Results tagged ‘ Orioles ’

Townsend retires, Urrutia and projecting the Keys’ rotation

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Tyler Townsend, a Key in 2010, ’11 and ’12, retired yesterday.

A Key for the last three seasons, Tyler Townsend retired yesterday. A third-round pick by the Orioles in 2009, the left-handed hitting first baseman produced well when he was on the field, hitting .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs in his Keys career.

Injuries, however, plagued Townsend, 24, and his career lasted just four seasons. Townsend’s best season came in 2011, when he  played 67 games for Frederick, batting .317, slugging 24 doubles and 13 homers while driving in 50 RBIs. For his career, he hit .272 with 36 home runs, 64 doubles and 158 RBIs.

MASN’s Steve Melewski wrote a short story about Townsend retiring, which you can read here.

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Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia could start the 2013 season in Frederick.

*The plan when the Orioles signed Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia was to have him start the season in double-A Bowie and then quickly make his way to the majors. But visa issues delayed his arrival at spring training, which came on Feb. 28, and reports are that he may start his American baseball career at a lower level — Frederick or low-A Delmarva.

Urrutia, 26, defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in 2011, but hasn’t been able to play since 2010, when Cuba suspended him from baseball for attempting to defect. This Baltimore Sun article written by Dan Connolly gives some good background on Urrutia and how he ended up with the O’s.

O’s director of player development Brian Graham told Melewski that Urrutia could start with the Keys or the Shorebirds in this story.

*In another Melewski story, Graham said the O’s could employ six-man rotations with some of their minor league clubs. Given that possibility, let’s try and project the Keys 2013 rotation come opening night.

Potential Keys starters include Eduardo Rodriguez, Branden Kline, Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Zach Davies, Tyler Wilson, Miguel Chalas, Trent Howard and Devin Jones.

2012 Delmarva Shorebirds Rodriguez and Bridwell, though both young, seem fairly certain to move up to Frederick this season. Kline, a Frederick native, pitched briefly for short-season-A Aberdeen last season after being drafted out of Virginia and seems like a prime candidate to start the season in his hometown, though he could start the year as a Shorebird.

Berry, Wilson, Howard and Jones all pitched for Frederick last season and all could move up to Bowie. Davies is just 20 years old, but pitched in Delmarva all of last season, his first as a professional, and performed pretty well. Chalas has a little more professional baseball experience, but is also just 20 years old.

My guess for the Keys’ rotation on opening day, in no particular order:

  • Rodriguez
  • Kline
  • Berry
  • Bridwell
  • Howard
  • Davies

Who do you think will wind up in the rotation this season?

*KeysFest is Saturday at 11 a.m. Single-game tickets go on sale at the event at Harry Grove Stadium, which is free. The Tots2Tweens.com Egg Hunt will be held during the event and there will also be free food samples. More info here.

Shake your Keys.

Remembering Welty’s 2010 season

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A Key in 2010 and 2012, Ronnie Welty was traded to Philadelphia over the weekend.

In 2010, Keys outfielder Ronnie Welty finished among Carolina League leaders in home runs, RBIs, hits, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, runs and total bases. His 32 doubles, 86 runs and 142 hits that year all rank in the top six in Keys single-season records.

Sunday, word came down that Welty, who spent the majority of 2012 in double-A Bowie, had been traded to the Phillies for minor league pitcher Julio Rodriguez. To give Welty a proper send-off, let’s briefly revisit his 2010 season.

In 130 games, Welty hit .282, homered 18 times, drove in 82 runs, stole 11 bases and struck out a whopping 159 times. He led the Keys in hits, runs, doubles, triples (3), extra-base hits (53), homers, RBIs, total bases (234), strikeouts, slugging (.814) and OPS (.814). The Keys’ everyday right fielder finished fifth in the Carolina League in hits, extra-base hits, total bases, slugging percentage and games played (130), fourth in homers, third in RBI and second in runs. He also dubiously led the league in strikeouts.

