Austin's powers: Hays showing off hot bat

Rookie continues sizzling start to MLB career after winning O's top Minors honor

September 22nd, 2017

BALTIMORE -- There will be growing pains, for sure, but No. 2 prospect has shown over a short stretch what's he capable of bringing to the Orioles sooner rather than later.

The young outfielder -- who was named the organization's Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon -- had two more hits in the Orioles' 3-1 win over the Rays, raising his average to .290 in the process.

The 22-year-old Hays, who also committed a fielding error that helped Tampa Bay score on Thursday, has now hit safely in five of his past six games. He's batting .375 (9-for-24) over that stretch.

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"I was talking to Austin today, there's a lot of things he's going to have to experience himself," Showalter said of Hays, who led the Minor Leagues in total bases (310). "I have a problem with mistakes, but only if you repeat them. Little things that you do, you got to file them away and develop that trust with your teammates and your coaches that you're going to know how to approach those things. This guy was at Jacksonville [in college] a year and a half ago."

Hays, who has played in 12 MLB games this season, bobbled 's third-inning single into right field, which allowed Brad Miller to score from second. Miller had been stopped at third until he saw the error and took off for home.

"Someone asked me if the ball snaked. I thought he had a pretty good approach to it," Showalter said. "When you have as good of an arm as he does, you don't have to rush those things. They're not going to send him there. Those are things you learn: Faster is not always better. ... That comes from knowing the runners a little bit more, which guys run."

Hays, who collected his first career hit and home run at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, has proven to be a quick study in past stops. His ascent this season was impressive, as he started in Class A Advanced Frederick and moved up midway through the year to Double-A Bowie, posting a combined line of .329./.365/.593 in 128 games with 32 home runs, 95 RBIs, five triples, 32 doubles and five stolen bases along with 172 hits.

A finalist for the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year award, Hays was also recognized by as one of three outfield prospects on its Prospect Team of the Year.