Author Archive

Former Frederick Friday Feature – Mark Gibbs

Welcome to the Keys 2nd annual Former Frederick Friday contest. Throughout the offseason on specific Friday’s, a picture of a former Key is posted. The first person to guess it right will get their name in the running for a Keys Luxury Suite during a game in 2013. The third week into the contest was a tough-y, as shown by the 18 guesses it took Facebook for someone to get the right guy. That is not including two clues either! Mark Gibbs was the lucky guy selected from the Keys photo archives last week, so let’s find out some more about this Keys infielder!

Named as one of the Top 100 high school players after a great career at St. Johns College High School, Gibbs was signed by the Orioles after being the starting short stop for four years at George Mason University. In his time at Mason, Gibbs finished in the top ten in many categories, including hits and games played.

Mark made his organizational debut with the GCL Orioles in 2000, where he played both second base and shortstop. His average was nothing to brag about at .259. That was enough to earn him a trip to Frederick to begin the 2001 season. He played only 42 games in a Keys uniform and hit just .207. None the less, he found himself in Bowie after his time with the Keys, where he hit .228 through 32 games. He saw time at the hot corner with the Baysox as well.

Gibbs began 2002 with the Shorebirds in Low ‘A’ before seeing some time with the Baysox again in Double ‘A’. His stats were not too impressive, hitting .180 in Delmarva and .167 in Bowie. That was his final year in professional baseball.

Currently, Mark Gibbs works at his high school alma mater, St. Johns College HS as the head baseball coach. Although he didn’t get higher than Double ‘A’ in the O’s organization, he endured plenty of success in high school and college baseball and is now giving his knowledge to the players he coaches.

Make sure to “Like” Us on Facebook to have your chance at the next Former Frederick Friday, which will take place on November 30th! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, Keys fans!

Former Frederick Friday Players

November 2nd: Ron Kitchen

November 9th: Scott Conner

November 16th: Mark Gibbs

Former Frederick Friday Feature – Scott Conner

Welcome to the Keys 2nd annual Former Frederick Friday contest. Throughout the offseason on specific Friday’s, a picture of a former Key is posted. The first person to guess it right will get their name in the running for a Keys Luxury Suite during a game in 2013. The second week was another hard one, even though it only took 10 guesses on Facebook for someone to get the right guy. Scott Conner was the mystery man this week, let’s find out some more about this Keys pitcher.

This right-hander, drafted in the 34th round of the 1991 draft by the O’s out of New Mexico Junior College, spent 10 seasons in between the minors and independents. Currently 40 years old, Conner spent his first two season with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, where he went a combined 5-9 with a 3.34 ERAin 24 games (18 starts). After spending all of 1993 with the Orioles Low ‘A’ Albany Polecats, Conner made his Keys debut in 1994. Frederick utilized Conner as a reliever, where he appeared in 53 games, posting a 2-1 record and a solid 3.56 ERA. During his time with the Keys in ’94, Conner also recorded eight saves.

His performance in Frederick was good enough to warrant a promotion to Double-A in 1995, where he spent his whole season with the Baysox. He pitched in 41 games and went 5-1 but held an ERA of 4.17, which wasn’t too great. He spent time with both Frederick and Bowie in 1996, his final season in affiliated baseball.

Conner was injured for the entire 1997 season but returned to the diamond in 1998 to spend four seasons in the independent league. In 1998-99, he pitched for the Bridgeport Bluefish in Connecticut, where he posted a 24-10 record through two seasons as a starter. He moved on to the Winnipeg Goldeyes for 2000-01, which was the end of the road for Conner.

Overall, Scott Conner went 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 65 games for the Keys, ten of which he started. His career stats, including his time in the independents, have him at 51-41 and a 4.27 ERA.

Make sure to “Like” Us on Facebook to have your chance at the next Former Frederick Friday!