From June 24 to July 9, Welty put together a 14-game hit streak, during which he batted .410, racked up 25 hits and drove in 12 runs. He also had a streak of 15 consecutive away games in which he reached base, hitting .385 over that span. Welty was named a mid-season and postseason Carolina League All-Star.

Welty played 13 games in Frederick last season and hit .415 with three home runs and 17 RBIs. For his Keys career, Welty hit .294 with 21 home runs, 99 RBIs, 98 runs scored and 169 strikeouts in 143 games.

Rodriguez, who has been optioned to Bowie, went 7-7 with a 4.29 ERA last season for double-A Reading

*Welty’s not the only former Key whose baseball career will not be continuing with the Orioles organization. Among the minor league cuts made at spring training this season are 2012 Key Matt Bywater and independent players Kyle Mertins and Mike Recchia, all three of whom have been or were to be featured in our countdown of potential Keys for 2013.

Here’s Bywater in Part II of the countdown, and Mertins in Part IV. Recchia has been removed from the countdown. Farewell, friends.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski sat down with O’s Director of Player Development Brian Graham. There are some interesting bits of information in here, including how the Orioles will handle their minor league pitchers.

*KeysFest is Saturday. Buy your single-game tickets when the gates open at 11 a.m. More info here.

* The Grove’s looking frosty this morning:

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*11 days until the season starts. Opening Day is almost here.

Shake Your Keys.

Five for Friday – Schoop on Fire; O’s Reassign Players

Schoop was 3-for-6, including a three-run homer in the Dutch’s upset win over Cuba

1. Jonathan Schoop leads the Netherlands in a WBC upset

The most notable among Orioles prospects in the World Baseball Classic this year is infielder Jonathan Schoop. In last night’s 6-2 upset win over Cuba, Schoop brought the Netherlands to the brink of a semifinals berth after their impressive run in the 2009 Classic. Mixing in some great play at second base, Schoop’s three-run homer sparked the Dutch to victory.

Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop had a three-run home run in the sixth and finished a triple away from hitting for the cycle to help bring his nation to the brink of a berth in the semifinals with a 6-2 win over Cuba in the first game of the second round on Friday at Tokyo Dome.

“It’s a great moment for our country,” Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. “We have the momentum on our side right now. The guys are playing great. They’re scoring first to keep the pressure off the pitching, they play great defense.”

Find the entire recap, including video of the game, here.

2. Wright, Rodriguez and de San Miguel reassigned

MASN Sports Oriole’s columnist Roch Kubatko reported that some cuts were made by the O’s yesterday and some former/future Keys were among those removed from big league camp.

Mike Wright, who went 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in eight games in Frederick this season, was reassigned to minor league camp after three appearances with the O’s in spring training. Through those three games, Wright compiled a 5.14 ERA over seven innings of work. After an injury plagued year in Double-A (5-3, 4.91), Wright will likely see time with the Baysox again to start the season.  O’s manager Buck Showalter was impressed at what he saw from the young farm-hand.

“Very similar stuff (to Rodriguez), except we just want to get him back on track,” Showalter said. “He was a good-looking pitcher last year when he left here. Still have some high hopes for him. We had some periods where he got out of whack last year. Good to see him finish on a high note today.”

Eduardo Rodriguez (19), a potential Key for 2013 and a top pitching prospect behind Bundy and Gausman, saw some time for the O’s in an intrasquad game and the exhibition game again Spain, where he pitched a scoreless inning. It seems likely he will don a Keys uniform this season, after appearing in a game late last season in Frederick. He went 5-7 with a 3.70 ERA for the Low-A Shorebirds in 2012. Buck shed some light on the 19-year old prospect after his short time with the big club.

“Just being around the atmosphere here, and a little bit of the professionalism and kind of what’s got to go on, that was really what I wanted him to get more than anything else. That was a common denominator I was getting back from our people below. That’s something he needed. He needed to really see routine, things like that.”

