Following a dominant season for Double-A Bowie, Orioles left-handed prospect Keegan Akin was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Sept. 2.
"It's definitely an honor to be able to receive [the award] and also represent the Orioles," Akin said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Sept. 5. "There's a lot of good competition in league this year, so that makes it a little bit more exciting."
Drafted by the Orioles in 2016 out of Western Michigan, 2018 marked Akin's first season in Double-A after he pitched at Short-Season Aberdeen in 2016 and High-A Frederick in 2017.
The 23-year-old lefty posted a 14-7 record, 3.27 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and racked up a league-leading 142 strikeouts. Akin, however, isn't impressed with what he was able accomplish this season.
"I always find more of the negatives than positives out of things," Akin said. "I don't know why I'm so hard on myself."
"I had way too many walks," added Akin, who walked 58 batters this season. "I was fortunate enough, not a lot of them came back to bite me in the butt."
Topping out in the low 90s with his fastball, Akin is not a power arm by today's standards. Instead, he uses his aggressive pitching style to get out of tough situations.
"I just like to come at you," Akin said.
That mentality, along with his raw talent, could give Akin a chance to come up to the majors as soon as next season. The chance of that occurring seems more likely by the day, as the Orioles continue deeper into their rebuilding process.
"At the end of the day that's the goal," said Akin, referring to making a major league roster, "But it comes down to reality -- if the club thinks you're ready or not. Everybody thinks they're ready."
The start of the 2019 season is too far away to accurately judge the chances of Akin making the Orioles' roster, but with his impressive resume and the lack of left-handed pitching on the Orioles' current roster, it may be possible. (On Aug. 28, Josh Rogers became the first lefty to make a start for the Orioles since Wade Miley in 2017.)
Until the start of spring training in February, however, Akin is focused on staying healthy.
"My left arm is basically my career," the Michigan native said. "I'm not going to throw for a few weeks, giving [my arm] a break."
Besides resting his arm and training for next season, Akin also has another thing to keep him busy during the offseason, his family business.
"Me and my dad just saw a good opportunity to invest a little money in some trucks and rent them out," said Akin, referring to Akin Trucking. "It's not a lot of time consumption, it's not like I'm driving them or working on them."