Things haven’t been easy for the High-A Frederick Keys recently. They finished 68-72 overall in 2016, their fifth straight losing campaign.
They haven’t been a real force since winning the Carolina League in 2011 with a pair of infielders named Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop.
There wasn’t a similar duo for the Keys this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t several players worth following that have a chance at helping the Orioles in the future.
The two that jump out immediately are 19-year-old third baseman Jomar Reyes (pictured above), who took his lumps playing against much older competition this year, and 22-year-old outfielder DJ Stewart, the former first-rounder who showed promise after a promotion from Low-A Delmarva.
Adam Pohl, the voice of the Double-A Bowie Baysox, talks about Reyes, Stewart and a host of other Keys with BaltimoreBaseball.com’s minor league expert Dean Jones Jr., in this week’s podcast.
The two break down the seasons of several Key players, including another rough campaign for outfielder Josh Hart and the potential ceiling of pitchers such as John Means and Matthew Grimes.
Some of the under-the-radar players they discuss include catcher Austin Wynns, outfielder Jay Gonzalez and shortstop Erick Salcedo.
Jones also talks about which 2016 Keys made his Dean’s Dozen list of the Orioles’ Top 12 prospects – and why lefty fireballer Tanner Scott didn’t make Dean’s cut.
This offseason, Pohl and Jones have been periodically looking at each Orioles’ affiliate, and, this time, it’s an opportunity to “Shake Your Keys.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB