LHP Jason Gurka has always been a strikeout machine. He whiffed 46 batters in 38.1 innings in 2010 and racked up another 67 in 53.1 innings last year. This season, he's back at Frederick—where he closed out his 2011 campaign—and he's been as good as ever. In 9.1 innings, spanning five outings, the lefty has 11 strikeouts and just one walk.
He has yet to make an appearance in which he did not strike out multiple batters.
Before there was Jonathan Schoop, there was SS Garabez Rosa. Rosa had a breakout season in 2008, but has yet to recapture the momentum that had some wondering if he was the team's shortstop of the future.
Four seasons later, Rosa has yet to get past High-A ball. He returned to the field this past week, but he might have been better off taking another few weeks. In five contests, he's 3-for-17 (.176) with five strikeouts. Now 22, Rosa is a career .253 hitter who has 30 walks and 381 strikeouts in 434 games.
Through the first two weeks of the season, 3B Tyler Kelly was one of the Keys top performers. Since then, he's gone through the mother of all slumps, going 1-for-18 (.055). That has dropped his average to .283, which is still one of the best numbers on the team. Luckily, his on-base percentage (.427) hasn't been too affected, thanks to his team-leading 13 walks.
There's no doubt in my mind that RHP Kyle Simon is much better than his 0-4 record and 5.61 ERA. The 2011 fourth-round draftee has been a victim of bad luck and terrible defense. Nearly half of Simon's allowed runs have been unearned, and while he has allowed opponents to hit .322 off him, he's maintained his cool with a 20-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
His most recent start also showed some progress, as he struck out a season-high eight batters in six innings, while allowing only two earned runs.