February 2013

Frederick native Kline picks up save with O’s

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Frederick native Branden Kline got his first taste of big league baseball Thursday afternoon, and came out of it with a save.

It took three batters for Kline, Baltimore’s second-round pick in 2012, to retire the final out of a 10-7 Orioles win over the Yankees in Grapefruit League play. Kline entered the spring training game with two outs and the bases loaded and gave up a hit and a walk that scored two of his inherited runners before inducing the game-clinching ground-out.

Kline leads off this week’s edition of The Frederick 40 countdown. A graduate of Thomas Johnson High School, Kline grew up just minutes away from Harry Grove Stadium. He became the highest-drafted Fredericktonian ever when the O’s selected him after his junior season at the University of Virginia. A 6-3, 195-pound right-hander, Kline went 6-3 in 72 innings pitched, striking out 76 and walking 31 in his final collegiate season.

The other four potential 2013 Keys in the fourth installment of the countdown:

Miguel Chalas – Signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, there’s a chance he’ll reach Frederick at age 20 after spending last season in Delmarva’s rotation.

Gene Escat – A College World Series Champion at Fresno State, this Hawaii native lettered in three sports in high school — baseball, basketball and water polo.

Zach Fowler – He’s a full-time pitcher now, but in his final season swinging the bat at Texarkana Junior College, Fowler hit .350.

Trent Howard – While at Central Michigan, this southpaw once struck out the first nine batters he faced in a game.

The full article, The Frederick 40 Countdown: Part IV, is here. Also, Part III, Part II and Part I.

*Yesterday’s pair of split-squad games for the O’s against the Yankees and Boston saw plenty of recent former Keys and likely 2013 Keys receive playing time. Kline entered the afternoon contest with New York after 2012 Key Devin Jones recorded two outs, gave up one run and left the bases loaded. Also against the Yankees, 2012 Key John Ruettiger walked and scored, 2011 Key Manny Machado hit third and went 1-for-2, 2012 Keys Brenden Webb and Glynn Davis also got in the game.

As noted in yesterday’s blog post, Dylan Bundy threw two scoreless innings against the Yanks. Potential 2013 Keys who played include Webb, Ruettiger, Davis, Christian Walker, Kline, Jones and 2012 Key Ty Kelly. 2010-11 Key Buck Britton also played in the afternoon game.

Against the Red Sox, former Keys Xavier Avery and Chris Petrini played while Zach Britton pitched and Buck Britton saw time in the field in the nightcap as well. Potential 2013 Key Nick Delmonico walked in his lone at-bat.

*Allan de San Miguel, a 2012 Key, is on Australia’s World Baseball Classic roster. The Aussies kick off WBC play Friday night at 11:30 p.m. against Chinese Taipei.

*2011-12 Key Steve Bumbry played for Great Britain’s WBC team in qualifiers, but the Brits were eliminated. More on his WBC experience tomorrow.

Shake your Keys.

Bundy to pitch against Yankees (updated)

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After being rained out of his scheduled appearance yesterday, Dylan Bundy is slated to pitch for the O’s this afternoon against the Yankees. The 2012 Key is slated to pitch after starter Jake Arrieta (another former Key), according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. First pitch for the O’s split-squad contest was scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

*Follow Bundy and the O’s live with MLB.com Gameday here.

**Update: Through one inning, Bundy has allowed a walk to Dan Johnson and struck out Juan Rivera. Bundy came in the game to start the bottom of the third inning. He also got Robinson Cano to groundout and Zoilo Almonte to fly out.

**Another update: Bundy gave up a single to start the fourth, but then retired three in a row – two on grounders, the other on a fly ball. Last batter Bundy retired was Yankees speedster Brett Gardner.

**Final update: Bundy has been pulled after two innings. His final line:  2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO

*Yesterday’s post “The Bundy Effect,” which took a look at Carolina League attendance during his starts, was mentioned in today’s bird droppings at O’s blog camdenchat.com. In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the link to the post.

