Orioles: Breaking Down Austin Hays’ September Success

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Austin Hays has yet again broken out at the plate in September

Over the weekend, the Baltimore Orioles traveled to Boston to face the Red Sox in what turned out to be a three-game sweep for the home team, dropping the O’s to 47-102 on the season. Despite the team’s poor showing, outfielder Austin Hays continued what has been a torrid month of September at the plate.

Hays managed to record a base hit in each game of the series at Fenway Park, including a 401 ft solo home run off Chris Sale during Friday 7-1 loss, the furthest-hit ball by any Orioles hitter throughout the series. Hays’ performance was yet another example of him coming into his own during the season’s final month, something he has done routinely throughout his Major League career.

Entering play on Monday, Hays is slashing .290/.338/.667 in the month of September, slugging at the eighth-highest rate among American League hitters. Hays has launched seven home runs since the turn of the calendar month as well, trailing only Toronto Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien for the highest mark across all of Major League Baseball.

Numbers like these jump off the page, but they aren’t particularly new for Hays when September baseball rolls around. Even during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Hays batted a scorching .377 over the final month of the season. Part of what has made Hays so successful at the plate during the month of September since his call-up in 2017 is his heightened plate discipline. By career splits, Hays sees his second-highest margin of pitches per game during September, which shows it fruit in an increased barrel percentage and one of the better walk rates across his monthly splits.

With more solid contact in his approach, exactly half of Hays’ career home runs have come during games in September. As the month continues and the end of the 2021 regular season approaches, Orioles fans can look for Hays’ rhythmic September hot streak to continue.