The Keys Try to Snap a Two-Game Slide Saturday

Saturday, April 16, 2016 · Game #10 · Home Game #3

Frederick Keys (4-5) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (6-3)

LHP Chipper Smith (0-1, 10.80) vs. LHP Sean Brady (0-1, 11.25)

                                                                                                                                                              

BIG LEAGUE REHABBERS NOT ENOUGH: Despite facing two big league rehabbers, the Lynchburg Hillcats scored the only runs of the game, as the visitors topped the Frederick Keys 4-0 at Nymeo Field on Friday night. In the game, Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz combined on 6.1 innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out 11 combined batters. Lynchburg plated single markers in the first and fourth innings against Gausman. Yu-Cheng Chang brought in the first run on a bounce out to the right side, after the Hillcats opened the game with the bases loaded. Gausman exited in the fourth for Max Schuh, who allowed a sac-fly to Ivan Castillo, before Matusz entered in the fifth. After recording the first two outs, the lefty gave up a solo homer to Bobby Bradley to make it 3-0. Lynchburg added one more run in the ninth, but the Keys could not respond. On the game, Frederick was limited to just five hits (equaled a season-low).

WRAPPING UP GAUSMAN AND MATUSZ’S OUTING: Kevin Gausman made the start fir the Keys, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits in 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out eight, but had to exit in the fourth after hitting his pitch count. Brian Matusz came on in the fifth and pitched three innings, giving up a run on two hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. It marked the second straight season that Gausman had appeared on an MLB rehab with the Keys, while it was Matusz’s first appearance since 2011. Gausman is rehabbing from right shoulder tendinitis, while Matusz is on the mend from a lower back strain.

BLANKED: Saturday marked the first time in 2016 the Keys had been shutout, and the first opponent shutout since September 6 of last season, the penultimate contest of the 2015 regular season. This year, the orange and black have been limited to a season-low five hits on three separate occasions (including twice in the last five games). In 2015, Frederick was shutout 12 times, and finished with a shutout mark of 8-12.

LITTLE HELP!: Last night the Keys went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, while over the first two games of the homestand, the club is 2-for-14 in that department. Currently, Frederick is last in the CL with men closest to home, batting .183. Although that is a mark the Keys are trying to address, few Carolina League teams have done well with men in scoring position so far. The high-water mark so far is .261 (by Potomac) while half of the league is batting .224 or worse in run scoring opportunities.

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has been a pleasant surprise for the Keys this season. Signed by the Orioles as a free agent out of the independent ranks in 2013, Kneeland leads all Orioles minor league farmhands with a .407 average in eight games. Among Carolina Leaguers, Kneeland is second in hitting, trailing only Potomac’s Khayyan Norfork (.476). Additionally, Kneeland leads the league in on-base percentage (.529) is tied for second in doubles (five) and fifth in slugging (.593). Last year, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs.

WILKERSON GAINING STEAM: After opening the season 0-for-13, Steve Wilkerson has started to find his way. The Georgian has hit safely in four of his last five games and is batting .375 (6-for-last 16) during that time with two doubles and two RBIs. Additionally, Wilkerson has upped his on-base percentage to .371 by earning six walks in his last four contests. He has walked twice in each of his last two games, and is tied for second in the CL in free rides.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Sean Brady makes his second Carolina League start on Saturday, after making his Advanced-A debut on Monday against Potomac. Pitching only four innings, Brady allowed eight runs (five earned) on 11 hits. He walked three and struck out two. To get through four innings, the lefty needed 86 pitches. Only 21 years old, Brady spent all of 2015 at Low-A Lake County. His third professional season, he went 7-12 with a 3.81 ERA in 26 games (all starts). Logging 146.1 innings (a season-high and fourth in the Midwest League) the Floridian gave up 151 hits, walked 29 and struck out 118. He posted better numbers in the first-half, going 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA before the break as opposed to a 2-9 record and a 4.22 ERA afterwards. Selected by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of Ida Baker High School, Brady was a third team All-American and recorded a 0.74 ERA as a high school senior, striking out 90 in 44 innings. Originally committed to play baseball at the University of Florida, Brady signed with Cleveland after receiving an $800,000 signing bonus. Brady hails from Cape Coral, Florida, located in the Fort Myers area and stationed on the Gulf of Mexico. Occasionally known as the “Waterfront Wonderland” Cape Coral contains more than 400 miles of navigable canals, giving the city more miles of canals than anywhere in the world.

Gausman and Matusz are Coming to Town!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys continue their four-game series on Friday night against the Lynchburg Hillcats, while former Keys Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz will be be in attendance! Gausman is scheduled to start, while Matusz is slated to come out of the bullpen. Julian Merryweather a right-hander for the Hillcats makes the start.

Tonight, the team will be wearing special jerseys as part of Be Seen in Green Night. Jerseys will be auctioned off online after the game and proceeds will benefit the Living Legacy Foundation.

First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m tonight and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Full notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, April 15, 2016 · Game #9 · Home Game #2

Frederick Keys (4-4) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (5-3)

RHP Kevin Gausman (0-0, –) vs. RHP Julian Merryweather (1-0, 0.00)

                                                                                                                                                              

BULLPEN FALTERS AS HILLCATS COME BACK: The Lynchburg Hillcats scored seven runs, thanks in part to five walks, as the visitors earned an 8-6 come-from-behind win on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. In the game, Keys pitchers walked eight and gave away a four-run lead. It was the club’s third straight loss in a home opener. Trailing 5-1, Lynchburg batted around in the eighth inning. Tanner Scott walked the bases loaded to start, before David Richardson was summoned from the bullpen. Anthony Santander and Bobby Bradley followed with two-run doubles to tie the game, before Mike Papi hit a sac-fly to give the Hillcats their first advantage since the second. An Anthony Caronia sac-fly tied the game in the home eighth, but Lynchburg grabbed the lead back in the ninth. Only one strike away from ending the inning, Tanner Chleborad plunked Claudio Bautista, while Santander and Yu-Cheng Chang capitalized with two more run scoring doubles.

WALK THIS WAY: The eight walks on Thursday night were a season-high by Keys pitching (eclipsing the previous high-water mark of five). Entering the home opener, Keys pitching had the second-fewest walks in the league (21). Tanner Scott walked half of the eight, and threw just nine of his 31 pitches for strikes in one-plus inning. In total, six of the eight Lynchburg walks came in the final three innings.