Former Frederick Friday Players

November 2nd: Ron Kitchen

November 9th: Scott Conner

Former Frederick Friday Feature – Ron Kitchen

November 2nd kicked off the Keys 2nd annual Former Frederick Friday contest. Throughout the offseason on specific Friday’s, a picture of a former Key is posted. The first person to guess it right will get their name in the running for a Keys Luxury Suite during a game in 2013. The first week was a tough one, as it took over 25 guesses on Facebook for someone to get the right guy. Ron Kitchen was the first player pulled out of the archives, and here is some information on this former Keys farmhand.

Currently 41 years old, Kitchen is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He went to Bethel Park High School before attending Youngstown State University. Listed at 6-1 and a few pounds under 220, Ron was picked up by the Orioles as an undrafted free agent in 1993. He spent his entire first season in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield O’s and the Gulf Coast League O’s. He spent 16 of his 18 games that year in Bluefield, where he posted a 1-2 record and a 5.18 ERA. He began 1994 with the Orioles Low ‘A’ Affiliate at the time, the Albany Polecats. In 18 games there that season, he was much more impressive, going 1-1 with a 0.23 ERA over 38.2 innings. Before joining the Keys in 1995, Kitchen pitched in 14 games for the independent team, the Long Beach Barracudas. While with the Keys in 1995, he appeared in 30 games, going 2-2. He sported an ERA of 7.23.

After 1995, Kitchen found himself pitching for another independent team in Tyler, TX called the Tyler Wildcatters. He appeared in 28 games between 1996-97 for the Wildcatters, going a combined 9-6 with an ERA of 3.82.

Make sure to “Like” Us on Facebook to have your chance at the next Former Frederick Friday!

Schoop & Hoes Keeping Busy in Fall League Play

Although the Minor League Baseball season has been over for a few weeks now, some young players were selected by their big league squad to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

For those of you who have never heard of this, the Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball which operates during the fall in Arizona at five spring training venues. The season runs from early October until the middle of November. It consists of six teams, each of which has prospects from five MLB teams.  Each Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. For example, the Mesa Solar Sox have young players that come from the Orioles system along with the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Tigers. The Phoenix Desert Dogs, Scottsdale Scorpions, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters and the Surprise Saguaros comprise the rest of the teams.

Yesterday, we looked at the pitcher’s representing the O’s, so today we look at the two hitters for the Solar Sox that both saw time in Frederick during the 2011 season.

Part of the 2011 Keys Championship team, O’s #3 prospect Jonathan Schoop, spent his entire 2012 season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox after helping Frederick raise the Mills Cup. His .290 average in 2011 between Delmarva and Frederick was enough to warrant a promotion to Bowie for the now 21-year old phenom. Schoop spent plenty of the season playing second base while his teammate Manny Machado was at shortstop. Schoop hit .245 in his first Double-A season, with 14 homers and 56 RBI. Although he saw most of his reps at 2B, once Machado got the call, he saw time at short as well, which could benefit him in the long run with Manny playing 3B for the O’s. In the Fall League, Schoop is second on the team in batting average at .333 with three doubles, a homer and four RBI. Schoop won the 2011 Brooks Robinson Award as the Baltimore Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Year and was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.

Schoop may have been the 2011 recipient of the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award, but the 2012 winner also finds himself in the Fall League. Called up to the Orioles after a great year in the minors, #12 O’s prospect LJ Hoes only saw one at-bat and after his promotion on September 11th. He saw minimal pinch-running opportunities as well, but that doesn’t take away from what he did in 2012. After spending 2011 split between Frederick and Bowie, Hoes began 2012 with the Baysox, where he posted a solid .265 average over 51 games. He was promoted to Norfolk, where he found more success. In 82 games with the Tides, LJ hit an even .300 with three homers and 38 RBI. He was riding a 20-game hitting streak with Norfolk at one point at well. Despite his great season in Triple-A, he is struggling to find his stroke in the Fall League. Hitting just .130 in 23 at-bats, Hoes has registered just three RBI over six games. It is a small sample size, so there is plenty of time for him to start hitting. Hoes is a local guy, selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of St. John’s High School in Washington, D.C.

