Baltimore Orioles: The Los Angeles Dodgers Bring Their Power To Camden Yards
By Nick Stevens
Austin Hays is back in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles and we can’t wait to see what he can do.
The Orioles have a lot of outfielders in the dugout now, including an exciting young prospect in Austin Hays. Dwight Smith Jr.deserves his at-bats to try and finish the season strong, as does DJ Stewart. Anthony Santander has earned his right to play every day and Mason Williams has also done all he can this year to get himself as many at-bats as possible at the major league level.
The same person hasn’t started in left field since DJ Stewart did last Monday and Tuesday and the outfield shuffle is surely going to continue over these last 19 games as Brandon Hyde tries his best to spread the wealth.
My final thing to watch in this series is the playing time of Austin Hays. Despite going 0-5 at the plate in two games (one start) since his call-up, Hays made his presence known again with something he’s done over and over again in the minor leagues this season, flash the leather.
Hays’ callup comes from the ability of Baltimore to send him to the Arizona Fall League after the completion of the MLB regular season, meaning more meaningful playing time for the 24-year-old outfielder.
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Hays has a legitimate opportunity to stake his claim to the starting center field job at Camden Yards, as long as he can stay healthy. Anthony Santander is a regular in the 2020 lineup, but in a corner outfield spot, Stevie Wilkerson wasn’t a complete disaster in center, but his services as a utility infielder may be needed next year, especially if Jonathan Villar is traded, and Cedric Mullins failed to find his footing both at the major league level and at Triple-A (only recently finding success in Double-A).
Mason Williams is a stopgap option who may or may not return next year on another minor league deal and Ryan McKenna struggled at the plate in Double-A this year. McKenna may begin 2020 in AA again, or spend the entire season in Triple-A. Regardless of how the Orioles handle McKenna, he isn’t coming up next season. This gives Hays every opportunity to win and keep the starting center field job. Let’s hope he doesn’t produce Mullins-like numbers, who had the same opportunities Hays now has.
With a game and a half under his belt and now an off day to process everything, watch for Austin Hays to settle in at Camden Yards in this series.
The series kicks off on Tuesday night at 7:05 pm. Ty Blach (1-2, 10.95 ERA) will toe the rubber for Baltimore while Walker Buehler (12-3, 3.28) goes for Los Angeles.