Dosch off to solid start for Frederick (plus the Gonzo numbers)

Third baseman Drew Dosch of the Single-A Frederick Keys is off to a promising start this year, moving up a level pretty seamlessly in his first go around in the Carolina League.

After finishing seventh in the South Atlantic League batting .314 last year, Dosch is batting .291 with six doubles, two triples, a homer, two steals, 14 runs and 18 RBIs for the Keys. He’s got a .361 OBP and is slugging .442. He leads the league in RBIs.

Dosch sized it up pretty well recently when I asked him what challenges he expected to face moving up a level.

“You have the obvious challenges that every step you go, the game gets a little faster and the players get a little better,” he said. “But then, in this league, there are (only) eight teams in the league and you play each one more than in the South Atlantic League. So teams will get good scouting reports on you and you will have to make adjustments.”

His first five games with Frederick, he was batting just .095, but since then he is batting .361 for the Keys.

Dosch began this year as the Orioles’ No. 15 ranked prospect, according to Baseball America. The 22-year-old lefty hitter was solid for the Shorebirds in 2014, and in July, he batted .364 and was the O’s organization’s Player of the Month.

“I think it was just consistency,” he said of his 2014 season with Delmarva. “Playing third base every day and trying to do whatever I could to help the team. In this game, you have dry spells and are not at your best every single night. But find a way to scratch out a hit or move a runner over. Help the team win, and that helps you stay positive in your own mind.”

duquette-smiles-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles drafted Dosch in Round 7 in 2013 out of Youngstown State. He slipped in that draft after undergoing surgery just weeks before the draft for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The O’s were high on Dosch heading into that draft, and O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette saw him play as an All-Star in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2012.

The knee has not been a problem at all for Dosch since his surgery.

“I felt great all last season,” he said. “I wore a knee brace, but that was just for added support. I’m out of it now. The training staff down in Florida did a great job with me and I feel great.”

The O’s minor lague brass sees Dosch as having a very mature approach, with some of the best plate discipline in the organization.

Dosch is clearly a guy that combines talent with smarts when he steps into the batter’s box.

“I try to have a good approach,” he said. “Everyone has their own swing, different swings. But what separates the good hitters is their approach. Knowing yourself as a hitter and what you need to look for, situational hitting. Since I have gotten into pro ball, I’ve learned a lot from the staff here about pitches in certain counts, what to look for and what plays into my game best.

“I think it is patience and not trying to do too much. Knowing I need to stay in the middle of the field as a line drive hitter, rather than trying to hit the ball out of the park, allows me to be a little more patient to try and get my pitch.”

Good Gonzo: Miguel Gonzalez gave the Orioles yet another solid pitching effort last night and outdueled Chris Archer in a 4-0 win. I’ve wondered countless times now why he seems to be underrated, even by some O’s fans. But here are some of the latest numbers on the right-hander:

* He is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.59 this year.

* In 18 starts since last July 1, Gonzalez is 9-5 with a 2.22 ERA.

* In 45 career games (42 starts) against the AL East, he is 19-10 with a 3.23 ERA.

* In seven career starts at Tropicana Field, he is 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA.

Radio day: Join me later today on 105.7 FM the Fan in Baltimore. I’ll be on before today’s Orioles broadcast, first taking calls from 12 to 12:30 p.m., and then hosting “Orioles Baseball Tonight” starting at 12:30 p.m.

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