Taking the Keys from Rowell

The Double-A Bowie Baysox revealed their 2011 roster earlier today, and it's no surprise that former first-round pick Billy Rowell is included.

Rowell finally graduated from Single-A Frederick, where he spent the past three seasons. His cap and gown are backordered.

Here's the Baysox roster:

Pitchers: Tim Bascom, Zach Clark, Brandon Cooney, Jose Diaz, Eddie Gamboa, Steve Johnson, Wynn Pelzer, Raul Rivero, Chorye Spoone, Ryohei Tanaka, Pedro Viola and Rick Zagone

Infielders: Pedro Florimon, Joe Mahoney, Greg Miclat, Carlos Rojas, Billy Rowell and Brandon Waring/

Outfielders: Xavier Avery, Jeff Fiorentino, Ronnie Welty and Robbie Widlanksy.

Catchers: Caleb Joseph and Steven Lerud.

Reliever Luis Lebron begins the season on the disabled list.

Rowell batted .275 with 25 doubles, 11 homers, 61 RBIs and .756 OPS last summer. He'll have to fight for starts in the field this year with Mahoney at first base and Waring at third.

I would hope that the right field experiment has ended. A bad idea from the start.

I know it's a painful reminder, but let's take another look at the top 10 selections in the 2006 draft:

1. Royals, Luke Hochevar, P, Tennessee
2. Rockies, Greg Reynolds, P, Stanford
3. Devil Rays, Evan Longoria, 3B, Long Beach State
4. Pirates, Brad Lincoln, P, Houston
5. Mariners, Brandon Morrow, P, University of California, Berkeley
6. Tigers, Andrew Miller, P, North Carolina
7. Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, P, Highland Park High School
8. Reds, Robert Stubbs, OF, Texas
9. Orioles, Billy Rowell, 3B, Bishop Eustace High School
10. Giants, Tim Lincecum, P, Washington

Yes, Lincecum's name jumps out at you like a jack-in-the-box, but it's important to remember that Rowell was widely regarded as the best high school hitter in the draft. The selection wasn't universally panned at the time.

"Billy Rowell hasn't worked out as hoped, but I don't think it's fair to blame the Orioles for taking him ninth overall," says Baseball America's Jim Calllis. "A lot of teams were high on him and he wasn't overdrafted. You could quibble that if they were taking a high school bat, they should have gone with Travis Snider, but they weren't the only team that was high on Snider. It looks worse that Tim Lincecum was the next pick, but eight other teams passed on Lincecum, too, because they were worried about his size and mechanics.

"Taking Rowell over Lincecum doesn't look good, but I don't believe the Orioles are the only team that would have done it that way."

Probably doesn't make you feel much better, but I just wanted to provide a little perspective here.

One last note: The NephCure Foundation, the only organization solely committed to finding the cause and a cure for the kidney diseases FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome, will host "Countdown to a Cure" on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Pier 5 Hotel in Baltimore.

The foundation is chaired by former Orioles executive Jim Duquette, whose daughter suffers from the disease and is subjected to repeated hospital stays.

NephCure also will host a walk prior to the Orioles' 1:35 p.m. game against the Rangers. Tickets will be included for people fundraising or making a donation. To register or obtain more information, visit www.nephcurewalk.org.

Tom Davis and Fred Manfra will emcee "Countdown to a Cure," and featured guests include Jim Palmer, B.J. Surhoff, Rick Dempsey and Mike Flanagan. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Joanna Dauber at 866-NEPHCURE, ext.15 or at jdauber@nephcure.org. Tickets start at $75 per person and $150 for the VIP reception.

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