If you have the opportunity to take in a Frederick Key’s game, make sure you check out Baltimore Orioles’ minor leaguer Willy Yahn.
Willy Yahn knew I was writing an article about him, that’s why he hit his first career home run on Wednesday night. Not really. I’ve never talked to Yahn, but he did retweet me once, so we’re pretty tight. In all seriousness, the Baltimore Orioles‘ minor leaguer is a lot of fun to watch.
A 25th-round pick of the Orioles in the 2017 MLB draft, the former University of Connecticut standout has since worked his way through the O’s system to Advanced-A ball with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League. Over the past week, he’s been one of the hottest hitters in the farm system.
I started writing this on Tuesday, but then his offensive tear started and I figured I would let it play out a bit to see where it went. This isn’t a piece designed to take a look at Yahn’s prospect status or ability to make an impact at the major league level, it’s simply a piece to highlight one of the more fun stories down in the minor leagues.
Rarely do we get to see Yahn and the Frederick Keys take the field on MiLB TV, but when we do, it’s worth every second.
Sporting the classic stirrup look, pine tar caked bat, and no batting gloves, Willy Yahn’s style is a classic look which more players need to embrace. His numbers also provide a bit of intrigue.
Through his first 138 games with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Aberdeen Ironbirds, and Frederick Keys, Yahn recorded zero home runs. Not a single ball left the yard. He did, however, record 23 extra-base hits and hit .278 and .275 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Yahn also swiped 19 bags at a 73% success rate.
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Since skipping full-season ball and joining Advanced-A ball, Yahn has been hitting well with the Frederick Keys in 2019. He’s currently riding a six-game hitting streak, collecting 11 hits along the way. As for his home run drought to begin his professional career, it’s over. Yahn has homered in his last two games, driving in seven runs and upping his batting average to .314 through 19 games. His average with runners in scoring position is a delightful .522 (12-23).
Now, let’s talk about the walks. In 70 at-bats this season, Yahn has yet to draw a walk and has just 19 in 140 games, but who needs walks when you have this newly tapped power?
A writer himself (check it out here), Yahn has split his time between second and third base on defense and has made his share of impressive plays down in the hot corner, early on this year.
There isn’t much to get excited about when watching the Baltimore Orioles’ major league squad, however, the farm system is full of intriguing storylines, with Yahn being one of them. You won’t find prospect evaluators talking about him, so get out to Harry Grove Stadium this season and check him out. Look for the guy embracing the majestic powers of the stirrup.