Catcher Allan de San Miguel was also reassigned. He saw time in the Austrailian League with the Perth Heat and with the Australian World Baseball Classic team, before they were knocked out by Schoop’s Netherlands team. He did not register a hit in four at-bats in the WBC but did hit .294 with five homers and 30 RBI for the Perth Heat, who fell just short of their second title in as many years. San Miguel spent 2012 with the Keys and Baysox, where he hit .239 combined.

For the entire article on the O’s spring training cuts, including more quotes on prospects from Showalter, click here.

3. 22 days until KeysFest

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On March 30th from 11am-2pm, the Keys will be holding a fan-focused event that is free to the public. The biggest aspect of this event is the release of single game tickets to the public. One different part of the event this year is the addition of the 4th Annual Tots2Tweens Egg Hunt. The Keys and Tots 2 Tweens have partnered this year to make KeysFest extra special. The first 500 fans through the gates will receive goody bags and kids will get their chance to take pictures with the “Bunny” along with Keys mascots Keyote and Frank Key. Vendors will be all over the concourse and there will be food sampling, custom baseball cards and more!

For the complete press release on KeysFest, click here.

Think you are talented enough to sing the National Anthem at a game? Pre-register today and audition at KeysFest! The form can be found here and can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed.

4. Teeing off with the Newsletter

This week’s edition of the Keys newsletter, including the first information on the annual charity golf tournament can be found here. Never heard of the Keys Care Charity Golf Tournament? Check out last year’s video feature below.

The 2010 highlight video can be found here.

5. Link it up!

Miss any of our Top 10 Promo Countdown? Check it out here and stay tuned for the #1 Promotion today at 4pm.

The fifth part of our possible 2013 Keys players is out – read it here.

In Britt Ghiroli’s latest Orioles post, Manny Machado talks about his high spring workload.

In case you missed it, there was some Orioles magic in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays. See Ryan Flaherty’s walk-off bomb over the fence in right field by clicking here.

Is your kid a member of the Jr. Keys Club? If so, we are holding a Kickoff Picnic! For complete details, click here.

Our weekly Former Frederick Friday contest takes place this afternoon, so head over to our Facebook page for that.

Only 28 days until Opening Day at ‘The Grove’!

Have a good weekend and Shake Your Keys!

Mahoney mashing for Marlins

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

In a perfect world, every Frederick Key that makes it to the major leagues would make it as an Oriole. Homegrown talent, from Harry Grove Stadium to Camden Yards.

But, an imperfect game by nature, baseball does not work that way.

A former Key now outside the organization, Joe Mahoney is making his case for an everyday job with the Marlins.

Mahoney, a Key for parts of three seasons, was claimed off waivers by Miami in November, and the former sixth-round pick of the O’s is already justifying that move. In five spring training games, Mahoney is 5-for-14 — that’s a .357 batting average — with two homers, a double and 5 RBIs.

Mahoney did most of his damage Saturday against the Mets, going deep twice and driving in four runs. Here’s video of his second home run, a three-run dinger:

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

Mahoney spent parts of three seasons with the Keys, playing 72 of his 82 games with Frederick in 2010. He hit nine home runs with the Keys that season, batted .299 and drove in 49 runs. Add his numbers with Double-A Bowie that season to those with the Keys and Mahoney slugged 18 homers, batted .307 and drove in 82 runs in 124 games.

That’s the type of power the Marlins hope Mahoney can rediscover after hitting just 21 home runs over the last two seasons with double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk. With Miami’s few options at first base, Mahoney could win himself a big-league job if he shows enough pop.

In fact, here’s a Miami Herald story saying just that. From the story by Manny Navarro:

Now 26, Mahoney feels like he’s starting to mature as a hitter. He said he learned a lot from former Orioles teammates Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson and Chris Davis in his three previous springs with Baltimore and has learned quite a bit now working with new Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez.

“I’ve always kind of had it,” Mahoney said of the power. “But now is when I’m really starting to learn pitch selection and letting it translate into games. I’m trying to be an all-around player, be a good hitter who hits for average, drive runners in.”