GAUSMAN AND MATUSZ JOIN THE KEYS ON REHAB: Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz are scheduled to continue their rehab assignments with the Keys on Friday night. Gausman is scheduled to start, while Matusz will follow. A member of the Keys in 2012, Gausman is rehabbing from right shoulder tendinitis. Last season, he made two appearances with Frederick (one at Nymeo Field), also while on the mend from right shoulder tendinitis. In one rehab outing with the Baysox last Sunday, Gausman pitched two innings and allowed an unearned run on four hits. Matusz started on Monday for Bowie, and gave up six runs on seven hits in one inning. It was his third game with the Baysox. A midseason all-star with Frederick in 2009 and the winner of the Jim Palmer Prize that season, Matusz last pitched for Frederick in 2011, while recovering from a left intercostal strain.

REYES EL REY: Jomar Reyes turned in another strong night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored. An opposite field blast in the fourth, the longball was Reyes’ first at the Advanced-A level and his first since last August 22 with Low-A Delmarva. Additionally, Reyes added a sixth inning single following a 10-pitch at-bat. Through his first eight games, the 19-year-old is hitting .310 with a home run, four RBIs, a triple, two doubles and nine runs scored. He is tied for second in the league in runs scored (trailing Potomac’s Drew Ward who has 11).

BIG INNING: In games this season, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning. Through seven games, Frederick has turned in two different four-run innings, three three-run innings and three two-run innings. Those six innings account for 61% of the team’s scoring this year.

WHERE THEY RANK: Individually, the Keys have been led by Cam Kneeland who is third in the Carolina League with a .435 batting average. He is also second in on-base percentage (.567) and tied for third in doubles (four). Josh Hart is tied for the CL home run lead (two), and Jay Gonzalez is tied for second in stolen bases (six), while Jomar Reyes is tied for second in runs scored (nine). On the mound, Matthew Grimes is tied for the lead in strikeouts (six), third in innings pitched (11) and fourth in ERA (0.82).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has gotten off to as strong a start as anyone in the Carolina League. Through his first seven games, he is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with four RBIs, four doubles and a stolen base. He has multiple hits in four of his last six games, while he has reached in 17 of his first 30 plate appearances. Entering his first Advanced-A season, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs. He fared best in the second-half, batting .311 in 68 contests, more than 100 points higher than before the all-star break.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Julian Merryweather makes his second Advanced-A start on Friday night. The right-hander earned a win in his Carolina League debut last week, throwing six innings of shutout baseball against Winston-Salem. He scattered six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. Last season, Merryweather pitched for Low-A Lake County. In 21 games (four starts) he went 2-3 with one save and a 4.08 ERA. Over 70.2 innings, he walked 12 and struck out 69, while opponents batted .299 against him. As a reliever he posted a 3.91 ERA, while he had a 4.43 mark as a starter. Selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, Merryweather attended Oklahoma Baptist University. As a senior, he went 12-3 with a 1.07 ERA while striking out 132. That year he was named an NAIA All-American. He also attended a junior college for two years prior to transferring to Oklahoma Baptist. Currently, Oklahoma Baptist is in year two of the NCAA candidacy process and is competing within the NCAA and the Great American conference. Merryweather throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

The Home Opener is Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The team kicks off its home schedule tonight against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Nymeo Field. The team returns to the friendly confines following a 4-3 road swing through Myrtle Beach and Salem.

Right-hander Matthew Grimes makes the start for the Keys and is coming off his first Advanced-A win. He will be opposed by lefty Luis Lugo, who was also victorious in his first start. You may want to read about some of the interesting games he has pitched against the Keys below…

First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m from Nymeo Field, while our pregame show gets started at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Thursday, April 14, 2016 · Game #8 · Home Game #1

Frederick Keys (4-3) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (4-3)

                        RHP Matthew Grimes (1-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (1-0, 0.00)                                                                                                                                                             

KEYS DON’T LOOK BACK AFTER THREE-RUN FIFTH: Jomar Reyes posted three RBIs, while Michael Zouzalik stranded the tying run on second base in the ninth, as the Frederick Keys defeated the Salem Red Sox 5-3 on Wednesday afternoon at LewisGale Field. The win was the Keys second straight and pushed the team back over .500. John Means picked up his first Carolina League victory, tossing five innings of two-run baseball. The Keys scored four times over their first three innings, thanks in part to a Jomar Reyes two-run single and a Josh Hart solo homer. However Salem chipped away, pulling within a run in the seventh, before a Reyes sac-fly restored the Keys lead to two. In the ninth, Salem threatened, put the tying run at second, but Zouzalik got a strikeout and a walk to end the game.

KING REYES: Jomar Reyes wrapped up his first Carolina League roadtrip in style on Wednesday morning. Ending 1-for-3, the 19-year-old recorded the first three RBIs of his Keys career. It was the most RBIs Reyes had delivered in a game since August 22, 2015 against Low-A Greenville (also a Red Sox affiliate) when he posted four. In seven games, the Keys third baseman is hitting .280 (7-for-25) with two doubles, a triple, seven runs scored and five walks. He has at least one hit in all but one contest. Currently, Reyes is third in the CL in runs scored.

HOME OPENERS: The Frederick Keys kickoff their home schedule on Thursday night against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Following four games against the Hillcats, the orange and black will welcome in Wilmington for three games. The Keys have dropped each of their last two openers, falling 13-0 last year to Winston-Salem and 7-0 the year prior to Carolina. The last win in an opener came in 2013, when the Keys defeated Salem 11-1 behind four RBIs from Trent Mummey and three from Brenden Webb. In their last 10 openers at home, the Keys are 5-5, overall the team is 14-14 in home openers (includes one doubleheader) and 1-2 in home openers against Lynchburg in franchise history.

BIG INNING: In games this season, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning. Through seven games, Frederick has turned in two different four-run innings, two three-run innings and three two-run innings. Those six innings account for 63% of the team’s scoring this year.

