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MuchO GustO: A review of the 2011 Frederick Keys

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10:  Focus Manny, Focus!  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: Focus Manny, Focus! (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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MuchO GustO now shifts to a review of the 2011 Frederick Keys.  It really was a banner year for the Keys, who finished 80-59 and won the Carolina League Championship in 4 games, claiming the Mills Cup.  Though they were the oldest squad in the 8 team Carolina League, there were a number of really interesting prospects.  They were lead by their pitchers, as they allowed 0.4 fewer runs per game than their closest opponent.  Prospect wise, what happened out in Fredneck?

The Good:

Manny Machado: I hate to be an iconoclast, but 2011 didn't go as swimmingly as it could have for Manny Machado.  While I have little doubt that he is a top 20 prospect in baseball, it is worth noting that it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops.  The key though for me is to remember that he turned 19 in July, so by prospect standards 2011 was his age 18 season.  While he OPS plussed 136 in Delmarva, in the Carolina League it was 97.  His BABIP in the Carolina League was 288, compared to 298 in the SALLY.  He struck out more and walked less as he moved up the ladder.  But again, he's 19.  I'd like to see him stay down in Carolina next year, maybe for the whole season.  For the year split across Delmarva and Frederick, he posted the following line: 257/335/421/756.  It's worth noting his defense has received nothing but positive reviews that I've read at least and that's obviously very important.

Jonathan Schoop: Like his more ballyhooed teammate, 19 year old Jonathan Schoop also opened some eyes in Delmarva.  At two stops in 2011, Schoop posted the following line: 290/349/432/781.  What really piqued my interest about him coming into the season were his plus walk rates, impressive for a kid in the GCL.  That seemed to wane a little at both levels, but more than held his own in the Carolina League at 19.  Like Machado, I think he would benefit from another full season in the Carolina League.

Bobby Bundy was straight up shellacked in Bowie, but that shouldn't take away from what the 21 year old RHP Oklahoman accomplished in the Carolina League.  He posted a FIP of 3.45 (ERA: 2.75), posting a strong K/BB of 100/31 in 121 innings.  I really like that he lowered his BB/9 and increased his K/9 while advancing a level.  These are good signs and you have to think he will warrant top 100 consideration.      

More below the jump!

Oliver Drake is something of a lightning rod.  While Machado and Schoop were young for the Carolina League, Oliver Drake was a little long in the tooth (24) for the Carolina League.  However, he did some things that were really impressive, posting  compelling line: 7.4 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 0.1 HR/9.  According to orioles-nation, Drake has a FB in the low 90s, and a "plus slider."   As a result of not walking a lot of guys and keeping the ball in the ballpark so successfully, his FIP was a stellar 2.39 in Frederick (ERA: 2.14).  His BABIP in Bowie was a little high (338), so I would be curious to see if he can build on his strong Frederick season in Bowie next year, much like Bobby Bundy.

Clayton Shrader: For 46 innings in two levels in 2011, Clayton Schrader almost struck out every man he faced.  While injuries limited him to those 46 innings, he posted a K/BB of 73/32.  I read online (so it must be true!) that he has something called golfer's elbow, which isn't considered as serious as other elbow/shoulder problems.  We'll see how he comes into the spring.  Those K/9 numbers are pretty impressive.  Since he was injured, I would like to see him start off 2012 back in Frederick, but you have to wonder if he could be Kevin Gregg's replacement when Gregg gets dealt to Texas next July.  Can Schrader be our Craig Kimbrel?

Jason Gurka: Thanks to jq, I started tracking Jason Gurka during the year and he was another reliever who really impressed.  Across two levels in 2011, he posted a K/BB of 67/11 in 53.1 innings.

The Bad:

Kipp Schutz: 23 y/o Kipp Schutz absolutely eviscerated the SALLY this year 381/421/568/997 on some level due to a BABIP of 451.  Promoted to the Carolina League, and Schutz's BABIP fortunes dried up, posting the following slash line: 212/266/346/612 with a BABIP of 258.  Unfortunately for Schutz, he struggled to get at bats as the season wore on, and it looks like he'll return to Frederick next year.

Daniel Klein: I struggled to figure out where to put Klein, who is here because of his injuries, obviously.  Klein threw 32.1 innings in 2011 across 2 levels (Frederick and Bowie) and posted a stellar K/BB of 37/6 with a 1.11 ERA.  But the previously injured Klein was injured again.  And while part of me understands going after him in hopes he can follow Shaun Marcum's career trajectory, another shoulder injury is not what the organization needed.

The Meh:

Aaron Baker: After reading some Bucs Dugout, I wasn't too terribly excited about Aaron Baker when the Orioles acquired him.  But a 455 BABIP as a Key put him on the radar, however briefly.  In Bradenton and in Frederick (both A+) in 2011, the 23 year old Baker posted the following line: 293/364/481/845.  It's nice to see the power, but it his walk rates aren't going to cut it to be a relevant piece of the Orioles future.  But we'll see how he does in Bowie next year.

Trent Mummey: Trent Mummey was the 4th rounder in the 2010 draft (Machado) out of Alabama.  The 22 y/o split his 2011 campaign in Delmarva and Frederick before getting injured and ending his season after 29 games, where he posted the following line across two levels: 292/373/478/851.  Those are some pretty nice numbers honestly, but the problem is that he only played in 29 games.  So he should be back in Frederick again next season.

Tyler Townsend: After having a promising yet injury riddled season in 2010, Tyler Townsend repeated those fortunes in 2011.  The two biggest flaws in his game right now are his ability to stay healthy and his inability to draw a walk.  He did post the following line in Frederick though: 317/358/583/941.  You have to like his ISO, but a 383 BABIP likely inflated his numbers.  He drew 11 walks in 271 plate appearances in Frederick, which is ominous to say the least.

Ryan Berry: Ryan Berry likely fell to the 9th round in the 2009 draft (Hobgood) due to injury fears given that he pitched for Rice.  After throwing 117 innings in Frederick, he would throw only 36.1 in 2011 across 3 levels, mostly in Aberdeen.  He's being reviewed here because he threw 71 innings in 2010 in Frederick.  In his 36.1 2011 innings, he struck out 32 hitters, walked 15 and posted a 3.72 ERA.  2011 was his age 22 season, but he should also be back in Frederick in 2012.

There were some others who I looked at, but I'm deferring to jq for next week.

Final Thoughts:

Machado, Schoop and Bundy could all be useful parts on a good Oriole team.  Drake can be a quality back end guy.  Schrader, Gurka, Ryan Berry and Ashur Tolliver can be nice relievers.  Tyler Townsend has work to do, but his power is really compelling.  

Do the Frederick Keys suggest that Joe Jordan should be retained? 

bb-ref for the 2011 Keys