A 2007 draft pick, Mahoney was called up to the Orioles briefly in 2012, going 0-for-4 in two games. Whether he gets a chance to improve on his major-league numbers to start this season will likely depend on how he finishes spring training following his hot start.

A sign that Mahoney’s opportunity is real — the fantasy baseball community is talking about him.

*2010 and 2011 Key Jonathan Schoop has one hit in the World Baseball Classic — a line-drive home run that almost ended the life of a woman knitting in the left-field stands. He recorded it yesterday against Australia. Watch:

*That bomb helped eliminate Australia and former Key Allan de San Miguel from the WBC in a 4-1 Netherlands victory.

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

*Read about all of the former Keys in the WBC in yesterday’s blog post.

*Some notes from Roch Kubatko on O’s minor laegue camp.

*A nice gesture to the troops by the BayBears.

*Looks like we’re going to get snowquestered tonight and tomorrow.

*Just one month before opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

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

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

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

1. Bumbry’s British baseball experience

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

Steve Bumbry had never even been to Europe before.

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

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

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

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

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

2. Former Keys in the WBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Shaking past 1,000 views

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

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

4. Newsletter

Last week’s Keys newsletter is here.

5. On the links

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

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

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

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

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

*31 days until opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

Bundy to pitch against Yankees (updated)

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After being rained out of his scheduled appearance yesterday, Dylan Bundy is slated to pitch for the O’s this afternoon against the Yankees. The 2012 Key is slated to pitch after starter Jake Arrieta (another former Key), according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. First pitch for the O’s split-squad contest was scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

*Follow Bundy and the O’s live with MLB.com Gameday here.

**Update: Through one inning, Bundy has allowed a walk to Dan Johnson and struck out Juan Rivera. Bundy came in the game to start the bottom of the third inning. He also got Robinson Cano to groundout and Zoilo Almonte to fly out.

**Another update: Bundy gave up a single to start the fourth, but then retired three in a row – two on grounders, the other on a fly ball. Last batter Bundy retired was Yankees speedster Brett Gardner.

**Final update: Bundy has been pulled after two innings. His final line:  2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO

*Yesterday’s post “The Bundy Effect,” which took a look at Carolina League attendance during his starts, was mentioned in today’s bird droppings at O’s blog camdenchat.com. In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the link to the post.

*The final day of the Keys Job Fair is tonight from 6-8 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Stop by and apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys. More info on that here.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski takes on the critics of the oft-injured Brian Roberts, shortstop extraordinaire for the 2000 Frederick Keys. Read his story here.

*Another O’s blog, Camden Depot, looks at 2011 Key Manny Machado’s rookie season in Baltimore. Check it out here.

Shake your Keys.

The Bundy Effect: putting meat in Carolina League seats

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The ace of Frederick’s 2012 staff was slated to pitch for the Orioles this afternoon against the Pirates at their park in Bradenton, Fla., but rain prevented him from taking the mound. Had the game been played, based on the attendance spikes Bundy caused during his starts in the Carolina League, one would have expected a larger than usual crowd, even on a soggy Tuesday afternoon.

The top-rated pitching prospect in baseball, Bundy, one of four Orioles pitchers set to take the mound against Pittsburgh this afternoon, went 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA with the Keys last season, striking out 66 batters in 57 innings.

Average paid attendance for Bundy’s five starts at Harry Grove Stadium was 7,148. His first start in Fredrick, Thursday, May 26, drew 9,833 people to the Grove, the Keys’ season high. Nearly a month later, on Saturday, June 23, 9,477 came to see the Orioles’ 2011 first-round draft pick. On superhero night (Saturday, July 14), 7,583 came to the ballpark, the first 1,000 receiving a Bundy t-shirt, including this Bundy fanatic:

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Joe Cassitto, otherwise known as Bundy Man

Bundy’s lowest attended home start was his last on Thursday, Aug. 8, when 4,113 came to the Grove. That was his only home start in which attendance dipped below the Keys’ Carolina-League-leading average of 4,724 per contest.

