A native of Powder Springs, Georgia, Keyshawn Askew attended McEachern High School, where he lettered three times. After graduating, he attended Clemson University, posting a 4.40 ERA over 45.0 innings in his freshman year, allowing 46 hits, walking 15, and striking out 36. The 20-year-old seemed to be on his way to having an improved season in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic cut it short. In 12.2 total innings, the southpaw posted a 3.55 ERA, allowing 12 hits, walking 11, and striking out 12. Askew returned to the Tigers in 2021 and pitching primarily as Clemson’s Sunday starter, posted a 5.84 ERA in 57.0 innings, allowing 68 hits, walking 11, and striking out 69.
Keyshawn Askew’s unorthodox pitching mechanics have been key to the success that he has had on the mound. Tall and lean, the 6’4”, 190-pound left-hander throws from a very low three-quarters, almost sidearm arm slot. Combined with his high leg kick, he hides the ball extremely well. The only good look hitters get of it before he whips the ball at them with a slingy crossfire delivery is his extremely long arm action in the back.
The stuff is underwhelming in a vacuum, but when combined with his delivery, Askew has gotten results. His fastball sits around 90 MPH, topping out at 92, 93 MPH. Its velocity is slightly below average but is slightly more palatable because he is a left-hander, because of the arm-side life his delivery gives it, and because he is able to maintain its velocity deep into starts and show no real problems with higher pitch counts. He complements the pitch with a slider with sweepy horizontal that sits in the high-70s and features spin rates that scouts and evaluators feel will lead to future success. He commands the pitch well and is particularly adroit at the backdoor slider against right-handed batters. Indeed, though his profile is much tougher on left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters, he does not have major platoon splits. Askew is a strike thrower, with the poor walk rates in 2020 an aberration.