Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
After transferring from Seminole State (Fla.) JC to Jacksonville, Hays erupted to hit an Atlantic Sun Conference-best 16 home runs as a junior, leading to his selection in the third round of the 2016 Draft. He became the first player from his class to reach the Majors the next year, earning a September promotion straight from Double-A after he'd produced a .329 average with 32 homers and 32 doubles across two levels. In 2018, Hays was limited by a sore shoulder during the spring and then lost nearly two months of the season to a stress fracture in his ankle that ultimately required offseason surgery. The injury bug continued to plague Hays in 2019, as suffered a thumb injury during Spring Training that delayed the start of his season and also missed time with a hamstring strain in June.
Hays showed during his first full season that he has the physical strength, bat speed and barrel control needed to hit for average and power at the highest level. While injuries robbed him of some of that explosiveness in 2018, Hays also deviated from the hit-to-all-fields mentality that had made him successful in the previous year, as he all too often sold out for pull-side power in an attempt to replicate his 2017 results. He generally has an aggressive approach that leads to a lot of contact but nets him few walks, thus underscoring how Hays' on-base skills are linked to his production.
Hays has played all three outfield positions as a pro, but profiles best in right field because he has average speed and range as well as plus arm strength. He will need to hit for average and power to hold down the position in the big leagues, and the Orioles are confident that a fully healthy Hays will be able to get back on track toward reaching his potential in 2019.
Statcast - Batting
Hard Hit %
Baltimore Orioles recalled RF Austin Hays from Norfolk Tides.
Norfolk Tides activated RF Austin Hays from the 7-day injured list.
Norfolk Tides sent RF Austin Hays on a rehab assignment to Aberdeen IronBirds.
Norfolk Tides placed RF Austin Hays on the 7-day injured list retroactive to June 21, 2019.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Norfolk Tides from Bowie Baysox.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Bowie Baysox from Frederick Keys.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Frederick Keys from Norfolk Tides.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Norfolk Tides from Orioles Extended Spring Training.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Orioles Extended Spring Training from Norfolk Tides.
Baltimore Orioles optioned RF Austin Hays to Norfolk Tides.
Austin Hays roster status changed by Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore Orioles recalled RF Austin Hays from Bowie Baysox.
Baltimore Orioles placed RF Austin Hays on the 60-day disabled list. Right ankle surgery.
Bowie Baysox activated RF Austin Hays from the 7-day disabled list.
Bowie Baysox sent RF Austin Hays on a rehab assignment to Aberdeen IronBirds.
Bowie Baysox placed RF Austin Hays on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to May 26, 2018.
Bowie Baysox activated RF Austin Hays.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Bowie Baysox from Norfolk Tides.
CF Austin Hays assigned to Norfolk Tides from Bowie Baysox.
Baltimore Orioles optioned CF Austin Hays to Bowie Baysox.
Baltimore Orioles selected the contract of Austin Hays from Bowie Baysox.
CF Austin Hays assigned to Bowie Baysox from Frederick Keys.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Frederick Keys.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Baltimore Orioles.
RF Austin Hays assigned to Aberdeen IronBirds.
Baltimore Orioles signed RF Austin Hays.