WHERE THEY RANK: Individually, the Keys have been led by Cam Kneeland who is fifth in the Carolina League in batting average. He is also third in on-base percentage (.538). Jay Gonzalez is tied for second in stolen bases (six), while Jomar Reyes is third in runs scored. Mitch Horacek is tied for second in innings pitched (10).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has gotten off to as strong a start as anyone in the Carolina League. Through his first six games, he is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with four RBIs, four doubles and a stolen base. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games, while he has reached in 14 of his first 26 plate appearances. Entering his first Advanced-A season, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs. He fared best in the second-half, batting .311 in 68 contests, more than 100 points higher than before the all-star break. This series promises to be a fun one for Kneeland, who grew up a Red Sox fan and attended UMass-Lowell.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Luis Lugo makes his second start of the season on Thursday and is the No. 25 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America. In his season debut last Saturday against Winston-Salem, Lugo earned the win, allowing an unearned run on three hits in 5.2 innings. He walked one and struck out five. The left-hander spent all of 2015 in Lynchburg, going 8-10 with a 4.15 ERA in 25 starts. Logging 125.2 innings, Lugo allowed 129 hits, walked 52 and struck out 119, while opponents batted .266 against him. He finished third in the league in strikeouts and second in highest SO/9IP ratio among starters (8.52). In three starts against the Keys last season, the Venezuelan went 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA. Two of those outings were particularly memorable. Facing the orange and black nearly one year ago (April 13, 2015), Lugo was the starting pitcher in a 16-inning marathon between the two sides (it ended with the Keys winning 5-4). It was one inning short of the longest in franchise history. One other on August 20, came at Lynchburg and featured a seven-inning no-hitter by Keys pitcher Mikey O’Brien. Signed by the Indians as a 16-year-old on February 28, 2011, Lugo made his debut with Cleveland in the Dominican Summer League at 17 years old. To learn English, Lugo taught himself by using an online program called “Ingles Para Todos.”

Breakfast and Baseball

Good Morning (seriously),

We’ve got baseball from the Roanoke Valley! The Keys wrap up their seven-game roadtrip with an 11 a.m game against the Salem Red Sox. This will be the team’s first rubber game of the year, after the orange and black earned a win on Tuesday night.

Lefty John Means takes the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by fellow southpaw Daniel McGrath. First pitch is at 11:05 a.m, pre-game show kicks off at 10:50 a.m on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys..com.

So plug in the headphones, pour some coffee and enjoy a little break from your work day. Talk to you on the radio shortly!

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 · Game #7 · Road Game #7

Frederick Keys (3-3) vs. Salem Red Sox (3-3)

                         LHP John Means (0-0, 2.25) vs. LHP Daniel McGrath (1-0, 4.50)                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS DON’T LOOK BACK AFTER THREE-RUN FIFTH: The Frederick Keys answered a three-run Salem Red Sox fourth, with a decisive three-run fifth, to top their CL foe 6-4 on Tuesday night at LewisGale Field. In the game, Steve Wilkerson and Cam Kneeland tallied three RBIs apiece, while Erick Salcedo stole three bases and scored two runs. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Frederick answered against Sox righty Jamie Callahan. Salcedo opened the inning with a walk and stole second, before Jay Gonzalez earned a free ride as well. Wilkerson followed with a single to left which scored Salcedo, but was misplayed by Mike Meyers and allowed Gonzalez to score. One hitter later, Kneeland singled home Richardson to make it 5-3. Frederick stretched the lead to a field goal in the eighth, before Salem added a run in their last at-bats.

THE NEED FOR SPEED: Entering Tuesday, the Keys high-water mark for stolen bases was two. That changed radically, as the orange and black stole a season-high five bags. Erick Salcedo led the way with three swipes, while Jay Gonzalez and Cam Kneeland each added one. The three swipes tied a career-high for Salcedo, who also accomplished the feat in August 2011 with the DSL Angels. Salem also shredded the basepaths, swiping six bags. Three came by Danny Mars and the other two were by Yoan Moncada. In total, basestealers went 11-for-12 in steal attempts Tuesday.

BIG INNING: In games this season, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning. Through six games, Frederick has turned in two different four-run innings, two three-run innings and two two-run innings. Those six innings account for 64% of the team’s scoring this year.

WHERE THEY RANK: Individually, the Keys have been led by Cam Kneeland who is tied for fourth in hitting (.412) and Jay Gonzalez (.389) who places ninth. Gonzalez is also third in stolen bases (five) while Kneeland is tied for tops in on-base percentage (.545). Jomar Reyes is second in runs scored (seven) and tied for second in walks (five).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has gotten off to as strong a start as anyone in the Carolina League. Through his first five games, he is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with four RBIs, three doubles and a stolen base. He has multiple hits in three of his last four games, while he has reached in 12 of his first 21 plate appearances. Entering his first Advanced-A season, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs. He fared best in the second-half, batting .311 in 68 contests, more than 100 points higher than before the all-star break. This series promises to be a fun one for Kneeland, who grew up a Red Sox fan and attended UMass-Lowell.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

SCOUTING THE RED SOX:  In 2015, Salem finished 66-73 overall, finishing last in the Carolina League South Division. After a good first half where the team placed second with a 38-32 mark, the second-half did not go as planned, with the Sox going 28-41. Head-to-head, the Keys and Red Sox split the 2015 season series (8-8). Among returners, Anthony Caronia fared the best, hitting .351 off Sox pitching in 12 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Daniel McGrath makes his second start of the season on Wednesday morning. Pitching the season opener against Carolina, the southpaw earned the victory, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out one while throwing 71 pitches. A member of the Red Sox rotation last year, McGrath was limited to 17 starts due to nearly two months on the disabled list (May 14-July 10). At the time he got hurt, McGrath had a 1.80 ERA and was limiting opponents to a .119 average. With Salem, he went 4-6 with a 3.84 ERA and pitched 84.1 innings. He walked 37, struck out 71 and held opponents to a .227 average (lefties hit just .171). McGrath faced the Keys only once and threw four scoreless innings of hitless baseball (he received a no-decision). The Aussie spent 2014 at Low-A Greenville where he was 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 19 starts. Originally from Austrailia, McGrath was signed by Boston as a minor league free agent in February 2012. Signed as a 17-year-old, McGrath received offers from 15 MLB teams, but chose the Red Sox since he used to watch games at Fenway Park with his American-born mother, Dale. Despite signing in 2012, the lefty did not debut until the following season so he could finish high school. He received a reported signing bonus of $400,000. McGrath throws a mid-high 80s fastball, a circle changeup and a curveball.

Keys Try to Buck a Two-Game Slide

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys play the middle game of three against the Salem Red Sox on Tuesday night at LewisGale Field in Salem. Left-hander Mitch Horacek starts for the Keys and will be opposed by Salem southpaw Dedgar Jimenez.

First pitch is at 7:05 p.m and you can catch the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source starting at 6:50. Some notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 · Game #6 · Road Game #6

Frederick Keys (2-3) vs. Salem Red Sox (3-2)

LHP Mitch Horacek (0-1, 5.40) vs. LHP Dedgar Jimenez (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

BENINTENDI PACES RED SOX TO WIN IN SERIES OPENER:  Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs and scored a fourth as the Salem Red Sox defeated the Frederick Keys 5-1 on Monday night at LewisGale Field. Ending the night 3-for-5, Benintendi paced a Salem offense which ended with 14 hits. Frederick got on the scoreboard first, after a Steve Wilkerson triple and an Aderlin Rodriguez RBI groundout. Salem grabbed the lead for good in the fifth following an RBI bounce out by Mauricio Duban and a single by Benintendi, before tacking on three more in the seventh. Two came on a Benintendi triple. Offensively, Frederick was limited to just one hit in the last five innings and none in their final four trips to bat.

