If you missed it over the weekend, the Single-A Frederick Keys had a weekend of stunning starting pitching. Three Orioles 2011 draft picks in Mike Wright (round 3), Kyle Simon (round 4) and Trent Howard (round 7) combined to pitch 18 innings without allowing a run on just seven hits against a good-hitting Salem team.
Salem batters went just 7-for-57 (.123) against the Keys' trio, which walked eight and fanned 16 batters.
On top of that, in his first start in the Carolina League last Wednesday, 2011 10th-round pick Tyler Wilson pitched five innings and did not allow an earned run in his Keys debut. Last night, in his second start, Wilson gave up three runs over five innings. He actually took a no-hitter into the sixth before faltering, leaving his ERA at 2.70 through two Frederick starts.
That is four 2011 picks, all drafted out of college, now on the Keys roster and in the rotation. Wright pitched at East Carolina, Simon at Arizona, Howard at Central Michigan and Wilson at Virginia.
Wright is having a solid season, going 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA over eight starts. He is seventh in the league in ERA. Simon is 1-6 with a 4.40 ERA, but over his last three starts has pitched to an ERA of 1.65. Howard is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.80 in his first two Keys starts since leaving Single-A Delmarva, where he pitched to an ERA of 1.93 over six games.
That quartet could soon be joined by Dylan Bundy and then the Keys could have five 2011 picks in their starting rotation. The Keys' 4.40 team ERA, currently only seventh-best in the league, could soon start looking a lot better.
After winning the Carolina League championship last year, the Keys are just 14-26 now. They have had some inconsistent offense and some bullpen troubles, but the starting pitching looks like it is about to take off and Frederick's record should begin to get better. The Keys could still be in for a lot of fun this summer yet.
O's organization current ERA leaders:
0.97 - Rick Zagone, Frederick
1.89 - Trent Howard, Frederick
2.21 - Dana Eveland, Norfolk
2.62 - Steve Johnson, Norfolk
2.91 - Mike Wright, Frederick
Ranking the O's organization by team ERA:
3.46 - Norfolk
3.93 - Bowie
3.95 - Delmarva
4.40 - Frederick