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Five Things to Know About Orioles LHP Prospect Keegan Akin

November 24, 2016
By Lamar Johnson

Coming in at No. 6 on Baseball America's annual list of top 10 Orioles prospects is left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin. Here are five things to know about the 6-foot lefty.

1. 2016 Second-Round Pick
Akin was the Orioles' second-round pick in the 2016 amateur draft, 54th overall, and their second pitcher behind No. 2 prospect and 27th overall pick Cody Sedlock. Akin was a three-year starter at Western Michigan University and is their highest draft pick since outfielder Harry Shaughnessy -- who spent five years in the minors, but didn't crack the majors -- was drafted 50th overall by the Cleveland Indians in 1970, when the league only had 24 teams. Akin signed a $1.1 million contract with the team, according to The Baltimore Sun.

2. Commander Of Ks At WMU
Akin set the single-season record at Western Michigan during his junior season with 133 strikeouts in 109 innings. He finished second all time in school history with 270 career strikeouts; he recorded 62 his freshman year and 75 his sophomore year. Akin throws a heavy-handed fastball that maintains velocity around 91-94 mph late into starts. He also throws a slider and a changeup that register around the mid-80s.

3. Showed Significant Improvement
During his first two seasons at Western Michigan, Akin went 6-4 his freshman year with a 3.46 ERA in 88 innings pitched, but he had a down sophomore year, going 4-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 81 innings. His junior year was a turning point. In addition to the strikeout record, Akin went 7-4 with a much-improved 1.82 ERA. He also helped Western Michigan make its first NCAA tournament since 1989, earning two wins during the Mid-American Conference tournament, including a nine-strikeout performance in the championship game against Kent State to give the Broncos their first MAC tournament title. He was named the MAC tournament MVP and a third team All-American by Baseball America.

4. Love The Lefties
Akin is the 32nd left-handed pitcher Dan Duquette has drafted since he took the reins in November 2011. Including Akin, the Orioles drafted 12 lefties in 2016 after taking seven in 2015. Duquette has also now used 117 of his 201 draft picks to select a pitcher. 

5. Has Played With Sedlock
The O's first two draft picks have played together before. Before being drafted, Akin and Sedlock played under Orioles associate scout Harvey Shapiro during the summer between their sophomore and junior seasons in the Cape Cod League. Akin had seven starts through eight games with 33 strikeouts in 39 innings. Both showed great improvement during their junior seasons after being coached by Shapiro throughout the summer. It appears the Orioles will look to have their top-two picks continue to develop together. They both spent the 2016 season in Single-A with the Aberdeen IronBirds. Akin only pitched 26 innings -- to get him accustomed to the speed of the game -- and had a 1.04 ERA and 29 strikeouts. He surrendered just four runs during nine games, with none through his last six outings. 

Talk Around Town:

Akin, on where he projects in a pro rotation to MLBDailyDish.com
"Honestly, I don't care. Anywhere I can contribute to a team is all I care about. Just getting that shot at playing in the bigs someday. I don't care if I'm a starter, a closer or a long reliever. Any way I can participate is enough for me."

Sedlock, on Akin to The Baltimore Sun
"Keegan's a great kid," Sedlock said. "We played all summer in the Cape, and he has an electric arm -- electric left arm -- and one of the heaviest fastballs I've ever seen."

Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich, on Akin to MLB.com
"He's a fearless competitor," Rajsich said. "He has a lightning-fast arm. His secondary stuff is developing, and we think he'll get better. We like the ceiling. We think he's a future middle-of-the-rotation arm, and the kid really knows how to compete. He's a winner."