To follow the Orioles prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox throughout the Arizona Fall League, click here.

To see profiles on the Orioles pitching prospects in the AFL, click here.

Former Keys Pitchers Hard at Work in AFL

 

Although the Minor League Baseball season has been over for a few weeks now, some young players were selected by their big league squad to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

For those of you who have never heard of this, the Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball which operates during the fall in Arizona at five spring training venues. The season runs from early October until the middle of November. It consists of six teams, each of which has prospects from five MLB teams.  Each Major League team provides seven players who team up to fill the 35-man roster of each team. For example, the Mesa Solar Sox have young players that come from the Orioles system along with the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Tigers. The Phoenix Desert Dogs, Scottsdale Scorpions, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters and the Surprise Saguaros comprise the rest of the teams.

Today we take a look at the pitchers from the Orioles system that are playing in this year’s Fall League.

 

Currently with a record of 3-9, the Orioles AFL team (Mesa Solar Sox), is struggling to find it’s groove when it comes to starting pitching. Out of the five starting pitchers on the team, none have an ERA below 6.00. One of those pitchers is former Frederick Key, Mike Wright. Sporting an 0-2 record and an ERA of 9.00 through three games is not exactly where he would like to be. After an impressive stint to start the 2012 season in Frederick (5-2, 2.91 ERA in eight starts), Wright was called up to Double-A, where he started twelve games, but had an ERA just below five. In the Fall League, Wright gave up six earned runs in his first two starts, which spanned only four innings combined. His latest outing on October 22nd, was his best thus far, giving up one run over three innings while striking out three. Wright may be the only  former Keys starter on the team, but a pair of relievers also find themselves in action for the Solar Sox.

Clay Schrader spent time in 2012 with the Keys before getting called up to Bowie. He went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in Frederick over 35 innings before getting the call. He pitched 23 innings of relief for the Baysox, going 1-0 with a 2.74 ERA. He hasn’t found too much success so far in the AFL, giving up three earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings of work. Schrader has had a good reputation in the O’s system, holding his ERA to a combined 1.72 over the last two seasons.

The other reliever on the Solar Sox is Chris Petrini. He has appeared in five games thus far and has a 4.15 ERA. Since this ERA spans only 4 1/3 innings, Petrini has also pitched two scoreless frames in the AFL. Chris spent time in both Frederick and Bowie this season, where he combined for a 6-4 record and an impressive 2.49 ERA. At the age of 25, Petrini’s 2012 season could give him a spot in the Tides bullpen come 2013. His 1.88 ERA in Frederick and 2.62 ERA in Bowie warrant a promotion or a chance next season.

Tomorrow we look at the Orioles hitting prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

 

Weird & Interesting Off-season Awards

It has been 22 days since the conclusion of the 2012 Frederick Keys season and it is time to give out some awards. Please note that these awards are not from the Orioles or the Keys, they are just little intricacies that we thought should be pointed out!

Ceremonial First Pitch Catcher Award – Jason Gurka – Caught 7 first pitches

Fun fact – When not catching first pitches, Gurka dominated out of the bullpen with a 2.18 ERA through 45.1 innings

Most Games Played Award - OF Jeremy Nowak – 117 games (out of 140)

Fun fact – He also led the team with 127 hits

  Classiest Shoe Award – Aaron Baker –  Showed up to Media Day in Cowboy Boots

Fun fact – Baker got called up to Double-A on July 19th, but still led the Keys in homers (22) and RBI  (72) in 2012

Hit Like A Beast Award  - Ty Kelly – .346 over 263 at-bats

Fun fact – Ty hit .347  with runners in scoring position while with the Keys

Sacrificial Award – IF Michael Rooney – 7 sacrifices

Fun fact –  Rooney hit .300 in 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position

