By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Frederick Keys (Class-A High) LHP Keegan Akin is quickly becoming one of the Baltimore Orioles top prospects. The 2016 second round draft pick is showing he is worthy of a spot in the top 5 on Baby Birdland’s Top Prospect list.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Akin is pitching to a 7-8 record with a 4.31 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 20 starts for the Keys so far in 2017. He has struck out 109 and walked 44 in 96.0 innings pitched. Carolina League opponents are hitting .238 against him.
Some perspective is needed when looking at Akin’s numbers. The Orioles valued him enough that he was fast tracked to Frederick this year after a 2016 season that saw him pitch in Aberdeen (Class- A Short) after signing his first professional contract.
Akin has not disappointed; he was named the Orioles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for the month of June as well as being named the Carolina Pitcher of the Week for the weeks of 6/4 and 7/2.
The 6’0”, 225lb lefty is a hard thrower who possesses a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and that tops out at 96 mph. The plus side is that Akin’s mechanics are so good that he can maintain his velocity late in the game. He counters the fastball with a plus slider and an average changeup. His command is improving and is something he is working on.
While Akin has a strikeout/9 inning ratio of 10.22 he has hit 3 batters and has thrown 5 wild pitches. His walks/9 inning ratio sits at 4.13, which is an increase from last year (2.42). As his command improves, his walks/9 inning should improve.
I would like to see Akin’s ground ball rate improve since we all know that leds to success at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. His current break down is: line drives 21%, ground balls 36.3% and fly balls 42.7%.
Akin is averaging about 5 innings per start and has lasted as long as 8.0 innings (once) while exiting as quickly as 0.2 innings (once).
With an average of more than 5 strike outs per start Akin is proving to be a solid and dependable pitcher.
Power left-handers are valuable and his position in our Top-15 reflects that value. I would anticipate that Akin maintains his top 5 spot moving forward.