After being selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Western Michigan University, left-handed pitching prospect Keegan Akin jumped to High-A Frederick this year and put together a solid season save a six-week stint on the disabled list that ended his summer in early August. In 21 games (all starts) prior to landing on the DL, Akin was 7-8 with a 4.14 ERA over 100.0 innings pitched, striking out 111 hitters (10.0 K/9) while allowing 89 hits (8.0 H/9, .240 opponents’ batting average) and 46 walks (4.1 BB/9). Twice he won Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for Frederick, too — in early June and early July.

Because of the summer injury, the Baltimore Orioles sent Keegan Akin to the Arizona Fall League last month, and that’s where we saw the lefty pitch several times for the Salt River Rafters. A poised college product with use of his entire arsenal and above-average velocity in his back pocket when he needs it, Akin could move quickly to the big leagues and one day should position himself as a consistent, reliable mid-rotation starter at ceiling. Below, you’ll find our full Keegan Akin scouting report, including game video, tool grades, projection notes and more on the Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect.

Keegan Akin Scouting Report, Baltimore Orioles — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Four-Seam Fastball (55)
Free and easy arm action; ball explodes out of his hand with easy velocity and very good downward plane from high three-quarters/overhand release. Low effort through arm action and delivery, even when dialing pitch up into mid 90s. Modest arm-side run at times; will get in on hands of LHH and draw handle contact thanks to velocity. Good early-count pitch to establish fastball and get ahead; noticeably less life here than the two-seamer, but enough velocity to get by as the situation calls for it. Velocity: 91-93, T 95.

Two-Seam Fastball (55)
As with four-seamer, good downward plane from release point; here, also very late, sharp arm-side run with some fade. Enough command feel to start it off the plate glove side and let it run back over; especially effective in that way against LHH. Tunnels two-seamer and slider very well together; deceptive. May far and away be his best pitch in another year or two; even without mid-90s velocity, enough late life and command to draw weak contact with good feel attacking both sides of the plate. Velocity: 88-91, T 92.

Slider (55)
Very tight slider, breaks 11-to-5 with tilt. General command feel to both sides of the plate; obvious feel for it (a) buried in the dirt, (b) thrown for a strike, and (c) thrown to glove side for LHH to chase off plate. Sharp; best when he throws it hard and could actually improve some if he threw it harder.  Tunnels slider and two-seamer well together; deceptive. Not yet a full wipeout pitch, though, and he will get lazy at times and fail to finish it, leaving it up in the zone with loopy, slow bite. Nevertheless, ability to execute sharp slider is clearly there when he needs a strikeout, or needs to draw weak contact. Velocity: 78-81, T 82.

Changeup (50)
Harder pitch; straight change; lacks full fade or tumble like many changeups, but has natural downward life with some very late arm-side run on occasion. Identical arm action to fastball; works best when release point is out in front and he finishes the pitch over his front leg. Primarily used against RHH, but late enough life when down to work side-to-side against LHH, too. In time, this may prove to be a better pitch than my 50 grade. Velocity: 81-83, T 84.

Control/Command (55/50)
4.1 BB/9 in 2017 regular season was surprising to see; showed off good command in three different looks at AFL. Good feel for entire arsenal; understands how to get ahead and work ahead, especially off fastball and first time through a lineup. Feel for both sides of the plate with both off speed pitches. May throw too many strikes at times with this profile considering lack of a true wipeout pitch, but living down in the zone with good plane and late life helps make it work; pitch to contact command traits with some swing-and-miss when he really needs to reach back for it.

Conventional mechanics and windup with low-effort delivery; high three-quarters/nearly overhand release point with good downward plane. Arguably the most consistent mechanics and release point in our four-week stay at AFL; exceptional ability to repeat delivery and maintain release points both from windup and stretch, as well as with any pitch in arsenal. Bodes well for future athleticism despite less than ideal body type. Mechanics aid command profile, and no doubt will play a significant role in keeping Akin a starter for years to come.

Good athlete on the mound despite having a less-than-athletic body type; weight may be an issue moving forward, but manages it well to this point. Mature, poised, with good understanding of sequencing. Consistent mechanics through windup and stretch. Proclivity to challenge hitters early and often; will pitch backwards, particularly against LHH. Works very quickly, no nonsense with great pace and tempo. Wants hitters in the box; won’t waste time.

Keegan Akin Scouting Report — Baltimore Orioles — 2017 Game Video

Keegan Akin Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

Keegan Akin was one of the pitchers I liked the most in a few extended viewings at the Arizona Fall League this year; his stuff doesn’t pop off the page in terms of velocity or life, but everything is subtle, late, and well-located. He comes as advertised as a high-round Division I product: poised, mature, calm, and competitive on the mound with good tempos and a clear understanding of how to sequence hitters. To that end, the Baltimore Orioles have a far more advanced pitcher than his 2017 numbers might suggest, and I think Akin can move quickly and have a significant big league impact soon if things fall into place as they should.

One of the lefty’s more underrated traits is raw arm strength, with a fastball that’ll work up into the mid-90s when he needs to reach back for something extra. With a working two-seamer and effective slider, which Akin had in all my AFL looks, the four-seam fastball falls back, but it’s a nice card for the Orioles prospect to keep in his back pocket should he need to dial it up in certain situations. Perhaps there’s a little more velocity that has yet to show up, too, though Akin is pretty tapped out stature-wise and doesn’t physically project much more from now to his arrival in Baltimore.

Speaking of his physical build, it’ll be interesting to see how Akin’s stature plays out in the future, too. He’s shorter than ideal height for a mid-rotation arm at 6’0″, but he nevertheless gets good downward plane thanks to his arm angle and mechanics. Durability shouldn’t be a huge concern; he’s well built with a thick lower half and easy, repeatable mechanics and arm action. That said, Akin has no room to add weight and he’ll have to do quite a bit of work as he ages to maintain his physical conditioning and pitching mechanics considering his body type.

keegan akin scouting report baltimore orioles baseball 2

Keegan Akin Scouting Report — Future Projection

After getting the innings he needed at the AFL to finish out that aborted High-A campaign with Frederick, Keegan Akin ought to be ticketed for the starting rotation at Double-A Bowie to begin 2018. Double-A is always a big jump for pretty much any prospect, but as poised as he is, Akin could see some time with Triple-A Norfolk next year, too. I’d guess his big league debut with the Baltimore Orioles would then ideally come the following year (2019) in what’ll be his fourth season in pro ball — the perfect time to establish himself as a future rotation arm for Baltimore.

Long term, I’m bullish on Keegan Akin to earn a mid-rotation gig in the big leagues over the next few years, with the poise, arsenal, command, and consistency to throw a lot of important, efficient innings for the Baltimore Orioles. Nothing in Akin’s game right now is far and away ahead of everything else, but nothing lags behind either, and it’s that 55-grade-level consistency across the board that’ll push the lefty to showing significant, even if unspectacular, big league value for a long time to come.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Mid-rotation starter (#3/#4) ceiling; poise and consistency give him a good shot to reach potential; low risk. Swingman/long relief floor (55)

MLB ETA: 2019

Did you like this Keegan Akin scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Detroit Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull — CLICK HERE

Arizona Diamondbacks 1B/3B Eudy Ramos — CLICK HERE

Milwaukee Brewers RHP Jon Perrin — CLICK HERE

Minnesota Twins 2B Emmanuel Morel — CLICK HERE

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Genesis Cabrera — CLICK HERE


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