove to be a plus-option in the stolen base department. Hayes isn’t a guarantee to post the big power numbers guys like Nolan Arenado and Alex Bregman will provide, but an adjustment to boost his launch angle could unleash a home run total in the teens. If you throw in a stolen base total in or around the teens as well, with a .280-ish batting average, and you have yourself quite a value.

Per Steamer projections, only Cleveland’s José Ramírez is projected to hit at least .270 with 13+ home runs and 13+ stolen bases. Hayes could find himself in rare company by season’s end. Assuming inflation doesn’t send his ADP to the moon, there’s plenty of room to profit off Hayes in 2021.


Statistical Credits: