Keegan Akin, Leftie on the Rise by Rodger M. Wood

Left handed pitchers are at a premium in the major leagues, every team wants one or two of them on their pitching staffs, if not more, to get those tough hitters out in the opposing teams’ lineups.

The Orioles are fortunate enough to have some good ones in their minor league organization, but flying high above the radar right now at AA – Bowie Bay Sox is their Baseball America (BA) ranked 11th top minor league prospect, 23 year old LHP Keegan Akin.

The Orioles drafted Akin 2nd (54th overall) in 2016, out of Western Michigan University, where he had set the school’s single season strikeout record (133), was named BA Third Team All America, and had streaks of 30.2 and 22.2 innings pitched without an earned run.,

Three weeks after the draft, he was showing Orioles minor league brass enough stuff on and off the mound with Rookie A- Aberdeen Iron Birds (0-1 W-L, 1.04 ERA, 29 K, 7 BB, 9 GS, 25 IP) to warrant skipping him past Low A- Delmarva Shorebirds and starting him in his first full professional 2017 season at Fast A, Carolina League Frederick Keys

With the Keys, he pitched a 100 innings, and mixing his 92-93 mph sinker, which he could locate inside to both left and right handed batters, with an 82 – 85 mph change up, he struck out an average of more than one of those older, more savvy Carolina League hitters per inning and a 111 for the season.

This season the young left-hander has been challenged by AA – Eastern League competition. ” I’m trying to learn how to command each of my pitches to the maximum in any given situation. If you get behind hitters in the count in this league, you’ll pay the price. I’m trying to see the hitter’s swing and pitch to it. This season my goals have been to work hard, refine my pitches, be consistent, and stay healthy.”

So far this season, he has pitched 9 quality starts, after allowing only one run over 7 IP June 21st against Harrisburg, and allowing a pair of runs with 7 K against Portland Sea Dogs June 15th.

He has given up only two earned runs or less in 11 of his 15 starts this season, including 6 of his last 7 games. He is 7th in the Eastern League with 95 K, 5th with a 2.98 ERA, and with 8 wins, is tied for 2nd in wins.

Named an All Star, he will be pitching for the West Division in the 2018 Eastern League All Star Game Wednesday, July 11th at Trenton, NJ.

Bay Sox pitching coach Kennie Steenstra thinks highly of the youngster, “Keegan Akin is one of the best pitching prospects in the Orioles minor league organization. We’re working hard on sound fundamentals, mechanics, and improving his slider to go along with his fast ball and change up, If he keeps delivering like he has been, I believe we’re looking at a pitcher who will be throwing at Camden Yards some day soon.”

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Note

Bowie players, parents, family members, friends can see and if they want obtain a copy of photos taken during the 2018 season and before at woodsportsphotography / photo galleries / featured photos / Bowie Bay Sox 2018.

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