TRYING TO SLOW DOWN SALEM:  On Monday, Keys pitching allowed a season-high 14 hits. This eclipsed the previous high-water mark of 11 last Friday at Myrtle Beach. In the game all but Nick Longhi came up with a hit, while the home team had two or more hits in each of their last four innings. Often jumping on pitches early in counts, Salem batters had 17 different at-bats of two pitches or less. Through five contests, the Red Sox lead the league in hitting (.296), hits (48) and are second in RBIs (22).

BIG INNING/OFFENSIVE LEADERS: In games this season, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning. Through five games, Frederick has turned in two different four innings, a three-run inning and a two run inning. Those four innings account for 62% of the team’s scoring this year. Individually, the Keys have been led by Cam Kneeland who ranks third in the CL in hitting (.417) and Jay Gonzalez (.400) who places seventh. Gonzalez is also tied for second in stolen bases (four) while Kneeland is second in on-base percentage (.588), tied for second in doubles (three) and fourth in slugging (.667). Aderlin Rodriguez is tied for second in RBIs (five) and fourth in total bases (12), while Jomar Reyes is second in runs scored (seven) and tied for second in walks (five).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland enjoyed as good of a first series as any Keys player. In three games, the Massachusetts native hit .455 (5-for-11) with three doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. Currently he has a 1.255 OPS and has reached base nine times in 17 plate appearances. On Monday, he finished with three walks for the first time in his pro career. Entering his first Advanced-A season, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs. He fared best in the second-half, batting .311 in 68 contests, more than 100 points higher than before the all-star break. This series promises to be a fun one for Kneeland, who grew up a Red Sox fan and attended UMass-Lowell.

SHORT HITTING STREAK CONCLUDES: Jomar Reyes concluded his mini four-game hitting streak on Monday, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. In his first five Carolina League games, the Dominican is hitting .235 (4-for-17) with a triple, a double and five walks as well as a .409 on-base percentage. The Carolina League’s youngest player at 19 years and 52 days, Reyes is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.”

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

SCOUTING THE RED SOX:  In 2015, Salem finished 66-73 overall, finishing last in the Carolina League South Division. After a good first half where the team placed second with a 38-32 mark, the second-half did not go as planned, with the Sox going 28-41. Head-to-head, the Keys and Red Sox split the 2015 season series (8-8). Among returners, Anthony Caronia fared the best, hitting .351 off Sox pitching in 12 games. So far in 2016, Salem is 2-2 while the Red Sox are tied for the league lead in hitting (.266) and are tied for the top mark in runs (20) and RBIs (18). Salem also posses the top three prospects in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America in Yoan Moncada (No.1), Rafael Devers (No. 2) and Andrew Benintendi (No. 3).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:  Dedgar Jimenez makes his first Advanced-A start on Tuesday night. The left-hander is the second-youngest member of the Red Sox (trailing Rafael Devers who is 19) and is the eighth-youngest player in the Carolina League. Jimenez spent all of 2015 with Low-A Greenville where he went 9-9 with a 4.43 ERA in 23 starts. Finishing with a career-high 126 innings, the Venezuelan allowed 160 hits, walked 21 and struck out 64. Opponents batted .313 against him (right-handers hit .322). He allowed the most hits in the South Atlantic League, but did issue the second-fewest unintentional walks per nine innings among league starters (1.50). Jimenez was more effective before the all-star break (3.59 ERA) than after (5.03 ERA). His best month came in June, where he recorded a 2.73 ERA in five starts. In his career, Jimenez has exhibited good command, walking just 1.5 per nine innings (235.1 IP/38). Before joining Greenville, Jimenez was named the organization’s Latin Program Pitcher of the Year for two years straight. With the GCL Red Sox in 2014, Jimenez was 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 11 contests. Signed by Boston as an international free agent in July 2012, Jimenez is from Acarigua, VZ (not to be confused with Tacarigua, VZ, the hometown of Keys pitcher Ivan Hernandez which is located just over six hours to the east on the coast). Jimenez throws a fastball (four-seam and two-seam), a curveball and a changeup.

The Keys Continue in Salem!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys continue their seven-game roadtrip on Monday night in Salem, as the team gets ready to play three against the Red Sox. Tanner Chleborad takes the mound for the Keys, while the right-hander will be opposed by fellow righty Ben Taylor.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and the broadcast starts at 6:50 p.m on 1450 AM The Source. Today’s notes are below!

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

Monday, April 11, 2016 · Game #5 · Road Game #5

Frederick Keys (2-1) vs. Salem Red Sox (1-2)

                    RHP Tanner Chleborad (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Ben Taylor (0-0, –)                                                                                                                                                             

LATE RALLY NOT ENOUGH, KEYS SPLIT SERIES: The Frederick Keys put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the top of the ninth, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were able to thwart a late rally by the orange and black to win 7-5 on Sunday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. With the setback, the Keys and Pelicans split the four-game affair. In the ninth, Frederick loaded the bases against Daury Torrez, prompting a Myrtle Beach pitching change. Pitching for the first time since 2014, Jose Rosario went to a full count against Jonah Heim, but the Keys catcher flied out to right to end the game. Frederick claimed the initial lead in the fourth, following a three-run homer by Austin Wynns. However the home team took the lead for good one inning later. After Myrtle Beach loaded the bases against Chipper Smith, Cael Brockmeyer walked to force in the first Pelicans run, before Shawon Dunston Jr. cleared the bases with a triple.