*The final day of the Keys Job Fair is tonight from 6-8 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Stop by and apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys. More info on that here.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski takes on the critics of the oft-injured Brian Roberts, shortstop extraordinaire for the 2000 Frederick Keys. Read his story here.

*Another O’s blog, Camden Depot, looks at 2011 Key Manny Machado’s rookie season in Baltimore. Check it out here.

Shake your Keys.

The Bundy Effect: putting meat in Carolina League seats

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The ace of Frederick’s 2012 staff was slated to pitch for the Orioles this afternoon against the Pirates at their park in Bradenton, Fla., but rain prevented him from taking the mound. Had the game been played, based on the attendance spikes Bundy caused during his starts in the Carolina League, one would have expected a larger than usual crowd, even on a soggy Tuesday afternoon.

The top-rated pitching prospect in baseball, Bundy, one of four Orioles pitchers set to take the mound against Pittsburgh this afternoon, went 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA with the Keys last season, striking out 66 batters in 57 innings.

Average paid attendance for Bundy’s five starts at Harry Grove Stadium was 7,148. His first start in Fredrick, Thursday, May 26, drew 9,833 people to the Grove, the Keys’ season high. Nearly a month later, on Saturday, June 23, 9,477 came to see the Orioles’ 2011 first-round draft pick. On superhero night (Saturday, July 14), 7,583 came to the ballpark, the first 1,000 receiving a Bundy t-shirt, including this Bundy fanatic:

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Joe Cassitto, otherwise known as Bundy Man

Bundy’s lowest attended home start was his last on Thursday, Aug. 8, when 4,113 came to the Grove. That was his only home start in which attendance dipped below the Keys’ Carolina-League-leading average of 4,724 per contest.

In the five road starts Bundy made in the Carolina League in which attendance was reported (Wilmington and Lynchburg failed to do so in his first starts away from home), teams averaged 5,028 spectators per game.

On July 4 in Potomac, 7,442 fans packed the P-Nats’ park to watch the hard-throwing righty. On July 20 (a Friday), 5,843 fans bought tickets in Winston-Salem. Bundy pitched at Potomac, Winston-Salem, Lynchburg and Wilmington last season.

Of the five games with reported attendance, only once did Bundy fail to exceed a team’s average attendance for the 2012 season — Thusday, June 28 at Winston-Salem. Still, 3,857 fans came to that contest, less than 600 fewer than the Dash’s average of 4,428, which ranked second in the league.

Bundy’s effect on Carolina League crowds was obvious — he made them larger. His effect in the South Atlantic League during his eight starts with Delmarva and in the Eastern league in his three starts with Bowie is less clear, though he likely caused an uptick in weekday attendance at those stops.

Bundy averaged 2,116 fans in all of his starts with Delmarva, all but two of which were weekday games, which typically don’t draw as well as weekend contests (Friday, Saturday or Sunday games).  Five of Bundy’s 10 starts in which paid attendance was reported in the Carolina League came on weekends.

In the SAL, Bundy only exceeded attendance averages twice, both times on the road — at Asheville on opening day and at Hagerstown on Sunday, May 20.

His biggest crowd in Delmarva was 3,056 on Monday, May 14, which is still shy of the Shorebirds average of 3,303 last season. Delmarva’s location on the Eastern Shore may have also kept some Orioles fans away. Portions of that group likely came to Frederick to see the O’s prospect.

In the two starts Bundy made with Bowie in which attendance was reported, he drew crowds of 4,847 on a Monday in Richmond and 2,747 on a Tuesday in Bowie.  Both those numbers are shy of the average figures for those clubs.

Regardless, Bundy’s season in the Carolina League brought fans in big numbers to its minor league ballparks.