Keys Thievery Award – John Ruettiger – 16 stolen bases

Fun fact – Ruettiger’s uncle was no other than “Rudy” Ruettiger, the inspirational story from Notre Dame football

The Giant Award (tallest player) – Mike Flacco – 6 feet 6 inches

Fun fact – Flacco hit .324 this season against left-handed pitchers

Best Walk-Up Song – Bobby Stevens – Call Me Maybe

Fun fact – Even when Bobby returned to Harry Grove Stadium as a Hillcat, fans enjoyed hearing Call Me Maybe

Most Likely To Succeed – Dylan Bundy

Fun fact – Bundy made his MLB debut on Sept. 23  after going 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA at three minor league levels

Highest Leg Kick Award – Rick Zagone

Fun fact – Zagone’s leg kick was so memorable, it landed him on the cover of the final Game Day Magazine this season

Change of Scenery Award – Kyle Simon

Fun fact – After going 2-8 with a 3.96 ERA as a starter for Frederick, Simon was traded to the Phillies for Jim Thome and went 4-0 with a 1.34 ERA as a reliever in 20 games between Advanced ‘A’ and Double ‘A’.

Keys Apocalyptic Theme Night Nominated

Six Months ‘til the End of the World Night is a Finalist for a Golden Bobblehead Award

Frederick, MD – On June 21st, the Frederick Keys opened gates to the public, who witnessed one of the memorable theme nights of 2012 in Minor League Baseball. Six Months ‘til the End of the World Night was recognized for its creativity and uniqueness when nominees for the yearly Golden Bobblehead Awards were announced on Monday. The Keys theme night is up against six other teams in the nation for the “Best Theme Night” of 2012.

Over 160 submissions were made from over 150 teams that hope to get the honor of being awarded a Golden Bobblehead. Formerly known as the “Best Of” Awards, Golden Bobbleheads are presented to nominees from each of the five categories that include Best Theme Night, Best Charity Event, Best In-Game Promotion, Best Non-Game Day Event and Best Overall Promotion.

Featured in Ben Hill’s weekly promo preview back in June, this theme was a success in the eyes of all that survived. In-game promotions were hosted by zombies and the undead tried to attack contestants. Luckily, Keyote fended off the zombies with roundhouse kicks and karate chops to keep all fans from experiencing any further danger. Two fans got the rare opportunity to participate in a Last Meal Eating Contest. Immunity from zombie attacks for the rest of the evening was on the line for whoever finished a hot dog, pretzel and large order of fries the fastest.

Upon entry into the stadium, fans received a raffle ticket, which gave them a chance to win survival kits and doomsday movies. Survival kits included water bottles, flashlights, toilet seat covers and other such essentials. End of the World Movies included 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Book of Eli and I am Legend. REM’s End of the World as We Know It, The Cranberries’ Zombie and Jay Sean’s 2012 (It Ain’t The End) were just a few of the musical selections on the apocalyptic playlist.

The Golden Bobblehead Awards will be presented to the winners during the annual MiLB Promotional Seminar, held this year in Reno, NV from October 2nd-5th. Nominees are given the chance to present to seminar attendees why their promotion deserves the recognition as the best in their category.

To view the full list of nominees for this year’s Golden Bobblehead awards, click here.

Q & A – “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

How are things currently going for you in the wrestling business?

Well, I have been working back and forth for the WWE – just on Smackdown a a month or so ago and just did a WWE Special involving some Legends of Wrestling that will be coming up in the fall. Things are going well though. Obviously I am not as busy as I used to be, but I am still involved in many events that have those fans from back in the day

Any big events planned for the rest of 2012?