HELPED BY THE BIG INNING: In games this season, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning. Through four games, Frederick has turned in two different four innings, a three-run inning and a two run inning. Those four innings account for 65% of the team’s scoring this year. Currently, the orange and black are tied for first in the league with runs scored (along with Lynchburg, Salem and Potomac). Individually, the Keys have been led by Aderlin Rodriguez who paces the league in total bases (12) and is tied for the lead in hits (six), RBIs (four) and extra-base hits (three). Austin Wynns is also tied for the CL RBI lead, Jomar Reyes leads the league in runs scored (seven), while Cam Kneeland is tied for the lead in extra-base hits (three), and second in batting average (.455) and slugging percentage (.727).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland enjoyed as good of a first series as any Keys player. In three games, the Massachusetts native hit .455 (5-for-11) with three doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. He has multi-hit efforts in consecutive games, to go with a .727 slugging percentage and a 1.266 OPS. In his first Advanced-A season, Kneeland played 112 games for Low-A Delmarva in 2015 batting .267 with six home runs and 63 RBIs. He fared best in the second-half, batting .311 in 68 contests, more than 100 points higher than before the all-star break. This series promises to be a fun one for Kneeland, who grew up a Red Sox fan and attended UMass-Lowell.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

NOT NOMAR, JOMAR: Jomar Reyes makes his Keys debut in 2016 and is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.” A midseason South Atlantic League All-Star at Low-A Delmarva last season, Reyes hit .278 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 84 games while missing time from June 15-July 25 with a thumb injury. Particularly good with runners in scoring position, the third baseman batted .304 with runners closest to home.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

SCOUTING THE RED SOX:  In 2015, Salem finished 66-73 overall, finishing last in the Carolina League South Division. After a good first half where the team placed second with a 38-32 mark, the second-half did not go as planned, with the Sox going 28-41. Head-to-head, the Keys and Red Sox split the 2015 season series (8-8). Among returners, Anthony Caronia fared the best, hitting .351 off Sox pitching in 12 games. So far in 2016, Salem is 2-2 while the Red Sox are tied for the league lead in hitting (.266) and are tied for the top mark in runs (20) and RBIs (18). Salem also posses the top three prospects in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America in Yoan Moncada (No.1), Rafael Devers (No. 2) and Andrew Benintendi (No. 3).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:  Ben Taylor makes his Advanced-A debut on Monday night, after splitting 2015 between Short-Season Lowell and Low-A Greenville. Combined between the two stops, Taylor went 0-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 14 games (10 starts). He logged 55 innings, surrendered 51 hits, walked 17 and struck out 54. The bulks of his time came with Greenville, where he was 0-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 10 starts after a July 18 promotion. Right-handers batted only .200 against him. Selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, Taylor attended South Alabama and was named to the All-Sun Belt First Team as a senior. As a senior, he was 6-3 with a 1.48 ERA and led the team with seven saves. He allowed only 26 hits in 42.2 innings and struck out 68. Taylor transferred to South Alabama after beginning his career at Chattahoohee Valley Community College. A school that is currently in the NCAA Top 25 (and No.23 according to Baseball America) the Jaguars baseball team is 15-0 to start Sun Belt play and has won 13 consecutive home games. Alumni include David Freese, Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez. Taylor throws a fastball in the low-90s, a slider and a changeup.

The Keys Shoot for a Series Win

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys wrap up their series with the Pelicans on Sunday at 3:05 p.m from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. Left-hander Chipper Smith makes his Keys debut and will be opposed by right-hander Erick Leal.

Today’s notes are below, while you can catch the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

 

Sunday, April 10, 2016 · Game #4 · Road Game #4

Frederick Keys (2-1) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-2)

LHP Chipper Smith (0-0, –) vs. RHP Erick Leal (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS BLANK BIRDS: The Frederick Keys used a big inning and outstanding pitching to earn a 6-0 shutout of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. In the game, the game the quartet of Matthew Grimes, Max Schuh, Ivan Hernandez and Jimmy Yacabonis combined to six-hit the home team as the Keys moved past the .500 mark for the first time in 2016. Frederick’s big inning was the first, as the team plated four and sent eight to bat. After a Steve Wilkerson sacrifice bunt scored Jay Gonzalez, Aderlin Rodriguez hit a titanic homer to left to make it 3-0. Later in the inning, Jomar Reyes tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Frederick added single markers in the third and fifth stanzas, but Myrtle Beach never responded, as Grimes earned his first CL win. The right-hander worked five innings, struck out seven and scattered four hits.

FIRING BLANKS: Frederick posted its first shutout of the season on Saturday, the club’s first since last August 25 at Potomac. In 2015, the orange and black earned eight shutout wins, the fewest by any CL team. Keys’ pitching has gone 10 innings without allowing a run and has a staff ERA of 2.77 through the first three games. Only Potomac (who has played one fewer game) has fared better, tallying a 1.00 ERA (18 IP/2ER).

RODRIGUEZ STAYS RED HOT: Aderlin Rodriguez has been the talk of the Grand Strand in his last two games. On Saturday, the Keys cleanup man went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. He finished a single shy of the cycle. Through his first three games, Rodriguez is batting .429 (6-for-14) with a homer, triple, double, four RBIs and three runs scored. He has an .857 slugging percentage and a 1.286 OPS. He leads the CL in hits and is tied for the lead in RBIs. Formerly a member of the Mets and Mariners organizations, Rodriguez was signed as a free agent this January. A former Mets prospect, the first baseman played in the Arizona Fall League in 2013 for Scottsdale, where he was teammates with Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

NOT NOMAR, JOMAR: Jomar Reyes makes his Keys debut in 2016 and is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.” A midseason South Atlantic League All-Star at Low-A Delmarva last season, Reyes hit .278 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 84 games while missing time from June 15-July 25 with a thumb injury. Particularly good with runners in scoring position, the third baseman batted .304 with runners closest to home.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 10 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

ROUNDING OUT THE COACHING STAFF: Not the only newcomer on this year’s coaching staff, Erik Pappas takes over as the Keys hitting coach. This is the 49-year-old’s first year with the Orioles organization after spending the previous three seasons on the Cardinals minor league staff. He spent 2014-15 at Double-A Springfield. A former sixth overall pick by the California Angels in 1984, Pappas played three seasons in the Major Leagues. Kennie Steenstra embarks on his fourth straight season as Frederick’s pitching coach and fifth overall with the orange and black. His 12th overall on the Orioles MiLB staff, Steenstra pitched 11 minor league seasons for seven different organizations. He reached the Major Leagues in 1998, appearing in four games for the Cubs. Ramon Sambo joins the Keys as a field coach, his first year with the team. A 10-year minor league player, Sambo has six years of managerial experience with Orioles farm clubs. Brian Guzman begins his second season as the Keys trainer, while Chris Cecere enters his fifth as strength and conditioning coach.

