Prospect to Watch: Tyler Townsend

Tyler Townsend continues to hit well for Advanced Single-A Frederick.

Frederick Keys first baseman Tyler Townsend has been steadily climbing up the statistical ladder since 2010.

Townsend was taken in the third round of the 2009 draft by the Baltimore Orioles from Florida International University. His third round selection was the second highest in the school's history (John Banks was drafted in the second round of the 2003 draft by Toronto).

Townsend was among the top college players in 2009 as he hit .426 with 24 home runs and 77 RBI. The 77 RBI set a single season record for FIU. He also set the overall record for career RBI at FIU with 164.

His first season in 2009 was hampered by injuries but in 2010 he played well with Delmarva. In 30 games with the Shorebirds the Delaware native hit .342 with three home runs, 26 RBI and 12 doubles.

Townsend was promoted to Frederick but was placed on the disabled list shortly after with a hamstring injury. After he returned from the DL the first baseman showed why he belonged at the advanced A level as he hit .284 in 19 games with three home runs, 14 RBI with a .385 on-base-percentage.

Overall at three levels (GCL Orioles, Delmarva and Frederick) in 2010 the 22-year-old prospect hit .325 with six home runs and 45 RBI.

The 2011 season has started off in fine fashion for Townsend. He leads the team in batting average (.333), home runs (6), RBI (23), slugging percentage (.629) and hits (35). He is also second on the team in runs scored (18) behind L.J. Hoes.

"He can hit one out anywhere in the ball park and right now that is what he is doing," said Keys manager Orlando Gomez. "He has been consistent. I think at the beginning his timing was off but right now he is in the groove and the key is when he uses the whole field he is a tough out and he can hit a home run to left field, center field or right field."

Townsend's approach at the plate for him is very simple.

"I am just trying to get up there and get good pitches to hit," Townsend said. "I am just seeing the ball well right now, pretty much looking for the right pitch and am just getting some hits out of it right now."

A scout gave a possible comparison to Luke Scott in terms of his swing. He has decent power and could be a serviceable major league player.

Townsend also plays well defensively at first base with a .992 fielding percentage and only seven errors in 100 games played.

The positive start for the Frederick Keys first baseman could have many wondering when Townsend will be promoted to Double-A Bowie but the Keys manager believes there is no need to rush the kid.

"Well, I think for me that call will have to be from Baltimore or something like that but I don't think there is a time for rushing him or sending him to double-A," Gomez said. "I think one full year over here for the kid will be perfect for him because he can get 500 at bats and have success. I don't think you really need to push him; let him have a good year over here."

Offensively Townsend can drive the ball to all fields which is a good quality to have as a hitter. He also knows his own approach at the plate because he can turn on any inside pitch or extend his hands and drive the ball the other way.

"Most of my home runs in college were to left center or left," Townsend said. No one really came into me so I just try to go the other way."

Townsend is the number 12 overall prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization according to

A full season in Frederick in 2011 and a full season in Double-A Bowie and then Triple-A Norfolk respectfully could see a projected September call up during the 2013 season.

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