Mahoney mashing for Marlins
In a perfect world, every Frederick Key that makes it to the major leagues would make it as an Oriole. Homegrown talent, from Harry Grove Stadium to Camden Yards.
But, an imperfect game by nature, baseball does not work that way.
A former Key now outside the organization, Joe Mahoney is making his case for an everyday job with the Marlins.
Mahoney, a Key for parts of three seasons, was claimed off waivers by Miami in November, and the former sixth-round pick of the O’s is already justifying that move. In five spring training games, Mahoney is 5-for-14 — that’s a .357 batting average — with two homers, a double and 5 RBIs.
Mahoney did most of his damage Saturday against the Mets, going deep twice and driving in four runs. Here’s video of his second home run, a three-run dinger:
Mahoney spent parts of three seasons with the Keys, playing 72 of his 82 games with Frederick in 2010. He hit nine home runs with the Keys that season, batted .299 and drove in 49 runs. Add his numbers with Double-A Bowie that season to those with the Keys and Mahoney slugged 18 homers, batted .307 and drove in 82 runs in 124 games.
That’s the type of power the Marlins hope Mahoney can rediscover after hitting just 21 home runs over the last two seasons with double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk. With Miami’s few options at first base, Mahoney could win himself a big-league job if he shows enough pop.
In fact, here’s a Miami Herald story saying just that. From the story by Manny Navarro:
Now 26, Mahoney feels like he’s starting to mature as a hitter. He said he learned a lot from former Orioles teammates Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson and Chris Davis in his three previous springs with Baltimore and has learned quite a bit now working with new Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez.
“I’ve always kind of had it,” Mahoney said of the power. “But now is when I’m really starting to learn pitch selection and letting it translate into games. I’m trying to be an all-around player, be a good hitter who hits for average, drive runners in.”
A 2007 draft pick, Mahoney was called up to the Orioles briefly in 2012, going 0-for-4 in two games. Whether he gets a chance to improve on his major-league numbers to start this season will likely depend on how he finishes spring training following his hot start.
A sign that Mahoney’s opportunity is real — the fantasy baseball community is talking about him.
*2010 and 2011 Key Jonathan Schoop has one hit in the World Baseball Classic — a line-drive home run that almost ended the life of a woman knitting in the left-field stands. He recorded it yesterday against Australia. Watch:
*That bomb helped eliminate Australia and former Key Allan de San Miguel from the WBC in a 4-1 Netherlands victory.
*Read about all of the former Keys in the WBC in yesterday’s blog post.
*Some notes from Roch Kubatko on O’s minor laegue camp.
*A nice gesture to the troops by the BayBears.
*Looks like we’re going to get snowquestered tonight and tomorrow.
*Just one month before opening night at the Grove.
Shake your Keys.