LHP Keegan Akin showed improvements in his second spring outing for the Baltimore Orioles.
Can anyone stop the Baltimore Orioles? Will any pitcher be able to contain Chris Davis? Are the Orioles Grapefruit League title contenders?
In all seriousness, the Orioles have had a very successful few days in Florida since being outscored 6-27 in split-squad action against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. For the third straight day, the Orioles offense has put up double-digit runs, defeating the Miami Marlins on Saturday afternoon by a score of 12-6.
Chris Davis continued his hot spring as the first baseman went 1-2 at the plate with a walk and his third home run of spring training, while Pedro Severino and Richard Urena also homered as part of a 14-hit day for the Orioles.
On the mound, the afternoon belonged to Orioles prospect pitcher Keegan Akin. It was the first start of Akin’s spring and by all reports, it was a very good outing. Akin allowed one run on two hits with one strikeout, touching 94 mph on the radar gun, per MASN’s Roch Kubatko.
Akin produced four groundball outs and even tried throwing in curveball, a pitch the lefty is trying to work into his repertoire.
It was a notable improvement over his first outing, a two-inning relief appearance last Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. After striking out the first batter he faced, Akin proceeded to give up three runs on four hits (including a three-run home run), producing just one groundball out.
As spring moves along, the big question surrounding Akin will be whether or not he can crack the Opening Day roster, pending a solid spring, of course. While it seems like it doesn’t matter what Ryan Mountcastle does at the plate or in the field, the Orioles are going to keep him in the minor leagues to gain the extra year of control.
Will service time games into effect with Akin as well? If Akin can miss bats (led the International League in strikeouts last season) and keep the ball on the ground, the Orioles should go ahead and add Akin to the Opening Day roster and see what he can bring to the table in the regular season.
Akin doesn’t have the ceiling that guys like Dean Kremer and Michael Baumann have (two other pitching prospects who we will likely see in the big leagues at some point in 2020), but he is a fairly polished prospect, at least as polished as he’s going to get.