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Drew Hayes missed the first week of the season, making his debut on April 16th with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. In his first week of the year he would tossed 3.2 shutout frames of work with a walk and four strikeouts. He would make one more appearance for Pensacola, tossing two shutout innings on the 24th before being promoted to Triple-A. His first outing with Louisville didn’t go so well as he allowed two runs with three walks in an inning of work. He rebounded well on the last day of April, tossing 3.0 shutout innings with three strikeouts to close out the month. In total he would post a 1.86 ERA over 9.2 innings with five walks and seven strikeouts.
May got out to a rough start for Hayes, allowing two runs in 1.2 innings. That would be his only appearance for the first week. The right hander came back with three shutout appearances in the second week, tossing 5.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Trouble found the righty on the 17th as he allowed two runs in 0.1 innings with two walks. He returned to the mound the next night and tossed 2.0 strong innings with four strikeouts. He capped the week with a shutout inning. The last week of the month saw three appearances and 2.2 shutout frames. In total he threw 13.0 innings in May with a 2.77 ERA, eight walks and 13 strikeouts. There were more walks than you’d like to see, but he upped his strikeout rate from April.
The first week of June went all for the reliever as he made three appearances and tossed 3.2 shutout innings with six strikeouts. The next week didn’t go nearly as well as Hayes allowed four runs over 4.0 innings with three walks and another six strikeouts. The former Vanderbilt pitcher came back strong in the third week with 3.1 shutout innings, no walks and two strikeouts. The final week of June saw 3.1 innings of one run baseball, finishing up the month with a 3.14 ERA in 14.1 innings to go with five walks and 17 strikeouts.
July got out to a slow start for Drew Hayes, but more so in the sense that he only pitched twice in the first two weeks of the month for a combined 1.2 innings. On the 17th he would allow two runs in 1.2 innings, the first time he had taken the mound in six days. He would make just three more appearances in the month, tossing 7.1 shutout innings with four walks and six strikeouts. In just six games he would post a 1.69 ERA over 10.2 innings with six walks (though two were intentional) and 11 strikeouts. The walk rate, even with the intentional ones tossed out, remained a little bit higher than you’d like to see, but he continued to post strong strikeout numbers.
The inaction in July didn’t carry over into August as the righty would appear in three games in the first week. He would allow one earned over 4.1 innings, but walk three batters with just one strikeout. Hayes would make just one appearance in the second week of the month, tossing a shutout frame against Columbus. Two more scoreless innings followed in the third week. In the final eight days of August he would allow three runs in 6.2 innings with a walk and five strikeouts. The season would close out with two games in September for the Bats, allowing two runs in 2.0 innings. Over the final five weeks of the season he would post a 3.38 ERA in 16.0 innings with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.
Drew Hayes posted a 2.69 ERA on the season between his two stops in 63.2 innings. He struggled with his consistency in throwing strikes at times and walked 31 batters on the season. He did however counter that with 60 strikeouts and allowed just two home runs on the season.
Drew Hayes Scouting Report
Fastball | The pitch works in the 91-93 MPH range and will touch as high as 96 every so often. His arm angle gives it a downward plane and there’s some armside run to it as well.
Slider | It works in the 81-85 MPH range with good 12-6 biting action to it. It’s an above-average offering.
Stuff has never been the question for Drew Hayes. He’s always had the stuff to play at any level he’s been at since being drafted. For the reliever it’s always been about throwing strikes. While he posted his second best walk rate of his career in 2015, he still walked 4.4 batters per nine innings pitched. That’s simply too many walks. He’s got a big league arm and he misses plenty of bats, but he’s going to have to find a way to throw more strikes if he’s going to stick around in the Major League bullpen.