Photo Courtesy: USA Today

CF Austin Hays poised for breakout 2020

Big Bad Morning Show
February 06, 2020 - 9:57 am

By Austin Medina  

The rebuilding Orioles have a clear direction ahead of them; let their prospects play. 

Outfielder Austin Hays shined after being called up to the big leagues in September. The 24-year old batted an impressive .309, including six doubles, four home runs, and 13 RBI in 20 games. 

Heading into 2020, Hays is in prime position to become the starting center fielder in Baltimore. 

Hays' fielding in his short stint proved beneficial to his value. In 15 starts, Hays proved to be a reliable center fielder converting on every opporotunity, recording an assist and robbing a homer of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

Hays ranked as an above average fielder in 2019, padded with a strong arm and quick speed. His 2.75 range factor ranked second on the team. 

The Orioles drafted Hays in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft and after three seasons of development, the time is now. 

With Stevie Wilkerson clearing waivers and being optioned to Triple-A, the centerfield position is up for grabs.

Talented prospect Cedric Mullins will also be vying for the centerfield job but may already be behind Hays. In 22 games last season, Mullins batted just .094, with more strikeouts (14) than hits (7).

If Hays' bat carries over from a strong 2019 campaign, he will be able to breakthrough as one of the O's top players in 2020.