Guess Your Keys: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Happy Saturday Keys Fans!
It’s with great pleasure that we present a special weekend edition of Guess Your Keys!!! In LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, the Keys will kick of their season against the Lynchburg Hillcats, while in EXACTLY two weeks Keysfest will take place!!! The event runs from 11-2 p.m. on April 5 at Harry Grove Stadium and will feature a plethora of fun activities, food samplings and more! And what’s even better, is that the event is FREE!! So make sure and join us two Saturdays from now.
As for today, the O’s and the Rays played to a 3-3 tie in Port Charlotte. Some might subscribe to the old adage that a tie is like “kissing your sister”, but I think Buck Showalter and Dave Wallace might not be complaining after the performance of Ubaldo Jimenez. After allowing a two-run homer to James Loney in the first inning, the righty fired blanks over his next five frames. He exited after six innings of five-hit baseball, while the two-run homer was the only damage done. For those in the AL East, I’d start taking notes.
On the minor league front, a a number of cuts were made on Friday. The two biggest names were Jack Cust and Matt LaPorta, both players with extended big league time, who were in camp on minor league deals.
Meanwhile, former Key Julio Rodriguez was also red-tagged. Once a highly-regarded Phillies prospect, the Puerto Rican went 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA in four starts with Frederick.
Almost every player development person will tell you that these calls aren’t easy. But at the end of the day, it’s the law of numbers. The Orioles only have so many minor league roster spots.
As always, the Keys have 25 slots. And while we’re still not sure who will be filling them yet, here are a couple more guesses:
More on Wager:
Wager split 2013 between Frederick and Low-A Delmarva posting a 4.89 ERA over 140 innings. With the Keys, he experienced both highs on lows. The highs: Wager was responsible for Frederick’s only complete-game shutout of the season, when he four-hit Carolina on August 3. Now the lows: in 15 starts, the righty suffered 10 defeats, fourth-most in the league. Although wins and losses are oftentimes not great barometers of success, Wager will need to find a way to get out left-handed hitters more effectively (in the CL that group hit .291 against him).
More on Hutter:
Coming off his first full-season, Hutter hit .230 in 120 games with Low-A Delmarva. Those numbers were due in large part to a tough second-half, where he hit just .214 over his final 63 games. Still, Hutter did show a good batting-eye at the plate, earning 53 free passes on the year (tied for the club lead). With an entire season under his belt, the Iowa native will try and return to his 2012 form, when he was named Aberdeen’s Most Valuable Player.
More on Yacabonis:
The former St. Joseph’s closer looked right at home in his first professional season. Drafted by Baltimore in the 13th round last year, Yacabonis went 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA over 18 games. Impressive for sure, but the way he got started was even more jaw-dropping. Over his first 21 innings, Yacabonis allowed only ONE EARNED RUN. His numbers against Atlantic-10 competition weren’t bad either, as he tallied a 2.02 ERA en route to being named second-team all-conference (I bet even Keys GM Dave Ziedelis, a Temple University grad, would approve).
More on Hobgood:
After rotator cuff surgery cost him all of 2012, Hobgood returned to action in 2013. Splitting the year between Frederick and Low-A Delmarva he went 9-4 with a 4.32 ERA. Once a starter, the 6-4 righty pitched all but one game out of the bullpen last season. With the Keys, he went 2-1 with a 5.58 ERA. One unusual note about Hobgood: his numbers were REMARKABLY better at hitter-friendly Harry Grove (2.93 ERA/15.1 IP) compared to his numbers at all other Carolina League venues (8.22 ERA/15.1 IP).
More on Guzman:
Entering his fifth professional season, Guzman spent all of 2013 at Low-A Delmarva, going 6-6 with a 4.70 ERA. The six victories was tied for third-best on the Shorebirds, while he tossed 111 innings. Signed by Baltimore as an international free agent in 2010, Guzman hails from the baseball-rich town of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. Among those who grew up there: Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano, and Johnny Cueto (just to name a few…).
That’s all for tonight! Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and shake your keys!