The Frederick 40 Countdown: Part IV

A look at 40 potential Keys for 2013, five at a time

Frederick native Branden Kline has chance to start 2013 with his hometown ballclub.

By Mike Mueller | February 28, 2013 6:28 AM ET

Branden Kline - P

Selected by the Orioles in the second round of the 2012 first-year player draft, Frederick-native Kline, who graduated from Governor Thomas Johnson High School in 2009, became the highest-drafted baseball player in the city's history.

A long-limbed, 6-3, 195-pound right-hander, Kline was drafted in the sixth round by Boston in '09 but chose to pitch at the University of Virginia rather than jump to the professional ranks. He spent his first two years in college working out of the bullpen, serving as the Cavaliers closer in 2011. Last year, as a junior, he moved to the rotation and went 6-3 in 72 innings pitched, striking out 76 and walking 31. With a fastball that hovers in the low 90s, Kline put together a stretch of starts in which he struck out 40 batters in 34 innings, allowing only 19 hits and eight walks during that span.

Touted as the Orioles' ninth-best prospect overall and fifth-best pitching prospect by Baseball America, Kline started four games for short-season A affiliate Delmarva in August and September after being drafted, throwing three innings and receiving no decisions in each contest. Kline finished with a 4.50 ERA, allowed 12 hits, walked four batters and struck out 12 during his stint with the IronBirds.

Miguel Chalas - P

As a 19-year-old, Chalas started 2012 in Delmarva, quickly becoming a mainstay in the Shorebirds' rotation. Now 20, the righty from the Dominican Republic started 21 games for Delmarva last season, made 24 total appearances and finished 9-8 with a 5.02 ERA.

Chalas, signed as a 17-year-old in 2010, started strong in the Orioles' organization, going 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA in the Dominican Summer League in 2010 and 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA in the Gulf Coast League in 2011. Over his three professional seasons, the 6-foot, 170-pound pitcher fanned batters at a rate of seven per nine innings, though control was an issue at times last season. Chalas walked nearly four batters per nine innings in 2012.

Gene Escat - P

Escat left Fresno State in 2012 with 100 strikeouts in 104.2 innings, a 9-2 record and a College World Series Championship. The Orioles drafted the Bulldogs' right-handed reliever in the 23rd round of the 2012 draft and sent him to short-season Aberdeen.

With the Ironbirds, Escat, 23, pitched 7.2 innings over seven appearances, struck out five batters and compiled a 2.35 ERA. He then went to Delmarva, where he pitched in 18 games, going 3-2 with a 3.96 ERA, and struck out 23 in 35 innings.

Escat, who's likely to start in Delmarva this year with the opportunity for promotion to Frederick, was a freshman on the 2008 Fresno State team that won the CWS, making 11 appearances and starting one game that year. A native of Oahu, Hawaii, he lettered in baseball, basketball and water polo for four years at his high school in Hanford, Calif.

Zach Fowler - P

After recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2010, Fowler returned to the mound for Texas Tech and performed well enough to catch the eye of the Orioles, who drafted him in the 34th round that summer.

A southpaw who pitched out of the bullpen as a Red Raider, Fowler, 24, spent the majority of 2012 with Delmarva. He appeared in 20 games for the Shorebirds, struck out 42 batters in 45.1 innings and had an ERA of 3.18. He pitched in seven games for the Keys, posting a 6.55 ERA and pitched in three games for triple-A Norfolk.

Before transferring to Texas Tech, Fowler played at Texarkana College, where he went 5-4 as a pitcher and hit .350 with 12 stolen bases. In his lone season at Tech, he posted a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings and made 13 scoreless appearances. At his Texarkana, Tex., high school, Fowler batted .496 with 31 stolen bases during his career while also dominating on the mound.

Trent Howard - P

After starting the season in Delmarva's bullpen, Howard moved into the Keys' starting rotation in May. A 6-2 lefty with a sinking fastball, Howard, 23, pitched in 21 games for Frederick, starting all but three of them in his first full season as a professional. He was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in six relief appearances with Delmarva before being called up last year, and finished with a 4.83 ERA and a 4-10 record in Frederick.

Howard was drafted by Baltimore in the seventh round of the 2011 first-year player draft out of Central Michigan, where he spent three seasons pitching for the Chippewas. A three-time all-Mid-American Conference selection, he received first team honors after going 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA in his final collegiate season, striking out 96 batters in 87.1 innings pitched.

As a Chippewa, Howard once struck out 13 batters in a contest against Miami of Ohio and struck out the first nine batters of a 2011 game against Kent State. His minor league K/9 rate is 7.13, bolstered by the 45 batters he struck out in 41 innings with Aberdeen after he was drafted.

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

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