Walsh, Hayes are Sept. Rookies of Month

September 28th, 2020

Angels first baseman and Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes were named Monday as the American League and National League Rookie of the Month Award winners, respectively, for September.

It was a breakout month for the 27-year-old Walsh, who was recalled from the Angels’ alternate training site on Aug. 28. Up to that point, the former 39th-round Draft pick had a career line of only .180/.247/.292 with one homer in 97 Major League plate appearances. Walsh then proceeded to post a .337/.368/.744 slash line with nine home runs and 26 RBIs over 22 September games, perhaps solidifying him as the Angels’ first baseman of the future.

Over the course of the month, Walsh tied for second among all AL hitters in homers and RBIs, and his 1.113 OPS trailed only AL MVP candidate José Ramírez among those with at least 70 plate appearances. Included in the outburst was a 14-game hitting streak (Sept. 6-22), as well as a 10-game streak in which Walsh drove in at least one run (Sept. 6-18) -- the longest by an MLB player this season.

As for Hayes, he joined the ranks of second-generation stars this month. The son of 14-year veteran and 1996 World Series champion Charlie Hayes, he made his Major League debut on Sept. 1 against the Cubs and promptly went 2-for-5 with a double and a home run. He never stopped hitting.

The Pirates’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and No. 37 overall, Hayes has been lauded for his glove at the hot corner since Pittsburgh drafted him 32nd overall in 2015. Hayes’ bat was more in question, but that is no longer the case after the 23-year-old recorded a .376/.442/.682 slash line, a 1.124 OPS, seven doubles, five homers and 11 RBIs in 24 games. That performance provided a silver lining to the season for the 19-41 Pirates, who can look forward to Hayes manning third base full-time in 2021.