Attendance during Bundy’s 2012 starts at Harry Grove Stadium:

5/26 – 9833, 6/14 – 4736, 6/23 – 9477, 7/14 – 7583, 8/8 – 4113

Road attendance in Bundy’s 2012 Carolina League starts:

6/2 @WIL – NA, 6/8 @LYN – NA, 6/28 @WS – 3857, 7/4 @POT – 7442, 7/20 @WS – 5843, 7/26 @WIL – 5289,  8/1 @LYN – 2710

Carolina League 2012 average attendance:

Frederick Keys 4,724
Winston-Salem Dash 4,428
Wilmington Blue Rocks 4,235
Carolina Mudcats 3,418
Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3,273
Potomac Nationals 2,953
Salem Red Sox 2,628
Lynchburg Hillcats 2,426

*A Frederick Keys Bundy bobblehead comes free with an ticket plan at Harry Grove Stadium. Ticket plans are on sale now. Machado bobbles are available, too, if you prefer Manny over Dylan. One bobblehead per ticket plan seat.

* Read Bundy Man’s account of his day at the Grove here.

*All the minor league Harlem Shake videos you could ever ask for. Notice that the Keys video is first.

*A man named Hamburger has been suspended 50 games. Where’s the beef?

*The Keys Job Fair is tonight and tomorrow. Come by the stadium from 6-8 p.m., apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys.

Shake your Keys.

Former Frederick Friday Feature — Matt Achilles

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A tall, skinny right-hander, last week’s Former Frederick Friday player Matt Achilles spent two fairly successful years in the Keys’ starting rotation in 1999 and 2000.

A 23rd round pick of the Orioles in the 1995 MLB draft out of Black Hawk Junior College in Moline, Ill., Achilles arrived in Frederick after a year in Delmarva and two seasons of rookie ball. He made 15 starts and one appearance out of the bullpen for the Keys in 1999, going 5-8 with a 4.31 ERA and striking out 77 batters in 94 innings. His wins and strikeouts nearly doubled the next season as a 23-year-old, when he finished 8-11 with a 3.42 ERA and  tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 137 in 150 innings.

Achilles moved on to the Cubs’ farm system in 2001 and reached their double-A club, the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, where he spent the entire 2002 season, his last in the minors. Over his seven-year career, Achilles went 46-50 with a 3.69 ERA, starting 119 of the 169 games in which he pitched. Over his 778 innings pitched, he struck out 612 batters and walked 314.

His best minor league season was probably his last with the Keys, the second of three times he would win eight games in his career. A complete listing of Achilles’ stats are here and his 1998 Delmarva baseball card is selling for $2.50 on Amazon.

This is the 2nd annual Former Frederick Friday contest. Throughout the offseason, a picture of a former Key is posted on our Facebook page on Fridays. The first person to correctly guess who the former Key is will have his or her name placed the running for a Keys Luxury Suite during a game in 2013. We are currently in our 15th week of the contest. Congratulations to Hannah Brook for correctly guessing Achilles on Friday.

When a former Keys pitcher walks a former Keys pitcher

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Sunday in Dunedin, Fla., a curious thing happened. A former Frederick Keys pitcher stepped into the left-handed batter’s box to face another former Keys pitcher.

The former Key on the mound during Sunday’s Orioles-Blue Jays spring training game was Kevin Gausman, the Orioles’ 2012 first-round pick (fourth overall) whose brief stint in Frederick last season (he started three games, throwing three innings in each contest) has been noted many a time on this blog and elsewhere.

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Kevin Gausman

 

The former Key at bat was Adam Loewen, who walked in his lone at-bat against Gausman. Loewen has a much longer history with Frederick’s baseball team.

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Adam Loewen

 

Loewen, the Orioles’ first round pick (also the fourth pick overall, like Gausman) in the 2002 draft, spent all of 2005 with the Keys. The highly-touted lefty made 27 starts and one relief appearance in ’06, going 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 142 innings. Loewen’s wins and strikeouts ranked second on the Keys, trailing only current Orioles all-star closer Jim Johnson. (Johnson started 27 games for Frederick that season, going 12-9 with a 3.49 ERA while striking out 168 batters in 159 innings.)

After his 2005 campaign in Frederick, Loewen pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and was the winning pitcher in his country’s 8-6 victory over the U.S. (box score here). That led to this hilarious rant by Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, described on The Colbert Report’s website as “America’s ballsiest pundit.” Note the Frederick Keys and Harry Grove Stadium mentions near the end of his spiel.

