As of August 16, the Frederick Keys were 56-64 after beating the Lynchburg Hillcats (Braves), 6-1. The Keys have been struggling this season despite having a handful of Orioles prospects on the roster.
Although they haven’t made it to the postseason since 2011, the Keys could put it together soon with many of the O’s promising prospects on their way. I’ve watched a losing team of the Orioles quickly turn things around by having the right talent, so the Keys could easily make a great run. This is how I believe the Keys could make a future postseason run.
Pitching is everything. Pitchers are like quarterbacks. They do all the throwing and help lead the team to the postseason.
For example: Roy Halladay for the Phillies in 2010. That season, Halladay threw a perfect game and a no-hitter. One of his no-no’s was in the postseason and it was a big win to help the Phillies make a run at the World Series.
For the Keys, pitching prospects could lead the way. They have Branden Kline and Parker Bridwell already to help in the staff, but when Stephen Tarpley comes up from Short-Season Aberdeen, it could bolster the rotation. Who knows if Bundy will finish withe Keys, but it would help if he did.
A great Keys rotation in my mind features Bridwell, Kline, Tarpley, and the O’s first pick (3rd round) this past June, Brian Gonzalez. The bullpen should be good too; especially if they have a solid, reliable closer, at least one lefty specialist and one long-man.
A good team has a reliable everyday catcher. Take the Orioles No. 3 catching prospect, Chance Sisco for example. The young catcher has done well both behind and beside the plate for the Shorebirds this season.
At the beginning of the season, Sisco was ranked 10th in the O’s Top 20 prospects list. Sisco is hitting .337 with four home runs and 53 RBIs in 100 games for Delmarva (as of August 15). Sisco provides a good left-handed bat in the lineup and he is a good catch-and-throw guy.
The bench is not a role athletes want to be in, but some favor it. Delmon Young has been solid off the bench for the O’s this season, leading the American League in pinch hits. The same is said for David Lough who has provided the Orioles with great speed of the bench and a good defensive replacement.
If the Keys can put together a good bench using players that have the potential impact of Young and Lough, they can rest regulars and swap in guys and still feel confident that they can help them win.