In the five road starts Bundy made in the Carolina League in which attendance was reported (Wilmington and Lynchburg failed to do so in his first starts away from home), teams averaged 5,028 spectators per game.

On July 4 in Potomac, 7,442 fans packed the P-Nats’ park to watch the hard-throwing righty. On July 20 (a Friday), 5,843 fans bought tickets in Winston-Salem. Bundy pitched at Potomac, Winston-Salem, Lynchburg and Wilmington last season.

Of the five games with reported attendance, only once did Bundy fail to exceed a team’s average attendance for the 2012 season — Thusday, June 28 at Winston-Salem. Still, 3,857 fans came to that contest, less than 600 fewer than the Dash’s average of 4,428, which ranked second in the league.

Bundy’s effect on Carolina League crowds was obvious — he made them larger. His effect in the South Atlantic League during his eight starts with Delmarva and in the Eastern league in his three starts with Bowie is less clear, though he likely caused an uptick in weekday attendance at those stops.

Bundy averaged 2,116 fans in all of his starts with Delmarva, all but two of which were weekday games, which typically don’t draw as well as weekend contests (Friday, Saturday or Sunday games).  Five of Bundy’s 10 starts in which paid attendance was reported in the Carolina League came on weekends.

In the SAL, Bundy only exceeded attendance averages twice, both times on the road — at Asheville on opening day and at Hagerstown on Sunday, May 20.

His biggest crowd in Delmarva was 3,056 on Monday, May 14, which is still shy of the Shorebirds average of 3,303 last season. Delmarva’s location on the Eastern Shore may have also kept some Orioles fans away. Portions of that group likely came to Frederick to see the O’s prospect.

In the two starts Bundy made with Bowie in which attendance was reported, he drew crowds of 4,847 on a Monday in Richmond and 2,747 on a Tuesday in Bowie.  Both those numbers are shy of the average figures for those clubs.

Regardless, Bundy’s season in the Carolina League brought fans in big numbers to its minor league ballparks.

Attendance during Bundy’s 2012 starts at Harry Grove Stadium:

5/26 – 9833, 6/14 – 4736, 6/23 – 9477, 7/14 – 7583, 8/8 – 4113

Road attendance in Bundy’s 2012 Carolina League starts:

6/2 @WIL – NA, 6/8 @LYN – NA, 6/28 @WS – 3857, 7/4 @POT – 7442, 7/20 @WS – 5843, 7/26 @WIL – 5289,  8/1 @LYN – 2710

Carolina League 2012 average attendance:

Frederick Keys 4,724
Winston-Salem Dash 4,428
Wilmington Blue Rocks 4,235
Carolina Mudcats 3,418
Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3,273
Potomac Nationals 2,953
Salem Red Sox 2,628
Lynchburg Hillcats 2,426

*A Frederick Keys Bundy bobblehead comes free with an ticket plan at Harry Grove Stadium. Ticket plans are on sale now. Machado bobbles are available, too, if you prefer Manny over Dylan. One bobblehead per ticket plan seat.

* Read Bundy Man’s account of his day at the Grove here.

*All the minor league Harlem Shake videos you could ever ask for. Notice that the Keys video is first.

*A man named Hamburger has been suspended 50 games. Where’s the beef?

*The Keys Job Fair is tonight and tomorrow. Come by the stadium from 6-8 p.m., apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys.

Shake your Keys.

Minor’s brief pro basketball career

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2013 Keys Manager Ryan Minor starred for the University of Oklahoma basketball team and had a brief pro career on the basketball court. This is his NBA rookie card.

A two-sport star at Oklahoma, Ryan Minor had two obvious career options during the summer of 1996 — move to Philadelphia and try to make it in the NBA or join the Orioles’ minor league system and pursue the majors.

Eventually, Minor settled on baseball and had a brief major league career. But in ’96, the 2013 Frederick Keys manager actually gave both pro sports a try.