SCOUTING THE PELICANS: Myrtle Beach enters 2016 as the defending Carolina League champions, the Birds first since 2000. The Pelicans won the title by sweeping Wilmington in the Mills Cup Championship Series. The Pelicans finished last season with an 81-57 record, the top overall mark in the CL. Head-to-head, Frederick and Myrtle Beach split the season series (8-8), while the Keys hit .259 off Birds pitching and recorded a 4.47 ERA. The Pelicans hit .279 against Keys arms and boasted a 3.42 ERA. Among returners, Josh Hart fared best, batting .291 with four stolen bases. Myrtle Beach played an exhibition game on Wednesday night, defeating Low-A Charleston (Yankees) 2-0 in the “Battle of the Beaches” a meeting of two teams separated by only 95 miles. In the contest, Jake Stinnett and Tommy Thorpe combined to strike out 15 while the River Dogs did not record a hit until the eighth inning.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Erick Leal makes his first Carolina League start on Sunday, becoming the third straight Pelicans starter to make his Advanced-A debut. The right-hander spent all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 10-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) with the Cubs. Over 128.2 innings, he gave up 138 hits, walked 32 and struck out 86, while opponents batted .273 against him. Perhaps the highlight of his season came on August 4 when he threw nine hitless innings against Kane County. He was denied the seventh no-hitter in team history though, as the Cubs lost in 12 innings 1-0. At his best after the All-Star break, Leal went 4-4 with a .282 ERA and held opponents to a .234 average (in the first half his ERA was almost five, and opponents batted .312). Originally signed by the Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2011, Leal was traded to Cubs from the Diamondbacks along with right-hander Jesus Castillo for outfielder Tony Campana in February 2013. He is originally from Valencia, Venezuela, the same hometown as Keys shortstop Erick Salcedo.

Keys Back at it on Saturday Night From the Grand Strand

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys are riding high after a 7-5 victory on the Grand Strand Friday night. In the game, the orange and black benefited from a four-run sixth where the team batted around against three different pitchers.

Tonight, right-hander Matthew Grimes makes his Advanced-A debut for Frederick. The Georgia Tech product enjoy a good first full season at Low-A Delmarva. He will be opposed by another pitcher making his Carolina League debut in Trevor Clifton.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m from the Grand Strand and the broadcast gets underway at 6:50 0n 1450 AM The Source. I’ll do my best to keep you company and not rub things in about the weather.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Saturday, April 9, 2016 · Game #3 · Road Game #3

Frederick Keys (1-1) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-1)

RHP Matthew Grimes (0-0, –) vs. RHP Trevor Clifton (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS EARN FIRST WIN OF 2016: The Frederick Keys batted around in the sixth inning, scoring four times en route to a 7-5 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. In the contest, the orange and black went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while seven of the team’s nine starters came up with a hit. After an Anthony Caronia single tied the game in the fifth, the Keys burst through one inning later. After a Jay GonzalezSteve Wilkerson double steal, Aderlin Rodriguez crushed a two-run triple to center to make it 3-1. Jimmy Bosco added to the total with an RBI single, before Jomar Reyes scored on a wild pitch. Myrtle Beach scored the next three runs and pulled within one on two occasions, but could not bring home the tying run in the ninth.

A LITTLE HELP?: After going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, the Keys finished 5-for-13 in that department Friday. As a team in 2015, the orange and black hit .248 with runners closest to home. That mark equaled the worst in the Carolina League (Winston-Salem also hit .248). Among Keys returners, Austin Wynns fared best, batting .273.

ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE: Jay Gonzalez has gotten off to a hot start at the plate, going 4-for-8 with a triple, a double an RBI, two runs scored and seven total bases. In two games, he is tied for the top batting average in the Carolina League. Additionally, the Floridian has put his speed to good use, stealing a pair of bases. Promoted to Frederick on July 3 last year from Low-A Delmarva, Gonzalez hit a combined .268 and led all O’s farmhands with 34 steals.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25..

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

NOT NOMAR, JOMAR: Jomar Reyes makes his Keys debut in 2016 and is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.” A midseason South Atlantic League All-Star at Low-A Delmarva last season, Reyes hit .278 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 84 games while missing time from June 15-July 25 with a thumb injury. Particularly good with runners in scoring position, the third baseman batted .304 with runners closest to home.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 10 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

ROUNDING OUT THE COACHING STAFF: Not the only newcomer on this year’s coaching staff, Erik Pappas takes over as the Keys hitting coach. This is the 49-year-old’s first year with the Orioles organization after spending the previous three seasons on the Cardinals minor league staff. He spent 2014-15 at Double-A Springfield. A former sixth overall pick by the California Angels in 1984, Pappas played three seasons in the Major Leagues. Kennie Steenstra embarks on his fourth straight season as Frederick’s pitching coach and fifth overall with the orange and black. His 12th overall on the Orioles MiLB staff, Steenstra pitched 11 minor league seasons for seven different organizations. He reached the Major Leagues in 1998, appearing in four games for the Cubs. Ramon Sambo joins the Keys as a field coach, his first year with the team. A 10-year minor league player, Sambo has six years of managerial experience with Orioles farm clubs. Brian Guzman begins his second season as the Keys trainer, while Chris Cecere enters his fifth as strength and conditioning coach.

SCOUTING THE PELICANS: Myrtle Beach enters 2016 as the defending Carolina League champions, the Birds first since 2000. The Pelicans won the title by sweeping Wilmington in the Mills Cup Championship Series. The Pelicans finished last season with an 81-57 record, the top overall mark in the CL. Head-to-head, Frederick and Myrtle Beach split the season series (8-8), while the Keys hit .259 off Birds pitching and recorded a 4.47 ERA. The Pelicans hit .279 against Keys arms and boasted a 3.42 ERA. Among returners, Josh Hart fared best, batting .291 with four stolen bases. Myrtle Beach played an exhibition game on Wednesday night, defeating Low-A Charleston (Yankees) 2-0 in the “Battle of the Beaches” a meeting of two teams separated by only 95 miles. In the contest, Jake Stinnett and Tommy Thorpe combined to strike out 15 while the River Dogs did not record a hit until the eighth inning.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Trevor Clifton makes his Advanced-A debut on Saturday night, the second straight night where a Pelicans starter has made his first Carolina League outing, Only 20 years old, the right-hander is ranked at the No. 18 prospect in the Cubs system according to Baseball America and the No. 21 prospect based on the MLB.com rankings. Clifton pitched all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 8-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 23 games (22 starts). Across 108. 2 innings, Clifton walked 47, struck out 103 and help opponents to a .230 average. After going 2-6 with a 4.88 ERA in his first 12 Midwest League games, the Tennessee native went 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA after the all-star break. He pitched 2014 at Short-Season Boise, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA. Drafted by Chicago in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of Heritage High School (TN) , Clifton was third-team All-American as a senior, striking out 79 batters in 39.2 frames. Featuring a fastball that reached 93 mph in high school, Clifton was a member of the 16U Team USA and ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Tennessee. Before signing with the Cubs, Clifton was committed to pitch at Kentucky, in spite of growing up in Maryville, TN, 30 miles south of Knoxville (home of the Tennessee Vols). He throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

