Recapping the Frederick Keys 2017 Season, A Playoff Berth and OF Austin Hays

We continue on with our 2017 season recaps for each of the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates. Today, we take a look at the High-A Frederick Keys, who had one of the best minor league players in all of baseball and made a playoff appearance.

Photo: Baby Birdland

The Carolina League is considered High-A (Advanced A), and is truly where players who are labeled prospects begin to show they are or not legit.

The Keys secured a playoff berth in 2017 thanks to a solid second have that helped them win a wildcard spot. Although they fell two games to one in their divisional series, it was a successful season for the Keys.

There's no denying that the Keys loved playing in Frederick, going 44-26 at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, but struggled on the road going 24-45.

As a team, the pitching staff was well behind the offense as Frederick owned the Carolina League's worst team ERA at 4.41 for the season, but owned the league's best batting average at .266.

Below are the team's leaders, both offensively and on the mound:


  • OF Austin Hays, 22 - Hays, who all Orioles fans now know thanks to getting called up to the big leagues, was absolutely raking for the Keys before being promoted to AA Bowie. As a Key, Hays hit .328 with 15 doubles, 16 home runs, 41 RBI and scored 42 runs in just 64 games. He is a finalist for the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year award and the unquestioned favorite for the Orioles Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award as well.
  • SS Ryan Mountcastle, 20 - Also promoted to Bowie during the season, Mountcastle continued to impress at the plate in 2017. In 88 games with the Keys, Mountcastle hit .314 with 35 doubles, 15 home runs, 47 RBI and scored 63 runs. He won the Carolina League batting title and also picked up 16 extra-base hits in 39 games with the Baysox.
  • OF Ademar Rifaela, 22 - The winner of the Carolina League MVP, Rifaela kind of burst onto the Orioles' prospect scene this season. He hit .284 with 23 doubles, 24 home runs (league-high), 78 RBI and scored 73 runs. He also boasted a .358 OBP.
  • LHP Reid Love, 25 - Love proved he can become a pretty good starter when given enough opportunities and despite the list of prospects in the rotation, Love actually produced the best year of them all. He went 6-4 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He struck out 81 batters over 106.2 innings pitched.
  • LHP Luis Gonzalez, 25 - The reliever had a very solid season out of the Keys' bullpen going 6-2 with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP over 36 appearances and 62 innings pitched. He also struck out 75 batters and held opponents to a .173 batting average.
  • LHP Keegan Akin, 22 - After really struggling out of the gate to begin the season, Akin turned things around and made his overall numbers respectable. He went 7-8 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP over 21 starts and 100 innings pitched. He struck out 111 while holding opponents to a .240 batting average. He posted a 3.63 ERA in the second half of the season.
There's no denying the Keys were led by their offense, and how could they not with guys like Hays, Mountcastle and Rifaela leading the way? There was a lot of good baseball in Frederick this season and a big congrats to having the league's MVP and appearing in the playoffs!


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