Minor, named the Keys manager in January, was a basketball star at Oklahoma. He started for three years as a Sooner and averaged 14 minutes per game coming off the bench as a freshman. Listed as a 6-7, 220-pound forward, Minor was named an All-American as a junior after he averaged 23 points and eight rebounds. Led by their big man, the ’95 Sooners went 23-9, 15-0 at home and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, though they were upset in the first round by Manhattan College.

Had Minor, a forward with a soft touch from 3-point land, left for the NBA after his junior year, speculation suggested he’d have been a lottery pick. But Minor chose stay in Norman for his senior year.

Obscured by the basketball hype surrounding Minor was his ability on the baseball field. A member of the OU team that won the 1994 College World Series, the Mets selected Minor in the seventh round of the 1995 MLB draft. Again, he chose to stay in school.

In 1996, Minor became the first player in Oklahoma history to score 1,800 points, grab 700 rebounds and total 150 steals in his career. His draft stock, however, fell and he was taken in the second round by the 76ers. The Orioles, who also drafted Minor as a shortstop out of high school, also drafted him that summer, in the 33rd round.

Minor played 25 games with the O’s rookie league team in Bluefield, W. Va., — missing workouts with Philadelphia to do so — and hit .253. Then, he decided to give basketball a try. He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Sixers, played in seven preseason games and was cut.

He averaged 2.4 points in less than eight minutes per game and shot just 18.5 percent from the field in his brief, preseason NBA career.

News of Minor’s release led to speculation that he might return to Oklahoma to play in the Continental Basketball Association, which is exactly what happened.  Saying he was “focused completely on basketball,” Minor spent the end of ’96 with the Oklahoma City Cavalry (rocking a fantastic 90s practice jersey) but didn’t stick.

In February of ’97, he re-signed with Baltimore.

*In 45 days, Minor will begin his Keys managerial career (barring rain, of course). He also played for the Keys for two games, both on the road, in 2000.

*You may have read the former Key and current Oriole Manny Machado missed workouts yesterday at spring training. No worries, folks, it was apparently just acid reflux. Thank goodness.

*No. 10 in our countdown of the Keys’ Top 10 Promotions for 2013 will be on the blog this afternoon. Make sure to click over to that.

*For all you longtime O’s (and Keys) fans, you’ll enjoy this column from MASN’s Steve Melewski. Check it out: What defines a great Orioles fan?

Shake your Keys.

Five for Friday: Potential Keys, reading for the weekend and other stuff

Buried beneath yesterday’s bosom-filled blog broadcast was a link to the second installment of The Frederick 40 Countdown, a series that takes look at 40 prospects who have the potential to wear a Keys uniform this season.

If you missed it, I understand, given the distracting photo directly above it.

The good news is part two of our countdown is the first of this week’s Five for Friday, a quintuplet of Keys-related information to carry you through the weekend.

Nowak83 WEB

1. Frederick 40 Countdown: Part II – Nowak back for more hacks in 2013?

Among this week’s five potential Keys is Frederick’s 2012 leader in batting average and doubles, Jeremy Nowak (pictured above). Among the highlights of Nowak’s baseball career is his one season at Mount Olive College in North Carolina. Nowak was a one-year D-II monster, hitting .446, racking up 99 hits — including 17 homers — and driving in 81 runs for the Trojans. He started the season with a 35-game hitting streak and left his mark on the Mount Olive record book.

As for the rest of the bunch in part two:

Matt Bywater – A lefty who led the NCAA in complete games in 2010. Also had a strong mustache on picture day last season.

Parker Bridwell - Starred at a high school in Texas with teams nicknamed the Whitefaces. Don’t get offended, a whiteface is another name for the Hereford breed of cattle.

Devin Jones -  One of two Mississippi State athletes with his name during his time in Starkville. The potential 2013 Key played baseball, the other football. The baseball Jones was probably the better Bulldog as far as on-field performance goes.

Joe Oliveira – Named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch list three years while at the University of the Pacific.

By the way, part one of the countdown is here.

