Archive for the ‘ world baseball classic ’ Category

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.

Mahoney mashing for Marlins

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Currently in Miami Marlins spring training, Joe Mahoney played in parts of three season for the Keys.

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:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25649891

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.

*Richard Salazar, a four-season former Key, will start for Spain in tomorrow’s exhibition against the Orioles, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko.

*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.

Five for Monday: Keys in the World Baseball Classic (Updated)

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Former Key Jonathan Schoop is one of six former Frederick players currently playing in the World Baseball Classic.

For those who check this space regularly, you probably noticed I didn’t end last week with the usual Five for Friday post. So, let’s do it now, leading off with what was posted Friday, the day the 2013 World Baseball Classic began.

1. Bumbry’s British baseball experience

Steve Bumbry, a Key in 2011 and 2012, spent the end of last September in Germany playing with Great Britain the World Baseball Classic qualifying round. I talked to Bumbry and his mother, who was born in Wales, about a week and a half ago about their experiences overseas. An excerpt from the story is below:

Steve Bumbry had never even been to Europe before.

But there he was last September in Regensburg, Germany, he and a few others on the steps of the Bavarian town’s historic cathedral, belting out Britain’s national anthem “God Save the Queen.”

“Oh, God. Yeah, that happened,” said Bumbry, recalling his rookie initiation with Great Britain’s World Baseball Classic team the night before the Brits’ first WBC qualifier. “We were in the Cathedral square, and we’re (singing) on the steps of this cathedral and people are sitting outside cafes eating, drinking and whatever.”

A Frederick Key in 2011 and 2012, Bumbry batted third and played right field for Great Britain in its three qualifying games at Regensburg’s Armin-Wolf Stadium. The Brits blew out the Czech Republic in their second game, but fell to Canada and Germany and were eliminated from the tournament.

While Bumbry’s on-field performance – he tallied just one hit in nine at-bats ­– wasn’t very memorable, he said his entire experience overseas, from playing baseball on that stage to connecting with a part of his heritage, was unforgettable.

If you want to keep reading, the full story is here.

2. Former Keys in the WBC

(Correction: An earlier version of this post stated there were six former Keys in the WBC. My apologies to Richard Salazar and Danny Figueroa.)

By my count and that of a few more veteran Keys employees, there are right former Frederick Keys playing in the World Baseball Classic this month, representing the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Italy, Canada and the United States. They are:

Jonathan Schoop, 2B (NED) – The Orioles’ top positional prospect is a native of Curacao and batted second while playing second base for the Dutch (1-1) in their first two games. Schoop played 83 games for the Keys in 2010 and 2011 and is hitless with one walk in WBC play. He hit .271 with 37 RBIs in 77 games with the Keys in 2011.

*Here’s an MiLB article on Schoop and the Netherlands.

Allan de San Miguel, C (AUS) – This 2012 Key is a native of Bentley, Australia. He caught the Aussies’ (0-2) second game against Korea (a 6-0 loss), batted ninth and went 0-for-3. As a Key, San Miguel hit .260 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 30 games.

*Schoop and San Miguel’s countries square off at 11:30 this morning.

Paco Figueroa, 2B (ESP) – Now in the Philadelphia organization, Figueroa played 90 games in Frederick in 2006, hitting .284 and stealing 20 bases (though he was caught stealing 13 times). Figueroa’s twin brother, Danny, played center field for the Keys in 2008. Spain’s first game is Friday against Puerto Rico.

Danny Figueroa, OF (ESP) – The other Figueroa brother patrolled center field for the Keys in 2008, stealing 33 bases in 104 games while batting .239. Selected by the Orioles in the 2005 MLB draft, he was released in 2011 after two seasons in double-A Bowie.

Richard Salazar, P (ESP) – A member of the Keys for parts of four seasons, Salazar has been playing independent baseball since 2008. He pitched in 100 games with the Keys over the 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons, finishing with a 7-6 record and a 4.09 ERA. He threw 171.2 innings and struck out 141 batters in his Keys career.

John Mariotti, P (ITA) – No longer in affiliated baseball, Mariotti played for the Keys briefly in 2008 and for all of the 2010 season. In 2010, his last season in the Orioles’ organization, he finished with a 3-6 record, three saves and a 4.08 ERA in 21 games. He played for independent team Les Capitales de Quebec the last two seasons. Italy’s first game is Thursday against Mexico.

*For those of you who read French, here’s an article from Les Capitales announcing Mariotti making the Italian roster.

Adam Loewen, OF (CAN) – A left-handed pitcher drafted by the Orioles with the fourth overall pick of the 2002 MLB draft, Loewen spent all of 2005 with the Keys. He started 27 games and made one relief appearance that year, finishing 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 142 innings. The following March, Loewen started Canada’s 8-6 victory over the U.S. in the first World Baseball Classic. A stress fracture in his left elbow ended his pitching career in 2008 after reaching the majors the prior two seasons and Loewen made the transition to the outfield. He made his major league debut as an outfielder in 2011 with Toronto. Canada’s first game is Friday against Italy.

*I wrote about Loewen’s recent encounter with O’s prospect and former Key Kevin Gausman a week ago.

David Hernandez, P (USA) – Originally on the Mexican roster before he was ruled a generation too far removed from a native-born ancestor to play for Mexico, the 2007 Frederick Key was added to the American roster to replace Cleveland Indians reliever Chris Perez. Now a key cog in the back-end of Arizona’s bullpen, Hernandez started 27 games and made one relief appearance for the Keys, going 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA while striking out 168 batters in 145.1 innings pitched. The U.S. plays its first game Friday against Mexico.

3. Shaking past 1,000 views

Are you tired of Harlem Shake videos? Good, I didn’t think so.

In honor of passing 1,000 views on YouTube, here is our Harlem Shake video once again. Harlem Shake your Keys.

4. Newsletter

Last week’s Keys newsletter is here.

5. On the links

*2012 Key and baseball’s top-pitching prospect Dylan Bundy was scheduled to pitch Sunday, but was held back because of groin spasms, according to Britt Ghiroli.

*2000 Key Brian Roberts is on fire. Another big spring training game Sunday for the O’s second baseman.

*Steve Melewski has 10 questions for O’s fans, three of which directly involve former Keys.

*Also, here are Melewski’s top 10 current O’s. How many do you think are former Keys?

*Just like at Harry Grove Stadium, no smoking at Camden Yards.

*31 days until opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

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