In season where every upper-level prospect in the Orioles' system should have gotten a chance to stick in the big league bullpen, Ryan Keefer should have gotten his shot. Unfortunately, he was nursing a sore elbow for the majority of the season. That appears to be a thing of the past and Keefer even got some work in at the Arizona Fall League.
DOB: 08/10/81 Height: 6-3 Weight: 202 B/T: R/R
Ryan Keefer's Age 25 season:
Keefer generally works his fastball at 90-92 MPH but can touch 94 MPH on occasion. Though he needs to gain more consistency with his command, Keefer shows flashes of being able to work both sides of the plate. His biggest problem is that he tends to elevate his pitches too often, which will lead to a less than stellar home run rate at the highest level. The Orioles have worked hard to correct some inconsistencies in Keefer's mechanics, which they cite as the cause of his injuries and occasional command issues.
Keefer's curveball is a second solid pitch. It has good break, misses a lot of bats, and is actually quite effective against left-handers, keeping him from succumbing to a strict platoon role.
Keefer will have a (very) outside chance of making the O‘s out of spring training. More likely, he‘ll begin the season as a high-leverage reliever for the Norfolk Tides. As advanced as Keefer is, it‘s just a matter of his health that will determine his effectiveness. With a good start to the season, Keefer will be among the first relievers looked at in case of injury. His ceiling is that of a 7th-inning set-up man.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com