In the 2006 amateur draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Drew Hayes in the 29th round. Hayes had other ideas and decided to attend Vanderbilt University. While he was in Nashville, Hayes was a teammate of a pitcher that some feel is the best lefty starter in baseball in David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Other players from Vandy that Hayes was the teammate of include current MLB players Mike Minor (Braves), Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) and Ryan Flaherty (Mariners). Even Louisville Bats pitcher Nick Christiani.
The Commodores have assembled quite a program. In the years Hayes was a Commodore, they won the SEC, won a regional and were as high as #6 in the country. And that was just in 2007, Hayes’ first season. Previous to his senior season, Hayes was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 22nd round. He decided for one last season in Nashville.
In that final season of 2010, Hayes was 6-0 with an ERA of 3.91 in 24 games which included 5 starts. Another highly touted pitcher named Sonny Gray was on that team. Vandy managed to reach the Super Regionals. After 2010, the Reds selected Hayes in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. They wasted little time in assigning him to Billings of the Pioneer League.
In looking at his numbers from his three years as a member of the Reds organization, you can tell one thing: Hayes can strikeout a few guys. You also notice something else: he will walk a few as well. One aspect that doesn’t appear on the table above is that guys aren’t hitting Hayes all that much. For 2010, just 167. In 2011, it was down to .141. This pat year, it did go up to .226. The combination of allowing hits at the highest rate of his brief career and walking more batters reflects the rise in his WHIP.
But Hayes has remained effective. Go back to 2011. Hayes was named a Midwest League All-Star at the end of the season. On top of that, Hayes was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star AND Class A Relief Pitcher of the Year.
One thing I think some of us tend to do is look only at the numbers. Could be said in the case of Hayes. While I touched upon the increased walks and BAA, he remains one of the top relief arms in the organization. He wasn’t in the closer’s role for Pensacola as he was in Dayton. A different role can lead to a period of adjustment.
Well, Hayes has adjusted pretty well to Arizona. He is 2-0 in 5 games with and ERA of 2.70 and WHIP of 1.349. There’s still the walk rate issue (6.7 BB/9), but the strikeouts are still present (10.8 BB/9), too.
Hard to say what 2013 will hold for Hayes. I firmly believe he will start the season in Louisville. He has that track record of a level a season and preforming at a decent clip while at that level. ALways a promising sign. If Hayes does find that magic of 2011 again, the Reds will surely have a closer in the near future. That might be too much to ask, but as they say, you never know. Even if he doesn’t, he should still be a member of the Reds bullpen within a couple of years.
Meanwhile, enjoy this from 2011…