JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Continuing his astounding success in the professional levels of baseball, Jacksonville University's Austin Hays was promoted Tuesday from the Double-A Bowie Baysox to its parent organization, the Baltimore Orioles. Hays is the first Dolphin to reach Major League Baseball (MLB) since Daniel Murphy was brought up to the majors by the New York Mets in 2008, and is the first member of the 2016 draft class in the major leagues.
"We are extremely excited for Austin," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "It is a well-deserved opportunity! When you combine tremendous work ethic, unrelenting will, and extreme talent, success becomes your destiny. We are so happy for our former Dolphin."
Hays was drafted by the Orioles in the third round of the 2016 MLB draft after finishing his junior season at JU. He appeared in all but one game for the Dolphins in 2016, earning an unanimous selection to the ASUN Conference First Team, leading the league in home runs (14) and slugging percentage (.655). The junior from Port Orange, Fla., also guided Jacksonville in several categories including: batting average (.350), hits (78), runs (48), runs batted in (42) and stolen bases (15). He was nearly flawless in right field, committing just one error while recording eight assists and 133 putouts.
Hays began his pro career at Class A Short Season Aberdeen, where he hit .336/.386/.514 over 38 games. He was then promoted to Class A Advanced Frederick, where he hit 16 homers with 41 RBIs and a .328/.364/.592 batting line. His final stint in the Orioles' farm system came at Double-A Bowie, where Hays hit 16 homers and drove in 54 runs in 64 games. He had a line of .330/.367/.594 at Bowie.
Hays' promotion comes at a high-pressure moment for the Orioles. As of this writing, the Orioles trail Minnesota by a half game for the second wild card spot.