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Hayes, Topa Make MLB Debuts Tuesday Night

September 2, 2020 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - West Virginia Power News Release

Ke'Bryan Hayes at bat for the West Virginia Power
Ke'Bryan Hayes at bat for the West Virginia Power
(West Virginia Power, Credit: Robin Black/West Virginia Power)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After being recalled Tuesday afternoon, infielder Ke'Bryan Hayes made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates last night at PNC Park, while RHP Justin Topa took his first turn on a big league mound Tuesday evening with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Hayes and Topa are the 90th and 91st former Power players, respectively, to play in the big leagues.

Hayes was a catalyst for the Pirates in their 8-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs, going 2-for-5 with a rally-igniting RBI double in the sixth and a game-tying homer in the eighth. Meanwhile, Topa allowed two runs in two innings of work with two strikeouts, as the Brewers were walloped, 12-1, by the Detroit Tigers.

Selected in the first round (32nd overall) by the Pirates in 2015, Hayes made his way to The Capital City at the start of the 2016 campaign at just 19 years old. Despite having his season limited to 65 games due to a late July trip to the injured list, the infielder earned his first of three consecutive Midseason All-Star nods while boasting a .263 average with six homers and 37 RBI. The Tomball, Texas, native spent the entire 2017 season with High-A Bradenton and 2018 with Double-A Altoona, averaging .293 with seven homers and 47 RBI in the latter year to net a Futures Game selection and Postseason All-Star nod.

A three-time MiLB Gold Glove winner and Organizational All-Star from 2017-19, Hayes finished off his Minor League career in 2019 with Triple-A Indianapolis. The Concordia Lutheran (TX) HS product posted career highs in homers (10) and RBI (53) over 113 games with the Indians. Hayes played in 461 career Minor League games, recording a .279 clip with 25 homers and 202 RBI before his MLB debut. He is the ninth player from the 2016 team to make his debut, and second this season, joining RHP J.T. Brubaker.

Topa, a 17th-round selection by the Pirates in 2013, made his full-season debut with West Virginia in 2014. Splitting time between the rotation and bullpen, Topa went 4-8 with a 6.09 ERA in 25 games (14 starts), striking out 50 batters across 81.1 innings. The righty missed the entire 2015 season and most of the 2016 campaign due to Tommy John surgery before being released by the Pirates at the end of Spring Training in 2017.

After spending time with the Rockland Boulders in the independent Can-Am League in 2017 and 2018, Topa signed a minor league free agent deal with the Texas Rangers in June 2018.

The Binghamton, NY, native then battled through more injuries to appear in 10 games with the High-A Down East Wood Ducks and Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. He signed on with the Brewers at the end of Spring Training in 2019 and was a key bullpen contributor with the High-A Carolina Mudcats and Double-A Biloxi Shuckers. Topa notched a 3.38 ERA in 33 appearances, converting three saves in five opportunities while fanning 41 batters in 40.0 innings.

Overall, the LIU Brooklyn product went 13-20 with a 4.84 ERA in 97 career Minor League games (21 starts), striking out 170 batters in 215.2 innings before getting called up to the big leagues. Topa is the eighth player from the 2014 squad to make his MLB debut.

Images from this story

Justin Topa pitching for the West Virginia Power
Justin Topa pitching for the West Virginia Power

(Robin Black/West Virginia Power)
Ke'Bryan Hayes at bat for the West Virginia Power
Ke'Bryan Hayes at bat for the West Virginia Power

(Robin Black/West Virginia Power)

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