Several Keys Selected in Rule 5 Draft

Perez, Horacek, Mercedes and Gonzalez Get New Homes

By Frederick Keys | December 18, 2017 5:31 PM

FREDERICK, MD-Several members of the 2017 Frederick Keys will be heading to different organizations following the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, December 14. Brallan Perez was selected by the Athletics, Mitch Horacek was picked by the Rockies, Yermin Mercedes joins the White Sox and Jay Gonzalez heads to the Diamondbacks.


Acquired by the Orioles in August from the Texas Rangers, Perez, 21, split time between the Keys and Rangers affiliates Down East (Advanced-A), Hickory (Low-A) and Round Rock (Triple-A). Over 88 combined games, Perez slashed .289/.358/.352 with four home runs, 22 RBIs, one triple, five doubles to go with nine stolen bases and 41 runs scored.


In 19 games with the Keys, the Colombia native was particularly effective, batting .368/.455/.491 with a home run, four RBIs, a triple, two doubles and 13 runs scored. Perez was originally signed by Texas in 2013.


Horacek, 26, joins his hometown Rockies following parts of four seasons with the Keys. In 88 total games (56 starts) the left-hander went 17-32 with a 4.67 ERA. In 347 innings, the left-hander surrendered 393 hits, 209 runs (180 earned) and struck out 327.


With the Keys in 2017, Horacek pitched exclusively out of the bullpen going 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA (53.1 IP/23 ER) in 32 games. He walked 24 and struck out 68. Originally from Highlands Ranch, CO, Horacek was originally picked by Colorado in the 46th round of the 2010 draft out of Thunder Ridge High School.


Mercedes, 24, hit a collective .276/.340/.455 with 16 home runs, 62 RBIs and 20 doubles between Frederick and Double-A Bowie this past season. Most of his time came with the Keys, where the Dominican batted .274/.341/.458 with 15 longballs and 55 RBIs in 98 games.


The South Atlantic League's batting champion in 2016, Mercedes was a non-roster invitee to Orioles spring training this past spring. Before signing with the Orioles as a free agent in 2014, Mercedes played for the Washington Nationals from 2011-13.


After spending the previous two years between Frederick and Bowie, Gonzalez, 26, moves to the Arizona. Able to play all three outfield positions, the Floridian slashed .273/.380/.354 in 2017 over 95 games. He also stole 31 bases. In four pro seasons, Gonzalez has swiped 122 bases. The outfielder was drafted by Baltimore in the 10th round of the 2014 draft out of Mount Olive College.


The Keys will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2018. For more information about ticket plans, fans can contact the Keys groups department at 301-815-9900. The Frederick Keys kickoff their home schedule on Thursday, April 12 against the Potomac Nationals at 7:00 p.m. To follow the Keys all offseason, fans can visit

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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