“At any given time, there are going to be 10 fans in the stands who can throw harder than him,” says Rany Jazayerli of Royals reliever Chris “Disco” Hayes, so dubbed because his signature submarine delivery rarely results in a pitching leaving the ’70’s. While I’m thrilled no one ever came up with Tom “Post-Punk” Glavine, Hayes’ exploits, on and off the field, provide thrilling fodder for the Chicago Tribune’s Oscar Avila.

“It’s kind of hard for people to picture how this is going to work for me,” Hayes said. “If you wanted to turn somebody into a hurdler and some guy walks up and he’s shorter than the hurdle, you’d say, ˜I can’t imagine him running in the Olympics.’

Hayes is especially popular with promoters of sabermetrics, “advanced statistics” they say are a better predictor of success than merely observing a player. Jazayerli said he thinks a strong season could land Hayes in the majors this year.

Take Hayes’ boyish facade ” he looks and sounds like actor Matt Damon ” and add his off-kilter wit, and it’s easy to see why so many pull for him. His blog (discohayes.mlblogs.com) is the sixth-most popular in Major League Baseball’s entire network.

It mixes baseball analysis with endearing tangents, such as when Hayes was caught without a plunger as he did battle with a “toilet of doom” as a houseguest on the road. Hayes knew the blog’s audience had gotten big when, days later, a fan in the stands held up a plunger and asked him to autograph it.

“I’d like to think I’ve signed more plungers than anybody,” Hayes said.