I do a lot of book signings. My book, Hacksaw the Jim Duggan Story, that came out in April signing so promoting that has been one of my bigger projects for sure. Other than that, whenever the WWE calls, I get involved with that and have been doing some independent shows as well. The small shows and it is great to get back to that traditional style of wrestling. The other week I was working with a kid at an event and punched him ten times and you could hear the fans counting with the punches “1, 2, 3, 4, 5..” which is great. It is always nice to go back to that traditional style

What drew you to start going to Minor League Baseball games?

Jonathan Gold out of NY approached me about doing them a year or so ago and he has been setting them up for the most part. I am a fan friendly guy and my character lends well to the atmosphere, whether its getting them to chant U-S-A or getting them pumped with a loud “HOOOOOOOOOOOO”. Getting the chance to meet the fans and interact and thank them is a big part of these events that I enjoy.

What do you enjoy the most about coming to baseball stadiums?

Interacting with the fans is really special. When you are at wrestling events, whether it was back then or even now, it is tough with security to interact with the fans when it comes to security and such. Coming to these events is very unique. It gives me the chance for those traditional fans to come out and be able to talk. Wrestling fans are some of the most loyal in the world, which makes it very enjoyable for me.

How many stadiums do you have on your list for visits this year?

Ive got a total of seven on the year. I have appeared in Lakewood, Hickory, Memphis and thus far and have one in Myrtle Beach later in the year.

Does all the travel between wrestling and minor league events take a toll?

At this stage in the game, I don’t work as much as I used to back with the WWF where I would go 54 days without a day off because of being on contract. I pretty much just work weekends, during the week every once in a while. It’s good because it gives my family a break from me and gives me a break to go on the road. I’ll tell you this much though, flying has lost its glammar. Lifetime mileage is probably over five million when it comes to flying. Back in the old days it was tough but it is definitely not as bad as it could be. Later this year I will be flying from Myrtle Beach to Long Island in one day, so that should be intersting. I will have the family with me though, which will make it a good time.

Anything you want to say to the Keys fans in preparation of your appearance on July 27th?

Let em know to be prepared…should be a great night combo of a pro wrestling and baseball. It is a great tie in with each other. Tell them they can bring an American flag and their 2 x 4’s! It should be a great night with a family friendly atmosphere and I am looking forward to it.

 Make sure to get your tickets to meet Duggan by calling 877.8.GO.KEYS or by clicking HERE

Where Are They Now? – The Championship Infield

After taking a look at where the pitching staff from the 2011 Championship team has gone since last year, it is time to focus on the infield.

Justin Dalles (C) - Dalles is currently one of the two catchers on the roster for the Keys this season along with Joe Oliveira. He started the year in Frederick, then went down to Low-A Delmarva only to return to Frederick a few weeks after that. So far this year, Dalles has a .249 average with two homers and nine RBI through 33 games. He spent 20 games with the Shorebirds, where he hit .329 with four homers and 12 RBI. Selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of South Carolina, Dalles was a part of the 2011 active playoff roster but did not register an at-bat.

Brian Ward (C) – Ward was the #1 catcher for the majority of the season last year for the Keys. Known more for his defensive skills, Ward hit .254 in the regular season last year with seven homers and 32 RBI. Brian did not play the first 50 games of the 2012 season due to a suspension, but has returned to the diamond with the Bowie Baysox, where he holds a .203 average with six RBI over 19 games. During the playoffs with Frederick in 2011, Ward hit .276 with a homer and three RBI.

Aaron Baker (1B) -Acquired from the Pirates last year in the trade that sent Derrick Lee to Pittsburgh, Baker is the top power-hitting prospect in the O’s organization. He started off the season slow in Frederick, but has been on fire as of late. Baker has earned player of the week honors for two straight weeks in the Carolina League. Currently hitting .265 with a league-leading 19 homers, Baker could be on his way to Double-A pretty soon. His 66 RBI’s add more to his case as well. Aaron spent time in Frederick (.386 avg, 2HR, 9RBI) and Bowie (.196 avg, 3 RBI) last season. During the Mills Cup run, Baker hit .226 with a homer and six RBI.