The Keys Search for their First Win on Friday

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys suffered a 5-2 setback in their season opener at Myrtle Beach, but look to bounce back on Friday night on the Grand Strand. Left-hander John Means makes the start for the orange and black. He ended the season with the Keys, firing off a quality start against Winston-Salem in his final 2015 outing. Means’ opposition will be Zach Hedges who makes his Advanced-A debut after spending 2015 with Low-A South Bend.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park and today’s batch of game notes are below. Tonight’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source starting at 6:50 p.m as well as on the TuneIn radio app.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

 

 Friday, April 8, 2016 · Game #2 · Road Game #2

Frederick Keys (0-1) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-0)

LHP John Means (0-0, –) vs. RHP Zach Hedges (0-0, –)

KEYS FALL IN OPENER: The Frederick Keys dropped their season opener to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans by a 5-2 count on Thursday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. It marked the second straight season, the orange and black had dropped a season opener. Myrtle Beach cracked the scoreboard in the home second against Mitch Horacek. A one-out Jeffrey Baez double put a pair in scoring position for Gioskar Amaya, who stroked an RBI single and later scored after a wild pitch and an error. Yasiel Balaguert made it 3-0 Myrtle with an infield single in the third, before the Keys scored their first marker in the fifth. Following a single by Tad Gold, Jay Gonzalez tripled his teammate home to make it a two-run game. However the Pelicans countered with two more in the home-fifth, while the visitors managed just one more run the rest of the way. Despite the outcome, Keys relievers threw extremely well, with Tanner Scott and Tanner Chleborad retiring all nine they faced.

LONG STRETCH TO START: Thursday night marked the first of seven games the Keys will play away from home to open the year. After wrapping up this series against Myrtle Beach, Frederick will bus to Virginia to battle the Salem Red Sox before playing its home opener next Thursday. A month that features just one off day, the orange and black open the year with 18 consecutive games, before getting their first off day on April 25.

GONZALEZ OPENS STRONG: Jay Gonzalez played well offensively in his first game of 2016. Hitting out of the leadoff spot, the Floridian went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple, while he also came up with a diving catch in leftfield. It was his 10th career multi-hit game at the Advanced-A level. Promoted to Frederick on July 3 last year from Low-A Delmarva, Gonzalez hit a combined .268 and led all O’s farmhands with 34 steals.

 2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

NOT NOMAR, JOMAR: Jomar Reyes makes his Keys debut in 2016 and is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.” A midseason South Atlantic League All-Star at Low-A Delmarva last season, Reyes hit .278 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 84 games while missing time from June 15-July 25 with a thumb injury. Particularly good with runners in scoring position, the third baseman batted .304 with runners closest to home.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 10 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

 BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

ROUNDING OUT THE COACHING STAFF: Not the only newcomer on this year’s coaching staff, Erik Pappas takes over as the Keys hitting coach. This is the 49-year-old’s first year with the Orioles organization after spending the previous three seasons on the Cardinals minor league staff. He spent 2014-15 at Double-A Springfield. A former sixth overall pick by the California Angels in 1984, Pappas played three seasons in the Major Leagues. Kennie Steenstra embarks on his fourth straight season as Frederick’s pitching coach and fifth overall with the orange and black. His 12th overall on the Orioles MiLB staff, Steenstra pitched 11 minor league seasons for seven different organizations. He reached the Major Leagues in 1998, appearing in four games for the Cubs. Ramon Sambo joins the Keys as a field coach, his first year with the team. A 10-year minor league player, Sambo has six years of managerial experience with Orioles farm clubs. Brian Guzman begins his second season as the Keys trainer, while Chris Cecere enters his fifth as strength and conditioning coach.

SCOUTING THE PELICANS: Myrtle Beach enters 2016 as the defending Carolina League champions, the Birds first since 2000. The Pelicans won the title by sweeping Wilmington in the Mills Cup Championship Series. The Pelicans finished last season with an 81-57 record, the top overall mark in the CL. Head-to-head, Frederick and Myrtle Beach split the season series (8-8), while the Keys hit .259 off Birds pitching and recorded a 4.47 ERA. The Pelicans hit .279 against Keys arms and boasted a 3.42 ERA. Among returners, Josh Hart fared best, batting .291 with four stolen bases. Myrtle Beach played an exhibition game on Wednesday night, defeating Low-A Charleston (Yankees) 2-0 in the “Battle of the Beaches” a meeting of two teams separated by only 95 miles. In the contest, Jake Stinnett and Tommy Thorpe combined to strike out 15 while the River Dogs did not record a hit until the eighth inning.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Zach Hedges makes his Advanced-A debut on Friday after spending all of 2015 at Low-A South Bend. In 23 games (all starts) he went 8-8 with a 4.16 ERA. Logging 132 innings, Hedges allowed 133 hits, walked 36 and struck out 80. Opponents hit .260 against him. The 23-year-old fared best in the middle of the season, going 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA over a seven start stretch from June-early July. Hedges began his professional career with Rookie Mesa after being drafted by Chicago in the 26th round of the 2014 draft. In his first pro season he was 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in 12 relief outings. The right-hander attended Division II Azusa Pacific University (located 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles). As a junior, Hedges led all starters with a 2.74 ERA in 85.1 innings. He had a strikeout to walk ratio of nearly 3:1 (it is 2.7: 1 in the pros). Originally from Glendora, CA, Hedges enjoys cooking in his spare time. He throws a fastball, slider, curve and change.

OPENING DAY IS HERE!

Happy Opening Day Everyone!

It’s finally time for baseball! The Keys embark on their 28th season as an organization tonight, as the club takes on the Myrtle Beach on the Grand Strand.

For those of you who are new, my name is Geoff Arnold and I am the radio broadcaster for the Keys, as well as the team’s Public Relations Manager. Along with my partner Doug Raftery, we travel with the team throughout the season and call all 140 games on radio. We will also be posting daily game notes, articles, videos and other nuggets in this space as the season progresses.

Tonight the Keys go for their third straight opening day road win. Although the Keys fell in their home opener to Winston-Salem last year, the team has claimed back-to-back openers away from the friendly confines. The latest of which came in 2014, when the Keys topped Lynchburg 6-2. Frederick native Branden Kline picked up his first CL win that night, while both Doug and I called our first game as Keys announcers. Man doesn’t time fly by.

Left-hander Mitch Horacek makes the start for the Keys and will be opposed by Pelicans right-hander Jonathan Martinez. Both Horacek and Martinez were CL all-stars last year, while Martinez led the league in ERA.

