FREDERICK, MD-On Monday afternoon the Baltimore Orioles announced that Frederick Keys starting pitcher, Zac Lowther , was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June. Additionally, former Keys outfielder, Ryan McKenna , was recognized as the Minor League Player of the Month. It marks the second time this year that Lowther and McKenna have received monthly organizational honors.
Also recognized as the pitcher of the month in April, Lowther, 22, went 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA in four starts. Over 21.2 innings, the left-hander allowed only two runs (one earned) on 18 hits to go with five walks and 23 strikeouts. Opponents batted just .234 against Lowther, who won three consecutive starts from June 8-21, a career-best.
Promoted to Frederick from the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds on May 28, Lowther has gone a collective 6-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 12 starts between the Carolina and South Atlantic Leagues. In 63.1 frames, Lowther has allowed only 11 runs (10 earned) on 37 hits to go with 17 walks and 81 strikeouts (11.5 SO/9IP). He has surrendered two runs or less in 11 of his 12 outings, while the 81 punch outs rank third among Orioles farmhands.
With Delmarva, Lowther went 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in six starts. He allowed only four runs on 12 hits in 31 innings to go with 51 strikeouts and nine walks. Since being drafted by Baltimore, the Ohio native's strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than 5.5: 1.
Ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Orioles farm system according to Baseball America and the No. 14 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Lowther was drafted by Baltimore in the second competitive balance round of the 2017 draft out Xavier University. He is the highest-drafted player in school history.
Called up to the Double-A Bowie Baysox on June 21, McKenna, 21, receives an organizational monthly honor for the second straight month. With Frederick in June, he batted .423/.538/.712 with a 1.250 OPS in 16 games. Finishing 22-for-52 at the plate, he added three home runs, one triple, four doubles and seven RBIs to go with 14 runs scored. He also had more walks (10) than strikeouts (eight). At the time of his Double-A promotion, McKenna was hitting .377/.467/.556 and a 1.023 OPS to go with eight home runs, two triples, 18 doubles, 37 RBIs and 60 runs scored.
Between Frederick and Bowie this season, the Maine native is slashing .359/.450/.523 with a .973 OPS to go with 107 hits, nine home runs, 40 RBIs, two triples, 18 doubles and 67 runs scored. Currently, McKenna is tied for first in the MiLB in hits, second in batting average and third in runs scored and on-base percentage.
The No. 27 prospect in the Orioles system according to MLB Pipeline, McKenna was selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of St. Thomas Aquinas (NH) High School.
The Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats continue their series on Monday night at Nymeo Field. Right-hander Cristian Alvarado (7-5, 3.64) starts for the Keys and will be opposed by Lynchburg right-hander Eli Morgan (4-2, 2.45). First pitch is at 7:00 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn App. For ticket information, fans can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.