Nathan Haynes in spring training, March 2007.
“A man can’t swing if his underwear doesn’t.”
— Hanes Underwear advertising slogan
There isn’t much left in pro ball that makes me go “gasp” but Nathan Haynes just did it.
After going 4-for-6 Wednesday night at home against Memphis, Nathan Haynes was 4-for-5 Thursday night to raise his batting average over the magic .400 mark to .409. His on-base percentage is .492 and his slugging percentage is .618. In 28 games, he’s stolen 11 bases out of 15 attempts.
All this from a guy whose career was on the trash pile in 2004.
After a series of injuries derailed his top prospect status, Haynes took his six-year minor league free agency in October 2003 and signed with the San Francisco Giants. He played one game for Triple-A Fresno, and seven games for their summer league camp, then disappeared off the baseball radar.
Nathan re-emerged in 2006 with the independent Northern League team in Gary, Indiana. appearing in 31 games, he posted a lackluster AVG/OBP/SLG of .263/.323/.447. But the Angels brought him home in June 2006, and sent him to Double-A Arkansas for 52 games before finishing the year with Triple-A Salt Lake. His numbers with the Bees in 16 games: .228/.286/.368.
In short, there was no reason to think that at age 27 Haynes would suddenly turn the PCL on its ear.
If you’re looking for a vulnerability, look at his splits.
Against lefties, his AVG/OBP/SLG are .273/.385/.485. Against righties, the numbers are .468/.539/.675.
And whenever you’re dealing with a Salt Lake player, you need to look at his home/road splits because Franklin Covey Field sits at 4,500 feet, one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the PCL. At home, Nathan’s line is .419/.500/.710. On the road, it’s .396/.482/.500.
So now the Angels have a ridiculous "deep depth" of center fielders. Behind Gary Matthews, Jr. — who’s proving last year was no fluke — the Angels have Reggie Willits, Tommy Murphy and now Haynes.
With most organizations, Nathan would be on his way to the big leagues with those numbers. But with the deep and talented Angels … he waits.