To catch all the action tonight you can listen locally on 1450 AM The Source or you can visit frederickkeys.com. Click on the multimedia tab and you’ll be directed to a spot where you can listen live. The game is also available by visiting WTHU 1450 AM on the TuneIn radio app. And no matter how you want to listen, it’s free!

We will also have updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages (@frederickkeys). Meanwhile if you have a question for either Doug or myself, you can follow us @dougraftery and @geoffontheair. He may have more followers, but my handle is cooler.

Speaking of Doug, you can catch the latest edition of the Keys Corner which posted this morning! To access click here. Doug runs down this year’s roster and has a chat with Keys GM Dave Ziedelis about the team’s first homestand (which is one week away!)

Today’s batch of game notes are below. I look forward to talking to everyone tonight!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Thursday, April 7, 2016 · Game #1 · Road Game #1

Frederick Keys (0-0) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (0-0)

                           LHP Mitch Horacek (0-0, –) vs. RHP Jonathan Martinez (0-0, –)                                                                                                                                                    

LET’S GET STARTED!: The Frederick Keys kickoff the 2016 season on Thursday night against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Frederick’s 28th as an organization. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park and marks the first of seven road games to open the year. Frederick will play its first four contests in Myrtle Beach, before traveling to Salem for the last three. The orange and black begin home play one week from tonight against Lynchburg. April promises to be an exhausting stretch for the Keys, as the club will play 18 straight games to open the year before receiving an off-day on April 25-the only off-day scheduled this month.

2015 IN REVIEW: The Keys finished third overall in the Carolina League North in 2015, with a 64-76 mark and identical 32-38 figures in the first and second halves. With a fourth place finish in the first half and a third place finish in the second half, the orange and black missed out on the Carolina League playoffs for the fourth straight season. Offensively, Frederick finished tied for fourth in hitting with a .252 average, while leading the circuit with 162 stolen bases and tying for second in triples with 36. Pitching proved problematic at times, with the Keys placing last with a 4.32 ERA (the only team with a mark above 3.77). Much of those struggles could be attributed to a league-high 540 walks (78 more than the next-closest team) which contributed to CL highs in home runs, runs and earned runs.

NOT NOMAR, JOMAR: Jomar Reyes makes his Keys debut in 2016 and is one of Minor League Baseball’s most exciting third base prospects. Despite just turning 19-years-old on February 20, the Dominican native is ranked as the No.9 third base prospect in the MiLB according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America. He is also regarded as the organization’s “top power hitter” and owner of the “best infield arm” according to BA’s “best tools survey.” A midseason South Atlantic League All-Star at Low-A Delmarva last season, Reyes hit .278 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 84 games while missing time from June 15-July 25 with a thumb injury. Particularly good with runners in scoring position, the third baseman batted .304 with runners closest to home.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys will feature 14 returning players to open the 2016 season. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Wynston Sawyer, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 28 players on the team’s break camp roster, 19 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns, Chipper Smith and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

ROUNDING OUT THE COACHING STAFF: Not the only newcomer on this year’s coaching staff, Erik Pappas takes over as the Keys hitting coach. This is the 49-year-old’s first year with the Orioles organization after spending the previous three seasons on the Cardinals minor league staff. He spent 2014-15 at Double-A Springfield. A former sixth overall pick by the California Angels in 1984, Pappas played three seasons in the Major Leagues. Kennie Steenstra embarks on his fourth straight season as Frederick’s pitching coach and fifth overall with the orange and black. His 12th overall on the Orioles MiLB staff, Steenstra pitched 11 minor league seasons for seven different organizations. He reached the Major Leagues in 1998, appearing in four games for the Cubs. Ramon Sambo joins the Keys as a field coach, his first year with the team. A 10-year minor league player, Sambo has six years of managerial experience with Orioles farm clubs. Brian Guzman begins his second season as the Keys trainer, while Chris Cecere enters his fifth as strength and conditioning coach.

OPENING DAY NOTES: In opening day games, the Keys have a 9-18 record. Last year’s lid opener did not go as planned, as the orange and black fell to Winston-Salem 13-0 at Nymeo Field. In that contest, the Dash were led by a seven-run seventh inning, while the Keys mustered just two hits all game. It was the club’s worst opening day setback in franchise history and ended a two-game win streak in season openers. Despite last year’s finish, the Keys have taken each of their last two openers played on the road, with the most recent one coming in 2014, when Frederick topped Lynchburg 6-2. The 2016 season marks just the second time in franchise history the orange and black have opened a season against Myrtle Beach (1999). That year, the Pelicans roughed up O’s top pitching prospect Matt Riley en route to an 8-0 win.

SCOUTING THE PELICANS: Myrtle Beach enters 2016 as the defending Carolina League champions, the Birds first since 2000. The Pelicans won the title by sweeping Wilmington in the Mills Cup Championship Series. The Pelicans finished last season with an 81-57 record, the top overall mark in the CL. Head-to-head, Frederick and Myrtle Beach split the season series (8-8), while the Keys hit .259 off Birds pitching and recorded a 4.47 ERA. The Pelicans hit .279 against Keys arms and boasted a 3.42 ERA. Among returners, Josh Hart fared best, batting .291 with four stolen bases. Myrtle Beach played an exhibition game on Wednesday night, defeating Low-A Charleston (Yankees) 2-0 in the “Battle of the Beaches” a meeting of two teams separated by only 95 miles. In the contest, Jake Stinnett and Tommy Thorpe combined to strike out 15 while the River Dogs did not record a hit until the eighth inning.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jonathan Martinez makes the opening night start for the Pelicans, his second season on the Grand Strand. A Carolina League all-star, the right-hander went 9-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 23 games (21 starts) during the regular season. Logging a career-high 116 innings, he allowed only 82 hits and walked only 27. His first year at Advanced-A, the right-hander led the loop in ERA, WHIP (0.94), opponents batting average (.199) and baserunners per nine innings among starting pitchers (8.92). He pitched particularly well to close out the year, recording 19 consecutive scoreless innings to end the regular season, and giving up just one run in his final 31 frames. Among Cubs farmhands, the righty placed second in ERA. Martinez faced the Keys twice and won both times, going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA (11 IP/4ER). Hitters batted a collective .205 against him.  Acquired by the Cubs on July 28, 2014, Martinez was acquired from the Dodgers as a player to be named later in the Darwin Barney trade. He advanced as high as Low-A with Los Angeles. Signed by the Dodgers in May 2011, Martinez debuted with the DSL Dodgers as a 17-year-old. He hails from Maracay, Venezuela, the same hometown of Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera. Martinez throws a four-seam fastball (89-91), sinker (86-89), slider (77-83) and changeup (78-84).

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