Baltimore Orioles: Is Austin Hays the future in the outfield?
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Austin Hays of the Baltimore Orioles’ system is slated to make a big splash in the big leagues this year. Hays of course had a cup of coffee with the O’s in the big leagues last September, and many people liked what they saw. Hays was ranked second of all prospects to make a splash this year in the American League.
I suppose the question is whether or not Hays makes an impact right away, or if we have to wait. And the fact is that there are a lot of moving parts. It really matters how the Orioles’ roster shakes down, and whether or not there’s an ultimate spot for Hays.
I suspect that the Orioles’ brass would prefer that Hays start the season down in the minors. Even though his big league clock has been started, some additional seasoning is never a bad thing. But assuming you have Jones, Trumbo, and Mancini as starting outfielders, you also have Rickard as a utility outfielder. So the question is whether or not there’s a spot for Hays.
The fact is that he’s on the roster right now. But whether that’s the case on March 29th remains to be seen. (He may well have been stashed on the roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.) I do feel that Austin Hays is “the future” for the Orioles in the outfield. Namely, in center.
So does that mean that if he and Jones are at some point going to co-exist on this roster Jones might have to move to a different position? Yes, that’s exactly what that means. (Assuming Jones re-signs with the Orioles.) I’m not saying that would or should happen now, but potentially down the road. However needless to say, Austin Hays is a guy to keep an eye on. My personal opinion is that he has a promising future with the Orioles.
The Orioles did make some news yesterday in adding some catching depth. They added Andrew Susac via a trade with Milwaukee, for either cash considerations or a PTBNL. Susac is a career .232 hitter who’s thrown 25% of base stealers out over the course of four years (104 games) with San Francisco and Milwaukee.