Loewen made it to the big leagues in 2006, starting 19 games for the Orioles and making three relief appearances, going 6-6 with a 5.67 ERA. He pitched in six games for Baltimore in 2007 but a stress fracture in his pitching elbow in 2008 would end his pitching career.

Loewen was released by the Orioles and in his second stint with Toronto’s organization since transitioning to the outfield. He made his major league debut as a hitter in 2011 with Jays, as chronicled in this MLB.com story.

Gausman pitched 1 2/3 innings Sunday and his outing ended after walking Loewen. He struck out two, walked two, allowed a double and a run while lighting up the notoriously favorable radar gun at the Blue Jays’ spring training stadium. Gausman hit 98 with his fastball, according to this story by MLB.com’s Adam Berry.

*The top 3 in the O’s batting order for their game against the Yankees today are all Frederick Keys (Reimold, Roberts, Markakis), according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski muses on where Manny Machado should bat in the O’s order this year in this story.

*The Keys job fair begins tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. The event will also be held Wednesday at the same time, running until 8 p.m. both nights. More info on the job fair is here.

Shake your Keys.

Five for Friday: Gausman, Rodriguez pitch in intrasquad game

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2012 Key Kevin Gausman impressed at Spring Training Thursday.

The Orioles played their final intrasquad game yesterday before opening Grapefruit League action tomorrow, during which a 2012 Key and a likely 2013 Key took the mound.

Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez lead off this week’s Five for Friday.

1. Former, future Keys on the mound in intrasquad game

2012 first-round pick Gausman, who spent a late-season stint in Frederick, retired all four batters he faced in Thursday’s game, striking out two. Here’s what Baltimore manager buck Showalter said about Gausman after the contest, from an article by Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun :

“You can see why everybody thinks so highly of Gaus,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got a good arm, and he’s got a great delivery. He does a lot of things to make himself successful. The changeup will play better at higher levels. He’s one of those guys who looks real comfortable on the mound.”

Encina’s story also includes quotes form Gausman and catcher Chris Robinson, one of the batters struck out by the former LSU Tiger, on Gausman’s performance.

Rodriguez, a 19-year-old who spent 2012 in Delmarva and looks to be salted for Frederick this season, faced three big-league batters in the scrimmage yesterday, according to Roch Kubatko’s notes from the game. Rodriguez struck out Manny Machado, walked Nate McLouth and hit Steve Pearce.

As noted in Wedensday’s blog post, the O’s first pair of intrasqaud games saw five ’12 Keys on the roster, four in the starting lineup. In case you missed it, or if you want to look again, here’s the link to that post.

2. Five more potential Keys for 2013

This week’s five include four top-30 prospects and a catcher who’s been red hot since the halfway point of 2012. They are:

Zach Davies — He may be an undersized pitcher, but he showed he could hold his own as a 19-year-old in Delmarva last season.

Torsten Boss — The only third baseman drafted out of Michigan State taken higher than Boss was this guy in 1968. Boss is also the highest-drafted Spartan (taken by the O’s in the eighth round last year) since 2002.

Michael Ohlman – Ohlman’s been featured on this blog before for his recent success down under. Off-the-field issues kept him out of the lineup for the first half of 2012, but he tried to make amends for the first 50 games by hitting over .300 in the second 50.

Christian Walker — He led led South Carolina in batting average (.321), hits (77), home runs (11), runs (48), RBI (55), walks (51), slugging percentage (.525) and on-base percentage (.450) last season.

Glynn Davis — A 2012 Key, this speedy outfielder swiped 37 bags in 47 tries last season between Delmarva and Frederick.

Click here for the full article.

3. Harlem Shake your Keys

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the Keys’ front office doing the Harlem Shake.

4. Newsletter time

Here it is.

5. Links, links, links

*Former Key Jonathan Schoop, the O’s top-ranked positional prospect, is playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, which begins March 1. Ed Encina wrote about Schoop in his first major league camp and playing in the WBC here.

*Sorry, ladies. Manny Machado, 2011 Key, is engaged, according to The Baltimore Sun O’s blog.

*Kevin Gausman is part of this MiLB.com story about LSU’s pipeline to the majors.

