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
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 — 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
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