Frederick Keys Season Preview
The Frederick Keys had an interesting 2012 season, finishing 62-77. While they were not particularly good in any aspect, they did have the luxury of Dylan Bundy for a portion of the season.
Luckily for us, the 2013 Keys roster is extremely exciting. The OF consists of some intriguing prospects, while the rotation is full of pitchers that have risen through the system quickly in the past year or so.
1. Devin Jones – RHP
He went from being a reliever in Delmarva to a surprisingly solid starter at Frederick last season. Jones will now receive the opening day start for the Keys. He primarily sits low 90′s with his fastball, which has solid movement. Jones really displayed a terrific two-seam when I saw him last year, which had clearly improved since the past time I watched him pitch. He is a ground ball pitcher that depends mostly on his sink, while throwing in a slider every now and then. Certainly not a flashy pitcher, but he gets the job done.
2. Tyler Wilson – RHP
I said Wilson had the best command and control of any pitcher in the Orioles system in my tools ranking list, which can be found HERE. Wilson knows how to change speeds, work the count against the batter, and counter-think the batters plate approach. He is a highly cognizant player that truly improved in quite a few areas. The main difference is in his delivery, which seemed a little cleaner in between the starts I saw of him. His fastball sits around the low 90′s. His secondary arsenal consists of a curve ball and change up. While he may not be the most prolific pitcher in the system, he can stick around with his superior mind and mental awareness.
3. Eduardo Rodriguez – LHP
The young Venezuelan has shot up the prospect rankings in the past year. While he has some decent deception and has refined his delivery over the past season, the most intriquing aspect of his game was the late velocity spike. When I last saw Rodriguez, he was 90-92 consistently. From the reports, he was clocked around 93-94 consistently to end the season. As a LHP, that extra velocity is huge, and can be all the difference between a back end starter and a possible #3 pitcher. He is a buzz-worthy player in 2013, but I need to consistently see this before I shoot him too high on my lists. Frederick will be a great test for him, and hopefully he can hold his own.
4. Tim Berry – LHP
Berry is a good pitcher, but his career will really come down to whether he can strengthen his command. He has a fastball that usually sits around 90, touching 92. He has a curve ball which is a decent pitch, with decent depth and break. The big story of his 2012 season was the progression of his change up, which he did not use much in prior seasons. This was a good sign, although it does not change the fact that he still needs to tighten his command.
5. Zach Davies – RHP
Davies has good life on his fastball, which primarily sits around 88-90 MPH. He has a curve ball and a slider, along with the makings of a really solid change up. From the industry sources I talked to, they believed that Davies can stick as a starter if he puts on a little more weight and muscle and continues the refinement of his secondary arsenal. Another source I talked to said Davies has a “good girlfriend”. That means he has high confidence. That is an important factor when considering he is quite small in stature.
6. Zach Petersime – RHP
He is the lone pitcher on this entire roster that I haven’t seen in person yet. Here is a quick report I was given: “Pitches to contact, not overpowering. Can locate okay, sink of fastball, fringy break, fringy change.”
1. Nick Delmonico – 3B/1B
Delmonico is largely considered the second best bat in the system behind Jonathan Schoop. He is a player with average to above-average tools, but does not really stick out in any specific category. He has average bat speed, and his swing can be a little “slow” at times. However, as a collective unit, he provides enough offense to warrant his current status. The main question is really where he ends up defensively. His bat does not play very well at 1B. He would have been a strong bat at 2B, but that experiment ended rather quickly. In 2012, Delmonico will shift back over to 3B. I think his bat could possibly fit there, but I am not sold on him defensively. I expect to see Delmonico struggle initially in the Carolina League, but that does not mean he is struggling in terms of growth.
2. Eduardo Rodriguez – LHP
3. Glynn Davis – OF
He has the best pure speed in the Orioles organization and ranks as the best overall athlete in the system. It is quite unbelievable that someone with such ability was not drafted. Davis is still fairly raw, with a wiry frame with much room for muscle and growth. He has above-average bat speed, with quick hands through the zone. The swing is inconsistent at times though, which is not surprising due to how truly raw he is as a baseball player. As an athlete, he is a few years ahead of his baseball skills. Davis is a surefire bet to stick in CF, and if he can carry his weight at the plate, he can possibly become a second division OF in the MLB. Otherwise, you still are looking at a potential 4th OF type.
Michael Ohlman – C/1B
When healthy, it is easy to see why Ohlman is considered a talented prospect. He is a big and sturdy body behind the plate, with his catcher skills improving drastically since the past year. The main problem with Ohlman is durability. With the bat, he has a great approach at the plate, being very selective. Above-average bat speed, a quick trigger and moderate pop make him valuable as a catcher option. He is likely the reason why the Orioles traded Gabriel Lino last season. I put him as 1B too as he plays there occasionally and if he ever did move off C, it would be to there. He may be moving slowly, but there is talent here.
John Ruettiger – OF
Not the strongest, fastest, most athletic, or best player on the field at any time. However, he is a player whom brings his “A-game” to the park each day. Ruettiger has one of the better approaches at the plate in the entire system, and constantly works the count in his favor. He is a spray hitter, who will use the entire field. There is minimal power, and his bat speed is probably average at best. In the field, he probably fits best as a corner OF, as he does not have the top tier athleticism to stick in CF. He can play there if necessary though, and does make solid reads. I would like to see how he handles AA pitching, as I believe it is the only way to truly get an understanding of how valuable a player Ruettiger can be.
Jesse Beal – RHP
Beal is not a guy that most would consider a big-time prospect. He is not an overpowering pitcher, and is essentially a bullpen guy at this point in his career. However, he displays plus command, and can work the ball well in the lower half of the zone. However, when he leaves the ball up over the plate it is usually obliterated. His fastball has a little dance on it, usually sitting around 88-90. He needs to work on his secondary arsenal, a curve and change. Overall, Beal can be a decent MRP option if he can possibly fill out a little more and add a tick or two of velocity.
The Keys have a much better roster compared to last year. They have plenty of players that could surprise this year like Trent Howard, Trent Mummey and Brenden Webb. Even someone like Jerome Pena could surprise. You just never know with a lot of these players currently on the Keys roster. Expect the unexpected. There are also a few players that really need to produce in Jason Esposito and Connor Narron. Down the line, expect pitchers such as Parker Bridwell and Juan Guzman to possibly join the Keys if they handle Delmarva. Torsten Boss and Christian Walker could also find themselves here.
Allan de San Miguel