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What to expect from Baltimore Orioles prospect Joey Rickard

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Joey Rickard
Joey Rickard
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have informed outfielder Joey Rickard that he has made the 25-man roster. The Rule 5 pick hit .390/.463/.576 this spring.

Who exactly is Joey Rickard and what can we expect?

First, the background, from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:

Joey Rickard, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Bats: R Throws: L HT: 6-1 WT: 185 DOB: May 21, 1991

The Orioles chose Rickard in the Rule 5 draft last December. Drafted by the Rays in the ninth round in 2012 from the University of Arizona, Rickard is best known for his speed and defensive ability. He’ll take a walk but lacks power; until last year his offensive track record was nothing special but he combined to hit .321/.427/.447 with 23 steals at three levels in ’15. Real progress or a BABIP fluke? It was probably some combination of both. He’s versatile with the glove and can play all three outfield positions in a quality manner. I doubt Rickard hits enough to play every day but he profiles very well as a reserve outfielder, useful for pinch-running, defensive substitutions, and occasional starts when you want some speed in the lineup. Grade C.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY:

Richard got the most at-bats of any player in Orioles camp this spring, with 59 at-bats leading to the hot slash line along with six doubles, a homer, eight walks, 10 strikeouts, and five steals in six attempts. As noted in the book comment he had an impressive 2015 season so in a sense the spring may be a continuation of the progress made last year.

But will this carry into the regular season?

Looking closely at the spring line and some video, the overall contours of what he did this spring are in line with his past skill set: some doubles, good use of speed, and a good batting eye. The specific items within that contour, the very high batting average and SLG, seem to me to be somewhat fluky, BABIP, and sample size driven.

In other words, Rickard should not be expected to hit .350 or .330 or really anything much over .280. But he should continue to hit some doubles, draw some walks, and steal some bases. You can build a career with that. I'd bump his rating up to a Grade C+ at this point.