*Former Key Zach Britton will start Baltimore’s Grapefruit opener tomorrow, according to MLB.com Orioles beat reporter Britt Ghiroli. More info on her blog.

Shake your Keys.

Harlem Shake your Keys (updated with spring training info)

At long last, here it is:
Keyote, Frank Key and the Frederick Keys front office do the Harlem Shake.

Meanwhile, down in spring training:
— Like I menitoned in yesterday’s post about the Orioles’ intrasquad games, Eduardo Rodriguez, who’s in part one of our countdown of potential 2013 Frederick Keys, is slated to pitch during today’s intrasquad game.

*I’ll update on  Rodriguez’s outing as information becomes available.

-MASN’s Roch Kubatko’s notes from the intrasquad game list Rodriguez’s outing as striking out Manny Machado, walking Nate McLouth and hitting Steve Pearce.

-2012 Key Kevin Gausman retired all four batters he faced, showing good velocity, Kubatko writes in his intrasquad game story.

Harlem Shake your Keys.

Four 2012 Keys in intrasquad starting lineups (updated)

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Four 2012 Frederick Keys found themselves in the starting lineups of intrasquad games at O’s spring training on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of MLB.com Orioles reporter Britt Ghiroli.

The Orioles played their first intrasquad games of spring training this morning, a pair three-inning contests that began around 10 a.m. To fill out the lineups, six minor leaguers were called up from their minicamp to fill out the starting lineups, four of whom were Keys last season.

Outfielders Glynn Davis, Brenden Webb and Johnny Ruettiger and infielder Ty Kelly started today’s contests after spending time in Frederick in 2012, along with O’s farmhands Buck Britton, a 2011 Key, and 18-year-old Adrian Marin, who finished 2012 in Delmarva and has yet to reach Frederick. Another 2012 Key, catcher Allen de San Miguel, also played in today’s games.

*I’ll update with any Keys-related info from the intrasquad games as it becomes available.

–Davis was the only 2012 Key to make it into MASN writer Rock Kubatko’s notes from the intrasquad game. Kubatko noted that Davis struck out against Baltimore free-agent acquisition Jair Jurrjens. His article is here.

–Marin, who could potentially see time in Frederick this year, caught O’s manager Buck Showalter’s eye today. Here’s his quote about the Orioles’ 2012 third-round pick in another Kubatko story:

“You can see why everybody’s so high on him. He’s got nice actions, real calm,” Showalter said. “He’s got a little Bordy (Mike Bordick) look to him.”

–Eduardo Rodriguez, one of our 40 potential Keys for 2013, is slated to pitch in Thursday’s six-inning intrasquad game, according to MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli.

–Ruettiger reached base and nearly scored, but was gunned down by fellow minor leaguer and 2010 Key L.J. Hoes.  San Miguel made a nice scoop and applied the tag, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Ed Encina and columnist Peter Shmuck. Shmuck’s take is here.

A few more bits and pieces on this Wednesday:

*Another reminder that the Keys Job Fair will be held Tuesday and Wednesday Feb. 26 and 27 from 6-8 p.m. each night at Harry Grove Stadium. More info here and here.

*The Keys opening weekend ticket package is on sale. Four tickets to any of the three games, four Esskay hot dogs and four drinks for a low price. Check it out here and reserve your seats.

*2012 Key Dylan Bundy, baseball’s top pitching prospect, got some more media love today. Read Steve Melewski’s story here.

*Britt Ghiroli wrote a good, lengthy piece on Nolan Reimold (Frederick Key in 2005 and 2006) working back from the career-threatening neck injury that ended his season in 2012. Read it here.

*The No. 10 promotion in our countdown of 2013′s top 10 promotions at Harry Grove Stadium was unveiled yesterday. No. 9 will be released on the blog this afternoon.

*44 days until opening night.

Shake your Keys.

Minor’s brief pro basketball career

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2013 Keys Manager Ryan Minor starred for the University of Oklahoma basketball team and had a brief pro career on the basketball court. This is his NBA rookie card.

