The Frederick Keys will begin the 2014 season with a roster consisting of intriguing, yet inconsistent talent. While the club has a few players that could really perform, this is the one roster in the Orioles’ minor league system that has the most question marks. This season will be interesting to track, and it will be curious to see which of these prospects turn the corner. Below is the opening day roster (thanks to Steve Melewski of MASN) along with three to watch and three potential sleepers.
Rotation: Joe Van Meter, Parker Bridwell, Branden Kline, Matt Taylor, Brady Wager
Bullpen: Mark Blackmar, Jesse Beal, Miguel Chalas, Gene Escat, Mychal Givens, Matt Hobgood, Matt Price, Lex Rutledge.
Catchers: Steel Russell, Wynston Sawyer.
Infielders: Joel Hutter, Adrian Marin, Tucker Nathans, Jason Esposito, Michael Mosby, Creede Simpson, Sammie Starr.
Outfielders: Michael Burgess, Torsten Boss, Glynn Davis, Trent Mummey, Brenden Webb.
Three to Watch:
Parker Bridwell – RHP - It’s about time Bridwell was moved up! Bridwell has a deep arsenal but has lacked command and control. I heard that both have improved, so it would be terrific to see him flash some of his ability more consistently at Frederick this season.
Adrian Marin – SS - Marin held his ground at Delmarva in 2013, and now looks to carry over his progression at a tougher level. He has soft hands and is sound defensively, but might end up being a better second basemen than shortstop in the long run. The bat is contact oriented, but he will need to work on pitch recognition. The Orioles have tested Marin in his short career, and Frederick will be a big trial moving forward.
Lex Rutledge – LHP - I expect this flamethrower lefty to power his way through Frederick this season. He has a plus fastball with deception against lefties and enough oomph to get by righties. Rutledge could make his way to Bowie at some point this season.
Branden Kline – RHP - Kline missed a lot of time last season due to injury, and many seemingly wrote him off. While I am not sold on him as a starter down the road, it is fine with the O’s keeping him in the rotation to build up stamina and get work in. It would not shock me to see Kline have a solid season in the Keys’ rotation, mixing his fastball, change and power curve.
Trent Mummey – OF - This outfielder has above-average tools across the board, but he simply cannot stay healthy. If healthy, Mummey could have possibly seen the majors by now. He is too talented to release, so the Orioles are stuck with keeping him at Frederick for another season. This is a big year for his career, and it would not shock me to see him move up to Bowie eventually after destroying the Carolina League.
Mychal Givens – RHP - The fastball clocks in the mid 90′s, but he lacks command. I think this mostly has to do with his quirky delivery, which I discussed more here. Givens could surprise in the bullpen, maybe he can work out some of the mechanical issues.
Overall, this club could be solid in the win-column, but they might not hold the highest entertainment value heading into the season. It is possible that some of the Delmarva roster could earn promotions to Frederick and help boost their roster status.