More on Hays, the Edgin signing and Jones' tailgate

Yesterday in this space I wondered whether the Orioles would use catcher Chance Sisco in a platoon with Caleb Joseph or anoint one of them as the primary starter - assuming that the rookie breaks camp with the team, of course.

Don't ever assume or else ... you know the rest.

I'm shifting my focus this morning to another rookie, outfielder Austin Hays, who was chosen as the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.

Austin Hays swinging grey jersey Os 0918 tall--sidebar.jpgHays could get most of the at-bats among the candidates for right field. He could platoon with a left-handed hitter who's challenged against southpaw pitching. He could be a fourth or fifth outfielder, due to his ability to play the corners and center.

He also could be starting at Triple-A Norfolk because, like Sisco, a job isn't gifted to him.

Hays made a rapid rise through the system. Consider how he was playing at short-season Single-A Aberdeen in 2016. Hays never saw a pitch at low Single-A Delmarva or Norfolk.

During an eight-game September stretch with the Orioles, Hays went 11-for-31 (.355) with three doubles, one home run, eight RBIs and four runs scored. The kid also showed off a plus arm.

The challenges in projecting a regular lineup before December come in multiples. We don't know how Hays is going to play in spring training and how much it's going to influence manager Buck Showalter and his staff. We don't know if executive vice president Dan Duquette will sign or trade for another outfielder.

Jaycob Brugman isn't expected to be the last left-handed bat added to the roster.

In a full rebuild year, the Orioles would hand right field to Hays and give him enough rope to circle the warehouse twice. But they want to make another run at the playoffs.

The wisdom of making Hays a part-time player at age 22 also must be measured. Would it impact his development to sit him, especially as a backup, instead of feeding him a steady diet of at-bats at Norfolk?

The same argument applies to Cedric Mullins, but Hays is ahead of him on the depth chart after debuting in September.

Hays projects as an everyday player. It's just a question of whether we're talking about the beginning of 2018, later in the summer or further down the road.

Meanwhile, the Orioles found another left-handed reliever yesterday when they signed former Mets pitcher Josh Edgin to a minor league deal, according to an industry source. I tweeted confirmation last night, in case you missed it.

Edgin, who turns 31 next month, has registered a 3.49 ERA and 1.279 WHIP in five seasons with the Mets. He was 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.541 WHIP in 46 appearances this summer totaling 37 innings. The Mets designated him for assignment on July 30.

Left-handers are hitting .223 against Edgin in his career, though they batted .280 this season, and right-handers have posted a .254 average. He's never faced the Orioles.

The bullpen figures to include closer Zach Britton, assuming he isn't traded, and Richard Bleier. Donnie Hart also will compete for a spot, and the Orioles recently signed Ryan O'Rourke to a minor league deal.

Edgin, who had "Tommy John" surgery on his left elbow in 2015 and underwent a procedure on his knee in September, is eligible for free agency in 2020.

And finally, Adam Jones' fifth annual #StayHungry Purple Tailgate raised more than $101,000 last night for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore. Last year's event raised more than $50,000, so we're talking about another significant jump.

Among the many highlights last night were appearances by Trey Mancini and Nick and Christina Markakis.

BMORE Around Town deserves major props for its part in organizing the tailgates.

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