Alec Keller Seizes Double-A Opportunity
Always up for a challenge, Alec Keller has made the most of his chances at Double-A Harrisburg.
The 25-year-old Princeton graduate took over the center field job after Andrew Stevenson was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, and he has earned nearly everyday playing time in either center or right field by hitting .268/.320/.359 through 76 games.
"Alec is a grinder,” Harrisburg manager Matthew LeCroy said. "He works counts and plays the game the right way. His hitting is what stands out the most (of all the tools), but he plays solid defense and runs the bases well, too.” Keller, now listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, was a 17th-round pick in 2014. That was a notable accomplishment for someone who weighed 95 pounds when he started for Freeman High in Richmond. He was playing alongside Division I recruits at shortstop and center field, so he was relegated to second base.
"I’m used to being a late bloomer,” Keller said. "I’d like to start at the top, but I think it’s fun to have that mentality of being an underdog.”
In Keller’s draft year, a stress fracture in his lower back limited him to 10 at-bats at short-season Auburn. Though he has a degree in international relations from Princeton’s department of politics, his offseason work has been with a financial advisory firm in New York.
"I wasn’t totally sure how this whole baseball thing was going to work out, but now it’s just been a good offseason gig,” Keller said. "I’ve been doing it the past three years.”
Meanwhile, Keller has kept hitting. The lefthanded hitter said his goal at the plate is "to be a thorn in the pitcher’s side,” and he often does just that.
Mitchell Parker Shows Swing-And-Miss Stuff
The 2020 fifth-rounder used his four-pitch mix to good effect in the early part of the season for Low-A Fredericksburg.
• Low Class A Hagerstown lefthander McKenzie Mills, an 18th-round pick in 2014 out of Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga., won seven straight starts in June and July to take over the South Atlantic League lead with 11 wins. He ranked fifth in the ERA race at 2.70 in 93.1 innings.