Tracking former Keys in the WBC

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Former Key Jonathan Schoop gets congratulated by his Dutch teammates after a going deep against Cuba.

With the first round of the World Baseball Classic complete and the second round underway, let’s revisit the list of former Keys playing in the international tournament.

The former Key with the most impressive line so far belongs to Netherlands second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The Orioles’ top positional prospect and a Curacao native, Schoop, a Key in 2010 and 2011, started slow but has helped power the Dutch to a WBC semifinal berth. The Netherlands stunned Cuba for the second time in the second round this morning, winning 7-6 on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth and eliminating Cuba.

Schoop went 1-for-3 in the Dutch victory today — he singled and then was caught stealing second base– but went 3-for-6 with a homer, a double and 4 RBIs in the Netherlands’ 6-2 defeat of the Cubans earlier in the second round.

Entering today’s game, Schoop was hitting .235 with two home runs, six RBIs and a slugging percentage of .647. He started the competition 0-for-6 in the Dutch’s first two games, but then went on a power surge against Australia and Cuba. Schoop and the Netherlands will play Japan (which beat the Dutch 16-4 over the weekend) tomorrow at 6 a.m. to determine the winner of their four-team pool and their semifinal seeding.

The rest of the former Keys:

Allan de San Miguel, C (AUS) – The Australians went winless and were eliminated in the first round and de San Miguel, a 2012 Key, went 0-for-4 in two games. He was also reassigned to minor league spring training last week.

Paco Figueroa, 2B (ESP) – Spain’s second baseman went 1-for-12 with a walk in Spain’s three games, all losses. Now in the Philadelphia organization, Figueroa played 90 games in Frederick in 2006. The Spanish have been eliminated.

Danny Figueroa, OF (ESP) – Paco’s twin brother went 1-for-5 for Spain with a walk and a run. He patrolled center field for the Keys in 2008.

Richard Salazar, P (ESP) – Spain’s southpaw pitched once during Spain’s WBC run, throwing five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Salazar pitched in 100 games with the Keys over the 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons.

John Mariotti, P (ITA) –Mariotti got throttled in his start against Mexico, but bounced back to pitch a scoreless inning of relief against the U.S. on Saturday. Against the Mexicans on Thursday, a game the Italians won 6-5, Mariotti lasted 1.2 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits and two walks. Of the five outs he recorded, three came via strikeout. Italy advanced to the second round and plays the Dominican Republic tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Adam Loewen, OF (CAN) – The Canadians were eliminated by the U.S. Sunday, ending Loewen’s WBC experience. Now an outfielder in the Blue Jays’ organization, Canada’s left fielder went 2-for-4 with two RBIs Sunday. Loewen went hitless in Canada’s previous games and finished with a .200 average and three RBIs. A former Keys pitcher in 2004, 2005 and 2008, a stress fracture in his left (pitching) elbow ended his career on the mound.

David Hernandez, P (USA) – A 2007 Frederick Key, Hernandez made his lone WBC appearance for the U.S. so far against Canada, pitching two-thirds of an inning while allowing three hits and a run. The U.S. opens second-round play against Puerto Rico tomorrow at 8 p.m.

*Since we’ve started updating this blog more frequently in mid-February, we’ve noticed quite the uptick in readership. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: after being unranked among the top 50 MLB pro blogs, Unlocking the Keys finished 31st in page views for February. More proof we have arrived: we beat out a blog devoted to the Philadelphia Phillies’ ball girls by three spots.

Thank you guys for reading!

*Former Key Xavier Avery was optioned to triple-A Norfolk along with two others, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. X-man was a Key in 2010 and will move from big league camp to the minor league side for the remainder of spring training.

*More love for Schoop, courtesy of MASN’s Steve Melewski.

*25 days until opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

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