44. Brett Hayes - Catcher - 6'1 - 200lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: 34)
One of my favorite prospects when the Marlins originally drafted him, Brett Hayes’ prospect status has been stagnant over the last few seasons. 2008 was a mixed bag for the former University of Nevada catcher. He was terrible with the bat in Carolina, sporting a .650 OPS but as usual he helped mentor the young pitchers at that level and was excellent behind the plate. He saw a promotion to Albuquerque for the final 37 games of the season. Like one would expect, his offense improved all across the board as he got his OPS up to .796.
Coming off a weak hitting season in Greensboro in 2006, Hayes opened up some eyes when he hit .338/.413/.462 out of the gate in Jupiter in 2007. This earned him a promotion to Carolina where he was outclassed by a mile. Southern League pitchers feasted on him bailing out early on breaking balls, as he hit just .234. When he did make contact, there certainly was not much power there as he only had 19 extra base hits in nearly 300 at bats.
The question coming into 2007 was not whether or not he could hit enough, but whether he could stay healthy enough. He missed nearly 2 months back in 2006 with a broken hamate bone, and hasn’t shown great durability throughout his short career. Now it looks like health won’t be a problem but can he hit enough to be an everyday starter.
Drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft, Hayes has always been known as a great athlete and it shows behind the plate. He has great mobility to go with a very good arm back there. At one point in college, he played some shortstop, so that should give you an example at just how athletic he is. He is also known as a very good game caller too.
So now Brett comes into 2009 with the same hitting issues he has had in the three seasons prior to this. His defense is major league ready, but if he can’t grasp hitting the ball, he’ll never get a serious look. He’ll more than likely begin the season in New Orleans and be the primary backstop down there. He could possibly see some time as a backup to John Baker this season, depending on what the Marlins organization does with the likes of Matt Treanor and Paul Hoover.