Baseball

Ke’Bryan Hayes – 2021 Fantasy Baseball and Projections

In 85 major league at-bats, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit five homers, stole a bag and hit .376. That roughly translates to 645 homers, and 129 steals while hitting .376 in an equally productive 20-year career. Hard to argue he’s not a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.

You, a wet-under-the-collar-with-scurvy Pirates fan, “He still wouldn’t be the best player to come out of Pittsburgh. Hello, Barry Bonds.”
Me, a world-weary-peg-leg-having Pirates fan, “Bonds wasn’t a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The Man stopped that from happening.”

Hey, they’re The Man, I simply live in The Man’s World. “If everyone left a penny, but didn’t take a penny, the jar to hold the pennies would need to be the size of the Silverdome, and be renamed the Copper-Plated Zinc Pennydome.” Not now, Mr. Prorater. “Oh, so you can prorate out Ke’Bryan Hayes’s stats, but I can’t prorate out a very simply equation. Cool, cool.” Well, whether you want to believe me, Mr. Prorater or Ke’Bryan Hayes’s September debut–Actually, that last one did happen, but is it real and repeatable? That’s what we have to figure out. Is it sustainable like this salmon I’m eating out of my lap to avoid waste. Don’t worry, I’m wearing plastic pants. If you forgot, here are the four highest OPS for major league players’ debut months since 1901: Yasiel Puig (hey whatever happened to this guy?) with 1.180; Albert Pujols in 2001 with 1.171; Rhys Hoskins in 2017 with 1.149 and Ke’Bryan Hayes with 1.144. Not bad company, but not Bad Company by Bad Company. So, what can we expect from Ke’Bryan Hayes for 2021 fantasy baseball?

Even if Ke’Bryan Hayes got jacked like post-Pittsburgh Bonds, none of his numbers from his debut month look sustainable. Sorry, but why beat around the bush when you can jam right into it? Hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Quickly:  Ke’s Bryan’s BABIP of .450 was an eeney-meeny bit high. His Launch Angle of 7.4 if solid, if you want to hit only ground balls, but not exactly going to produce a ton of fly balls, let alone home runs. His 30.8% fly ball rate was low for even him, but not totally out of his usual MO. Just not the MO for big power producers. Not entirely out of the realm of possibility, mind you. Yelich made a career of hitting very few fly balls, and Altuve’s not too far behind him.

In Ke’Bryan Hayes’s big month of September, he had a 25% HR/FB and would need to continue that to come close to a 5-homer per month guy. His minor league numbers speak more to a 3-homer per month. Small quibble maybe, but over a six-month season, he’s more of a 18-homer guy vs. 30 homers. Thankfully, he doesn’t just homer. In fact, if you read that a year ago, you’d think he did everything but homer. While not an extreme blazer like Trea Turner or someone obscenely fast, Hayes isn’t a complete dud for speed either. He’s a 55-grade speed guy, which should translate to 10+ bags, maybe 20 if he feels like putting on a show. All things considered, if you were to take this back to what he actually was prior to his huge debut, he was a solid contact guy who wasn’t immune to a walk. Maybe not quite a .300 hitter with neutral luck, as his xBA was last year, but not far off. In a neutral environment, he’s prolly close to a .320 BABIP, 18% K% and 11% BB%, which should come out to around a .285 average with his Launch Angle and propensity for line drives. This might not sound like it, but I’m a big Ke’Bryan Hayes guy. A Ke’Brystan, if you will. But being unrealistic doesn’t help anyone. Also, this is assuming the Pirates don’t do something stupid and pretend he has to work on his defense in the minors for the month of April. For 2021, I’ll give Ke’Bryan Hayes projections 66/16/74/.289/13 in 509 ABs with a chance for more.


 


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