Baseball America released their top 100 prospects list on Monday morning and Ke’Bryan Hayes has his highest ranking yet. The Pittsburgh Pirates have four players on the list, including a new name to the top 100. Hayes leads the way, ranking 15th overall in baseball, which is well above his ranking by BA on their list put out just two months before Hayes debuted in the majors last year.
BA did a June update last year to include 2020 draft picks and Hayes ranked 62nd overall on that list. He was one spot ahead of Oneil Cruz and slightly behind Mitch Keller and Nick Gonzales. Keller isn’t eligible anymore and Hayes moved ahead of Gonzales for the top spot in the system. Hayes shouldn’t be eligible for this list for too long in 2021. He got in 24 games with the 2020 Pirates, compiling 85 at-bats. It shouldn’t take him too long to rack up another 46 at-bats during the upcoming season, which would knock him off of all prospect lists. Hayes is the highest rated third baseman in baseball now for BA. He ranks 11th among all position players, eighth among all NL prospects and second among all NL Central prospects behind outfielder Dylan Carlson of the St Louis Cardinals.
Oneil Cruz and Nick Gonzales are back-to-back in the 50th (Cruz) and 51st spots on the list, both of them moving up slightly from their June, 2020 rankings. Both players are ranked among the top ten shortstops in baseball in a very strong year for the position. The nice surprise here is that BA not only included Quinn Priester in their rankings, they debuted him in the 58th spot. Priester made huge strides in 2020 even without a season, though he pitched in both Altoona at the Alternate Training Site and in the Fall Instructional League. He was hitting 99 MPH and impressing the scouts who got to see him live.
For comparison sake with the rest of the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds all have two prospects on the list, though all six are on the second half of the list (51-100 range). The Cardinals have three, all of them among the top 54 prospects. BA also included a breakdown by the numbers list.