Guess Your Keys: Monday, March 24, 2014

Hope you all had a great weekend.

But don’t have the Monday blues baseball fans, only a week before the Major League Baseball season begins… again.

With March 31st just around the corner teams are finalizing their rosters through cuts and trades. In news from camp the O’s made a deal with the Detroit Tigers sending infielder Alex Gonzalez to Detroit for utility man Steve Lombardozzi. The deal comes on the heels of the Tigers loosing shortstop Jose Iglesias possibly for the entire 2014 season. With the veteran Gonzalez the Tigers will have a proven shortstop to fill the void left by Iglesias. As for the O’s they get a useful utility player who could easily make the 25-man roster.

Yesterday Buck Showalter made it official that third baseman Manny Machado will begin the season on the 15-day DL. Ryan Flaherty will be the likely choice to start the season in the hot corner. With the Machado news, it does open up the chance for former Key Jonathan Schoop to make the Opening Day roster. Schoop could even potentially take the starting second baseman spot if he’s able to beat out Jemile Weeks. We will see how it all unfolds this final week of Grapefruit League ball, but for now we still are in questions on who will be in a Keys uniform.

In today’s edition of Guess Your Keys we have a corner infielder and three pitchers including a top prospect for the O’s who last year put up a stat that Delmarva hasn’t seen since 2009.

Gene Escat

courtesy: milb.com

courtesy: milb.com

Vitals

Position: RHP

Age: 24

Height: 6-4

Weight: 190

More on Escat:

Escat left Fresno State in 2012 with 100 strikeouts in 104.2 innings, a 9-2 record and a College World Series Championship. The Orioles drafted the Bulldogs’ right-handed reliever in the 23rd round of the 2012 draft and sent him to short-season Aberdeen.

In 2013, Escat reached Frederick and was a workhorse out of the bullpen. He led the Keys with 41 appearances, putting him just outside the top five in the Carolina League. Numbers-wise, the season was a mixed bag for Escat. The righty ended the season with a 5.65 ERA, but that was largely due to a challenging May, where he recorded an 8.40 ERA over eight outings (15IP/14ER). He split 2012 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva.

Escat was a freshman on the 2008 Fresno State team that won the CWS, making 11 appearances and starting one game that year. A native of Oahu, HI, he lettered in baseball, basketball and water polo for four years at his high school in Hanford, CA.

Matt Price

courtesy: Tim Jacobsen

courtesy: Tim Jacobsen

Vitals

Position: RHP

Age: 24

Height: 6-2

Weight: 215

More on Price:

Price made his professional debut in 2013, splitting time between Frederick an Low-A Delmarva. After posting a 2.70 ERA with the Shorebirds to open the season, the 6-2 right-hander was promoted to the Keys in early June. Over 25 games, he went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA. A player that hit his stride at the end of the season, Price allowed only one earned run over his final 10.2 innings while he walked one and struck out 10.

A fixture in the bullpen during South Carolina’s back-to-back College World Series victories in 2010 and 2011, the Orioles drafted the Gamecocks’ right-hander in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. The 22-year-old saved 43 games for South Carolina in his final three seasons after missing most of the 2009 campaign with a broken right wrist.

Price was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by Arizona, but returned for his junior year, helping the Gamecocks back to the College World Series final for the third straight year. For his career at South Carolina, he struck out 267 batters in 212.1 innings and recorded a 2.76 ERA.A three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection, he was named an All-American in 2011 and was selected to the freshman All-America team in 2010. As a senior in high school, he recorded a 7-4 record and a 0.40 ERA.

Jason Esposito

courtesy: Tim Jacobsen

courtesy: Tim Jacobsen

Vitals

Position: 3B

Age: 23

Height: 6-2

Weight: 210

More on Esposito:

Esposito struggled to find his groove with the Keys in 2013. Splitting time between first and third base, the Vanderbilt product hit .222 over 100 games and committed 22 errors. At the plate he did most of his work in bunches, finishing with multiple hits in 18 games.

The Orioles’ second-round pick in 2011, he signed for $600,000. Esposito played his first pro season at low-A Delmarva in 2012, hitting .209 over 123 games for the Shorebirds.

Originally drafted by Kansas City in the seventh round out of Amity Regional High School in 2008, Esposito turned down a reported $1.5 million deal to go to Vanderbilt. In his final season with the Commodores, he hit .340 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 59 RBIs in 66 games. A closer in high school, Esposito’s fastball touched 90 mph on the radar gun.

 

Parker Bridwell

 courtesy: orioles-nation.com

courtesy: orioles-nation.com

Vitals

Position: RHP

Age: 22

Height: 6-4

Weight: 186

More on Bridwell:

Rated the #19 prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America, Bridwell comes off an up-and-down 2013 campaign, where he went 8-9 with a 4.73 ERA at Low-A Delmarva. After a difficult May where he went 0-4 with a 7.78 ERA, the 6-4 righty bounced back with a solid June. In five games, Bridwell went 3-0 with a 3.77 ERA. At his best from June 16-22, he allowed only one run over 14.2 innings, while he struck out 17.

Armed with a three-pitch repertoire including a fastball that can reach the mid-nineties, Bridwell finished second in the South Atlantic League with 144 strikeouts. It was the most by a Shorebirds pitcher since 2009. A proven workhorse, he led the league in innings pitched (142.2) in 2013, while he finished tied for the SAL lead (114.1) in 2012. He also spent part of 2011 with the Shorebirds.

After garnering the interest of colleges as a quarterback and forgoing a commitment to Texas Tech, Bridwell signed with the Orioles out of his Hereford High School (TX) in 2010 after being selected in the ninth-round of the draft. As a senior, he finished with a 7-2 record on the mound, posting a 2.26 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 65 innings. A three-sport star, he also threw for 2,669 yards and 24 touchdowns and averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds during his senior year.

That will do it for today’s edition of Guess Your Keys.

Till next time. Shake your Keys!

Chris

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