Mike Flacco (1B) – Flacco is also a member of the Keys team this year, but has spent some time in Double-A as well. Serving as both the first baseman and designated hitter, Flacco is hitting .232 this season with six homers and 23 RBI. Through 50 regular season games in 2011, Flacco had a .250 average with five homers and 22 RBI. He struggled during the playoffs last year, hitting just .074 with eight strikeouts.

Manny Machado (SS) – The Orioles #1 prospect spent the entire second half of the season with the Keys last year and currently plays short stop for the Baysox in Double-A. Manny was selected third overall in the 2010 draft and has played in the All-Star Futures Game the past two seasons. Last year with Frederick, he hit .245 with five homers and 26 RBI’s through 63 games. This year with Bowie, he is hitting .264 with seven homers and 48 RBI. As a 20-year old in the Eastern League, Machado is more than likely the future Baltimore short stop. Last year in the playoffs, Manny claimed the MVP Award for the championship series. He hit .344 in the postseason with a homer and nine RBI.

Michael Rooney (IF) -Currently a member of the Baysox, Rooney has also spent time this year with the Keys & Shorebirds. In 2012 with Frederick, Rooney hit just .136 in 34 games with six RBI. He has only played five games between Delmarva and Bowie, but is valuable because of his ability to play most of the infield positions. He only registered one at-bat last year in the playoffs. Rooney was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 draft out of UNC Wilmington.

Jonathan Schoop (2B) -  Schoop is currently playing for the Baysox alongside Manny Machado. Jonathan is undoubtedly the #2 infield prospect for the O’s and has started to heat up in Bowie. Schoop and Machado played as a duo last year for Frederick and have both since moved on to Double-A. Currently hitting .250 with eight homers and 30 RBI’s with the Baysox, Schoop is just 20 years old as well. This season, he was selected to the Eastern League All-Star team. Schoop was signed by the O’s as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Last year with Frederick, he hit .271 with five homers and 37 RBI’s. His playoff average was impressive as well, hitting .314 with a homer and four RBI en route to the Mills Cup title. Schoop and Machado represented the O’s last year in the Future’s Game. 

Bobby Stevens (UT) – A fan favorite throughout his time with the Keys (2009-12), Stevens was picked up by the Braves after leaving the Orioles organization earlier this season. Bobby is currenly a member of the Carolina League though, playing for the Lynchburg Hillcats. As a member of the Keys this year, Bobby hit .276 with six homers and 16 RBI. Stevens saw some time in both Norfolk and Bowie this season before joining the Braves organization in Lynchburg. During the playoff run last year, Bobby hit .212 with four RBI. Stevens was selected in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. Bobby was very well-known for his community work with the Keys, helping kids with baseball camps, reading to kids with Keyote and volunteering for most anything that he could.

Tyler Townsend and Garabez Rosa were both inactive in the playoffs last year but still played with the team in 2011. Townsend has been bothered by hamstring injuries this season, but is on his way back to the diamond. Rosa currently plays short stop for the Keys.

Make sure to stay tuned for the final part of this championship special, where we take a look at the outfielders from last year’s Mills Cup team.

Where Are They Now? – The Championship Pitching Staff

Last year, the Keys hoisted their fourth Mills Cup in franchise history. Big name prospects came through Frederick and helped the team claim the title over Kinston in four games. Struggling to find to the same success that was had in 2011 this season, let’s take a look at the 2011 Keys Championship Roster beginning with the pitching staff.

Ryan Berry – Currently a member of the 2012 team, Berry has seen time in Frederick in 2010 and 2011 as well. This season, he has appeared exclusively out of the bullpen. He has a 1-2 record and a 3.44 ERA with six saves this year after joining the Keys at the end of 2011 for their championship run. Berry was drafted in the 9th round in 2009 by the Orioles. Overall he is 3-4 with a 3.06 in 40 regular season games with the Keys. During the playoffs, Berry pitched 6.1 shutout innings.

