The 6-foot-1, 210 pound right-handed hitting third baseman had a promising debut as an 18-year old in the Gulf Coast League. He slashed .333/.434/.375 over 175 plate appearances. His play at the Rookie-ball level earned him a late-season promotion to the New York-Penn League. He struggled a bit, going 9-for-41 at the plate, but he again showed it wasn’t from not making contact as he struck out just seven times and walked six. This season Hayes is batting .263 with the Low A West Virginia Power. He has hit six home runs and 37 RBI.
PD- How are things going in your first full season of minor league baseball?
KH – The big thing for me was getting in shape in the offseason, taking care of my body and trying to get stronger and lean out a little bit. Then going back into spring training and getting my feet back under me after taking off a few months of baseball.
PD – You hit the ground running right out of high school. Was the offseason big for you to get recharged?
KH – Definitely getting a few months off to let my body rest a little bit was good. I just settled down with my family, spent some time with them, then got back into it, got ready for the next season. I worked as hard as I could in the off season to get my body in shape. Having my brother that played and my dad played I knew kind of what shape I needed to be in coming into spring training.
PD --Your dad and brother played baseball. Has that background helped you?
KH – From a young age I’ve always played up. My older brother was playing and I would be out with him, even as the bat boy. I would watch him play. Coming from a baseball family, I definitely knew what the minor leagues were going to be like, the long bus rides, getting up the next day and playing. It’s not too much of a culture shock. It’s just a grind. It's d.efinitely an advantage having them
PD – What has your approach at the plate been so far this season?
KH – I’m still sticking with my gap-to-gap approach, and they say that my power will come as I mature and get older. I’m just sticking with that gap-to-gap approach. One thing my dad alwys told me that I always bring with me is that Barry Bonds before he started hitting a bunch of home runs, he was a lead off hitter. Barry said he had to learn how to hit first before he started hitting home runs. Dad said as I get older and as I mature the power will come. Just keep developing as a hitter.
PD – How are you coming along defensively?
KH – I focus just as much on defense as offense, because you’re not going to be able to go out and get four hits every day. You want to take away their hits. Coming into pro ball I’ve been working on getting into a good position as the pitch is crossing (the plate). Compared to high school, balls get up on you a little quicker. Guys are stronger. One of the big things I want to work on for defense as I’m moving up is that and lateral movement.
PD – You won a championship in your first year of pro ball, what was that experience like?
KH – I started out with the GCL team last year, and then going to (Morgantown), right when I got there everyone welcomed me. It was a different environment compared to (Florida). You could see everyone was really close with each other, going out there and doing their best for everyone. It’s definitely a great environment. I played in 70 or 80 games last year.
PD – Was you first season an eye opener for you?
KH – A little bit, again having my brother who played. I knew what to expect.
PD – Do you feel you are a little more advanced for a young player?
KH – Baseball is what I've always wanted to do growing up with it and being around it. I've always worked as hard as I could. I've always wanted to be the best.
PD – Do you have any sort of a timetable for your progress?
KH – They know where I need to go. I'm happy I'm in the organization, I'm happy with where they picked me and I just want to play.