The Pirates and No. 32 overall selection Ke’Bryan Hayes have agreed to terms, Howard Chen of My FOX Houston reports (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (also via Twitter) that Hayes will receive the full slot value of $1,855,000.
Hayes, a high school third baseman, will forgo his commitment to Tennessee in order to try to follow in the footsteps of his father, Charlie, who spent parts of 14 seasons playing in the Majors (including one season with the Pirates). Heading into the draft, the younger Hayes was most aggressively ranked by Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs and Keith Law of ESPN, both of whom placed him 24th among 2015 draft prospects. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked Hayes 44th on their Top 200 list, and Hayes placed 57th on Baseball America’s Top 500.
McDaniel notes that Hayes enjoyed a big spring and could develop into an everyday third baseman based on his promising tools, the strongest of which is a 65-grade arm (on the 20-80 scale). McDaniel projects average-or-better ratings across the board for Hayes’ tools, with the exception of speed. Law calls Hayes a “premium defender at third base with an outstanding approach and swing.” He adds that Hayes has an atypically high floor for a high school hitter. MLB.com notes that he lacks some first-step quickness and speed on the bases. BA notes that while he worked himself into great shape and a legitimate third base prospect, he’ll have to be careful with his conditioning to avoid moving to first base, where his bat wouldn’t play as well. BA lauds Hayes’ “excellent” work ethic and great feel for the game, adding that he’s one of the safest prep bats in this year’s class.
Chen spoke to both father and son about the draft and what it means to the pair. “Whenever I got that phone call, a burden just flew off my chest,” Ke’Bryan told Chen. “…The Pirates are a good baseball club and history shows it. Just to be able to wear the same major league ballclub team that my dad wore is really special and hopefully, I can get up there to the major leagues.”
With this agreement, the Bucs have both of their top picks locked in. Fellow first-rounder Kevin Newman officially signed yesterday, and a team announcement regarding Hayes — who was selected with the compensation pick awarded to Pittsburgh after losing Russell Martin to free agency — should follow in the near future.