Scott Copeland - Copeland was another late season addition to the Keys after spending time with the Low-A Shorebirds for most of the year last season. Scott is currently a member of the 2012 Keys, where he holds a 3-7 record and a 6.15 ERA. Last season, he was more consistent in his 33+ innings with the Keys, going 3-2 and having an ERA of 2.14 down the stretch for Frederick. During the playoffs, Copeland was 2-0 and held a 2.25 ERA.

Sean Gleason – After breaking the Keys single season save record in 2011, Sean went on to Bowie to start 2012. After being used sparingly out of the bullpen, the Baysox tried Gleason out as a starter. Overall, he compiled a 2-1 record but had a 5.97 ERA in Bowie. The Orioles recently lent Gleason to a Mexican League team (Tigres de Quintana Roo), where he has found some early success. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his first five games there. Sean spent time with the Keys from 2009-11, saving 32 games in 2011 – a Keys record. In last year’s postseason, Gleason notched three saves and had a 4.91 ERA.

Jason Gurka – Currently one of the most reliable relievers this season for the Keys, Gurka has pitched himself to a miniscule 2.18 ERA in 2012. After going 1-1 with a 3.18 last year, Jason has continued to find success at the High-A level. Selected in the 15th round out of Angelina College in 2008, Gurka may be seeing a promotion to Bowie if he keeps up his current pace. He only pitched two innings in last year’s playoffs, but gave up no runs.

Randy Henry – Sent to the Rangers as a part of the trade that brought Taylor Teagarden to Baltimore, Henry is still currently a member of the Carolina League.As a member of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans this season, Henry is 5-3 with an impressive 1.41 ERA.  Last season with Frederick, he tallied an 0-3 record and sported a 3.60 ERA.  He was selected to the Carolina League All-Star team this season as well.

Chris Petrini – Currently a member of the Double-A Baysox, Petrini holds a solid 5-1 record in 2012 and a 3.00 ERA. Chris began the season in Frederick, where he went 0-1 but had a 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings. With last year’s team, Petrini was 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA over 47.2 innings to help the Keys pitching staff hold the league’s best ERA. Petrini pitched three innings in last year’s playoffs and held a 3.00 ERA.

Jacob Pettit – Currently in Double-A with the Baysox, Pettit is 6-2 with a 4.39 ERA. He was one of the most impressive stories of 2011. He came into the Keys after posting a 5-4 record and 4.42 ERA in Delmarva last season. As a member of the Keys, Jake mowed down Carolina League opponents en route to a 7-0 record and a 1.62 ERA. His success rolled over to the playoffs, where he was the clear ace, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

Rick Zagone -Zagone has floated around this season, but spent most of his time with the Keys. He currently plays with the Double-A Baysox, where he holds a 1-2 record and 5.00 ERA. As a member of the 2012 Keys to start the year, Rick went 3-1 with an impressive 2.91 ERA. He also spent some time in Triple-A with the Tides, where he went 1-0 with no earned runs surrendered over 11.1 innings. Last year in the playoffs, Zagone was 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA.

Will Startup -Although he was inactive for the postseason, Startup was a fan favorite in Frederick, well known for his pre-game intro video dance. This year, he is a member of the Independent League team, the Sugar Land Skeeters in Texas. He is currently inactive but holds a 3-1 record and a 1.29 ERA. Last year he was 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA as a Frederick Key.

Nick Haughian, Justin Moore, Kenny Moreland, Nathan Moreau and Ryohei Tanaka were also members of the championship pitching staff last season but are no longer with the Orioles organization. Ashur Tolliver and Ryan O’Shea are still with the O’s but have not played this season due to injury.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next part of the 2011 Champion Keys where we take a look at the infielders, including top prospects Manny Machado.

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