2. Some Keys-related reading

*MASN’s Steve Melewski has been all over the former-Keys beat in the last week. Three links to his stories are below, two on Kevin Gausman — O’s first-round pick last year and major pitching prospect — and one on Bobby Bundy — also a pitcher. Gausman had a brief stint with the Keys late in the season. He also came to the O’s Caravan event in Frederick in January. Here are the two Melewski stories on Gausman:

- Searching for a third plus pitch, Kevin Gausman just may have found one

- Kevin Gausman on his innings limit, high expectations and powdered donuts

Bundy, the brother of top-pitching prospect and 2012 Key Dylan Bundy, spent a large chunk of 2011 dominating hitters with the Keys. He’s coming off elbow surgery after a disappointing 2012. Here’s Melewski’s story:

- After surgery, Bobby Bundy looks to recapture the form he showed with Frederick

3. Meet Frank Key all over again

We just added a Frederick Keys video relic to the website. It’s called “Frederick Meets Frank Key” (YouTube link) and it’s worth watching. The comments about Frank Key’s knickers make the video.

4. Newsletter time

The newest Keys newsletter has been published. It is here.

5. Former Frederick Friday Contest

Head over to the Keys Facebook page this afternoon for another edition of our weekly Former Frederick Friday Contest. We post the picture, you guess who it is, if you’re the first to name that Key, your name will be entered into a drawing to win skybox tickets at Harry Grove Stadium this season. We’ll post a brief feature on the this week’s former Key on the blog on Monday.

As always, shake your Keys.

What’s that smell? It’s baseball.

Gameday at the Grove

Let it waft into your nostrils. The smell of freshly cut grass, broken-in leather, dirt, pine tar and sunflower seed spittle.

As of today, baseball begins in 2013.

Pitchers and catchers reported to big-league camp today in sunny, warm Florida and Arizona. It’s a sunny, crisp 46 degrees in Frederick.

In less than 53 days, the Keys open their season at Harry Grove Stadium against Salem. (A countdown to the 2013 Keys baseball season is here.) So, let’s get caught up on some off-season happenings with the Keys.

*The Orioles announced Frederick’s coaching staff for 2013 last month. Orlando Gomez, the Keys’ all-time winningest manager, will not be returning for his fourth season.  He’s headed down to Florida to lead the O’s rookie-ball Gulf Coast League team. Stepping into his shoes in Frederick is Ryan Minor, former Oriole and Delmarva Shorebirds manager. Minor managed low-A Delmarva in 2010, ’11 and ’12. He’ll be joined by pitching coach Kennie Steenstra, who held the same position in Frederick in 2009, and hitting coach Torre Tyson, who’s new to the O’s system.

*The full release on the Keys’ 2013 staff can be found on the Keys’ website.

*The Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek talked to Minor, who famously replaced Cal Ripken in the lineup when he ended his consecutive games streak, after he was announced as Keys manager. Read his story on the FNP’s website.

*The Orioles Caravan came to Frederick in January. Swatek was there for that event, too. Read his story from the event here. He also gave his take on the bigger-than-expected turnout on a rainy winter day on his FNP blog.  An excerpt from that post:

It wasn’t a horrible day by January weather standards. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without misery (rainy, cold, getting dark). Yet there were hundreds of people in line, waiting to get inside the recreation center almost an hour before the doors opened for an Orioles’ Caravan/FanFest event in Frederick.

Read the whole thing on his blog.

*Our 40-man countdown of prospective Keys for the 2013 season has begun. I’ve penned short bios of the first five, which are in no particular order. Check out The Frederick 40 Countdown: Part I. Seven more installments to come, typically on Thursday afternoons.

*Speaking of Thursdays, here is last week’s Keys newsletter. Get on the newsletter email list by signing up online.

*In case you haven’t heard, 2013 will be the Keys 25th anniversary season. In honor of the silver anniversary, we’ll be posting Keys history-related items in this space all season long.

*2012 Keys Brenden Webb and Allan de San Miguel and potential 2013 Key Michael Ohlman just played in the Australian Baseball League Championship Series. But we’ll get into that and a few other things later this week.

Shake your Keys.

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