Ke’Bryan Hayes lost a very close vote for The Fielding Bible Award at third base last season, missing a chance to win the honor for the second straight year.
But in a vote among Sports Info Solutions staff, Hayes handily won Defensive Player of the Month honors for April. He beat out White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr.
Hayes topped all third basemen with 6 Defensive Runs Saved in April. In fact, no one else had more than 3 Runs Saved at the position.
Since his debut in 2020, Hayes has saved 50 runs at third base. The next-closest player is Nolan Arenado with 41. Hayes has played just over 2,300 innings in that time. Arenado has played more than 3,000 innings.
This month was as much one of reliability and keeping busy as flashy plays for Hayes, though he did have some pretty good ones.
Our MLB Defensive Player of the Month is @Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes
Hayes lead all 3rd basemen with 6 Defensive Runs Saved in April. No one else had more than 3.
— SIS_Baseball (@sis_baseball) May 2, 2023
Hayes has 61 assists, second-most among third basemen (Jeimer Candelario has 63), 20 putouts, and only 2 Defensive Misplays & Errors. Last year, we wrote about how amazing Hayes was on his backhand, and he’s off to a good start there, making 18 of 20 plays on balls he’s fielded that way. He’s also made 58 of 60 plays on his forehand, a success rate of nearly 97% (MLB average is about 90%).
The Pirates have been arguably baseball’s biggest surprise going 20-9, and both their hitting and pitching have been great. But the defense has been a notable part of the latter’s success. The Pirates finished 22nd in Defensive Runs Saved last season. This season, they rank 12th. Hayes hasn’t been a part of the offensive success yet, but so long as he keeps playing as he has in the field, he’ll be a major contributor.
Robert Jr., the runner-up for the award, co-leads MLB with 7 Runs Saved (he’s tied with Royals center fielder Kyle Isbel). Others considered for the award include Brewers catcher William Contreras, Padres infielder Ha-Seong Kim, Brewers outfielder Joey Wiemer, and Red Sox catcher Connor Wong.
Most Defensive Runs Saved By Third Baseman – Since 2020