Matt Hague has never received much recognition on any prospect rating publications, but he certainly has the skill set to warrant being on those lists.
Drafted in the ninth round of the 2008 draft out of Oklahoma State, the 6'3", 200-pound first baseman certainly contains traits worthy of a top 10 organizational prospect, even before the likes of Taillon, Cole, Allie, Heredia, Bell and others made the list.
Before the 2011 season, however, Baseball America ranked Hague with the best strike-zone discipline in the Pirates' organization.
Midway through the 2011 season, Baseball America featured Matt Hague as the third best prospect of the week spanning from June 17th through 23rd here. In that article, Baseball America had the following to say about the 26-year-old:
"Hague, a ninth-round pick in 2008 from Oklahoma State, hasn't gotten a ton of acclaim throughout his career, but all he's done is hit at every level. He carried a .300 career average into this season, and he's batting .316/.367/.460 in his first season facing Triple-A competition."
His strikeout rate and on base percentage are also fantastic. His career on base percentage is a solid .372 and he has struck out just 230 times in 1,955 plate appearances, or 1 in 8.5.
Contact: A - As Baseball America eloquently put it, all he's done is hit at EVERY level. Hague is a career .302 hitter including .309 at Triple-A in 2011.
Power: B- - Hague doesn't have your ideal power for a first baseman, but after hitting just 14 home runs in his first two professional seasons, has hit 27 combined between Double-A and Triple-A in 2010 and 2011. Add 67 doubles in the same time frame and his power potential looks to be a solid 15-20 homers and 30 or so doubles in the bigs.
Speed: C - He's a first baseman, so what do you expect? Hague hit three triples in Triple-A this season and also stole four of seven bases this year.
Fielding: B - A career .991 fielder at first base in his minor league career, Hague is a solid fielder with no glaring weaknesses.
Arm: B - He started off as a third baseman but eventually moved over more permanently to first base after the Pirates drafted a ton of shortstops and third basemen. Hague's arm was never the issue.
Tool of weakness: Speed
Tool of strength: Contact and strike-zone discipline.