A two-sport star at Oklahoma, Ryan Minor had two obvious career options during the summer of 1996 — move to Philadelphia and try to make it in the NBA or join the Orioles’ minor league system and pursue the majors.

Eventually, Minor settled on baseball and had a brief major league career. But in ’96, the 2013 Frederick Keys manager actually gave both pro sports a try.

Minor, named the Keys manager in January, was a basketball star at Oklahoma. He started for three years as a Sooner and averaged 14 minutes per game coming off the bench as a freshman. Listed as a 6-7, 220-pound forward, Minor was named an All-American as a junior after he averaged 23 points and eight rebounds. Led by their big man, the ’95 Sooners went 23-9, 15-0 at home and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, though they were upset in the first round by Manhattan College.

Had Minor, a forward with a soft touch from 3-point land, left for the NBA after his junior year, speculation suggested he’d have been a lottery pick. But Minor chose stay in Norman for his senior year.

Obscured by the basketball hype surrounding Minor was his ability on the baseball field. A member of the OU team that won the 1994 College World Series, the Mets selected Minor in the seventh round of the 1995 MLB draft. Again, he chose to stay in school.

In 1996, Minor became the first player in Oklahoma history to score 1,800 points, grab 700 rebounds and total 150 steals in his career. His draft stock, however, fell and he was taken in the second round by the 76ers. The Orioles, who also drafted Minor as a shortstop out of high school, also drafted him that summer, in the 33rd round.

Minor played 25 games with the O’s rookie league team in Bluefield, W. Va., — missing workouts with Philadelphia to do so — and hit .253. Then, he decided to give basketball a try. He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Sixers, played in seven preseason games and was cut.

He averaged 2.4 points in less than eight minutes per game and shot just 18.5 percent from the field in his brief, preseason NBA career.

News of Minor’s release led to speculation that he might return to Oklahoma to play in the Continental Basketball Association, which is exactly what happened.  Saying he was “focused completely on basketball,” Minor spent the end of ’96 with the Oklahoma City Cavalry (rocking a fantastic 90s practice jersey) but didn’t stick.

In February of ’97, he re-signed with Baltimore.

*In 45 days, Minor will begin his Keys managerial career (barring rain, of course). He also played for the Keys for two games, both on the road, in 2000.

*You may have read the former Key and current Oriole Manny Machado missed workouts yesterday at spring training. No worries, folks, it was apparently just acid reflux. Thank goodness.

*No. 10 in our countdown of the Keys’ Top 10 Promotions for 2013 will be on the blog this afternoon. Make sure to click over to that.

*For all you longtime O’s (and Keys) fans, you’ll enjoy this column from MASN’s Steve Melewski. Check it out: What defines a great Orioles fan?

Shake your Keys.

Former Frederick Friday Feature – Jovanny Sosa

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Last week’s Former Frederick Friday player Jovanny Sosa played just half a season with the Keys. After being promoted from Delmarva, the 6-2, 200-pound outfielder from the Dominican Republic hit .179 for Frederick in 64 games in 2001.

Sosa had played well in Delmarva, hitting .274 with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 36 games, but his transition to high-A ball in Frederick was a rough one. In addition to batting below .200, Sosa struck out 72 times. The highlight of his time in Frederick, his only year in the Baltimore system, was his power from the right-handed batter’s box. He slugged seven homers despite only racking up a total of 37 hits.

Before his season with Delmarva and Frederick, Sosa spent three years in the Pirates organization, capped by a two-season span in which he hit a combined 40 dingers, and spent his final year in the minors, 2002, with the Clinton Lumber Kings. For his five-year minor league career, Sosa hit .235, clubbed 67 home runs, drove in 226 runs and struck out a whopping 556 times.

Sosa’s career stats can be found here.

This is the 2nd annual Former Frederick Friday contest. Throughout the offseason, a picture of a former Key is posted on our Facebook page on Fridays. The first person to correctly guess who the former Key is will have his or her name placed the running for a Keys Luxury Suite during a game in 2013. We are currently in our 14th week of the contest. Congratulations to Willard Rudy for correctly guessing Sosa, and doing so quickly, on Friday.

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