Up next on The Baltimore Battery Prospect Profiles Countdown is left-handed pitcher, No. 11 overall Keegan Akin. The 24-year-old starting pitching prospect was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft (54 overall) out of Western Michigan.
As a junior at Western Michigan, Akin set the school’s single-season strikeout record, with 133 prompting the Orioles to take him in the draft that June.
From there, Akin spent some time in Aberdeen and Frederick in 2016 and 2017 with mixed results. Akin’s break-out season came in 2018 pitching in Double-A Bowie. The six-foot southpaw struck out 142 batters in 137 innings, posting a 3.27 ERA on his way to being named the Orioles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
After his successful season at Double-A, Akin stepped up to Triple-A Norfolk in 2019. For the Tides last season, Akin made 24 starts posting a 4.73 ERA en route to a 6-7 season.
Akin led the International League in strikeouts, with 131 in 112.1 innings and was named a league All-star. Akin’s season was not without concern, however, as his WHIP climbed to 1.513 as the result of an increase in walked batters.
While Akin’s 4.73 ERA may initially appear to be somewhat inflated, it is important to note that 2019 presented a record-setting performance in offensive categories for the International League due to the use of a different ball. Akin was one of only seven qualifying pitchers to sport an ERA under five, giving him the sixth best ERA in the league.
Akin is known to have a repeatable delivery and can use his slider to strike out both right and left-handed batters. His fastball sits in the low 90’s but can creep up to 95 on occasion.
The biggest concern for the Orioles is that Akin is a fly-ball pitcher, but the team believes that he has the necessary arsenal to increase his groundball percentage. That will have to be the case if he is to find success in flyball friendly Camden Yards.
On November 20, the team showed how much confidence they have in the left-hander by adding Akin to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft.
While his role for 2020 isn’t completely clear, his floor seems to be a back of the rotation starter, possibly more if he develops some of his tools.
Spring Training will go a long way in determining Akin’s spot on the team for the upcoming year. The Steamer has projected the youngster to pitch 55 innings, striking out 50, and posting a 5.76 ERA. The Steamer projected ERA is a full run and a half higher than the projections from RotoChamp.
What are your thoughts on Keegan Akin? What do you think 2020 holds for him? Let us know in the comments section, and make sure you follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!