Baltimore Orioles: Willy Yahn Continues To Lead Frederick Keys’ Offense
Among the offensive leaders for the Frederick Keys, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, is an under-the-radar, late-round draft pick. It is time for fans to take notice of 3B Willy Yahn.
Frederick Keys’ third baseman Willy Yahn is playing in his first full-season minor league assignment and is doing quite well. The 25th-round draft pick out of the University of Connecticut in 2017 is probably not well-known among the Baltimore Orioles fan base, despite his best efforts. That’s changing as this season moves along.
Earlier this month my colleague here at BirdsWatcher, Nick Stevens, wrote about Yahn’s old-school style of play and how it is fun to watch. You can read that piece here.
One of Yahn’s Frederick teammates confirmed this when he told me recently that he is “a lot of fun to play with and fun to watch”. Yahn may be fun but he is an offensive leader as well.
Entering play on Sunday, Yahn is slashing .299/ .313/ .472 with 18 runs scored, five home runs, 26 RBI and one stolen base (five attempts) over 37 games. Things seem to have clicked for Yahn during the month of May as he is hitting .313/ .345/ .554 with 17 RBI for the month; all five of his home runs have been hit in May, as well.
Yahn has certainly benefited from the friendly hitter’s confines of Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium as he is hitting .375 at home versus .203 on the road. Regardless of where he is playing, Yahn has emerged as a somewhat surprising offensive leader for the Keys.
Accounting for Mason McCoy‘s promotion to Bowie (AA), Yahn is now tied for the team lead in hits (43). He also leads the Keys in doubles (10), is tied for second in home runs, leads in RBI, and leads in total bases (68). Additionally, his slash line is good for third on the team in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, and fifth in OPS.
With all the early season attention placed on top Baltimore pitching prospects DL Hall (#3), Blaine Knight (#10), Brenan Hanifee (#11) and Michael Baumann (#25) I am sure not much consideration was given to the Keys offense outside of maybe 3B Jomar Reyes and 1B Ryan Ripken. I doubt many thought Yahn would be among the leaders, but he is.
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Yahn is just as solid with the glove; he has committed just one error this season and is carrying a .971 fielding percentage with 28 defensive assists.
Conventional baseball wisdom says that a player drafted after the 20th round is just organizational filler and many who follow the Baltimore Orioles minor league system would agree with the assessment of Yahn. I feel it is way too early in his career to make that judgment and in fact, would not bet against Yahn beating the odds.
The same teammate who told me that Yahn was fun to play with also called him a “grinder”. That is a high compliment from someone who would know best, someone who plays the game.
Baltimore is a blue-collar town and loves players who come to play every day – the lunch pail types. Yahn fits the bill and as such should not be under-the-radar for long. Fans of the Baltimore Orioles minor league system would do well to follow the 23-year-old third baseman.