Former Lane pitcher Keynan Middleton promoted to Los Angeles Angels
Middleton was drafted by the Angels in the third round of the 2013 major league baseball draft out of Lane CC. He is believed to be the first former Lane baseball player to reach the majors.
Middleton is a relief pitcher who had a 2.84 ERA and two saves in 10 appearances this season at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Middleton struggled during his first three seasons in the minors as a starter before being moved to the bullpen last year when he climbed from Single-A to Triple-A. The 23-year old right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA at Single-A Inland Empire before being promoted to Double-A Arkansas, where he posted a 1.20 ERA. He ended the season in Salt Lake, where he was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA.
Middleton is from Milwaukie High, where he also starred in basketball. He played baseball and basketball at Lane.
Middleton has been a role model for Oregon freshman pitcher Kenyon Yovan, a Westview High graduate whose dad played slow-pitch softball with Middleton’s father.
“I’ve known Keynan since I was 2,” Yovan said recently. “We’d always be out there tossing the ball around and playing against other kids. Those were good times.”
Yovan is 1-0 and tied for fourth in the nation with 13 saves in 15 appearances, compiling a 0.77 ERA with the Ducks.
“Once he got drafted and went through the minors, he told me what it’s like and what you have to do to prepare,” Yocan said of Middleton. “I tried to apply that every day in practice and every game. I try to go out there and play older than a freshman.”
Like Middleton, Yovan has moved from a starting pitcher to a reliever this year with the Ducks.
“Being a starter, you try to prolong your arm throughout the game,” he said. “You have a few pitches where you’re going to throw as hard as you can to strike out a guy, but as the closer you go out and hope to throw 10 or 15 pitches with max effort and working to get outs. It’s nice to be able to go out there and go 100 percent on every pitch, and that’s one thing he helped me with.”