During the Dan Duquette era, the Baltimore Orioles have had a fairly successful run with Rule 5 players. Ryan Flaherty, T.J. McFarland, and Jason Garcia have all been able to stick with the big club. Flaherty and McFarland have performed quite ably as role players, and Garcia has a very live arm out of the bullpen. On top of those three, there is Darren O’Day, not a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles, but a former Rule 5 pick nonetheless.
In the recently-completed 2015 Rule 5 Draft, the Orioles selected Joey Rickard from the Tampa Bay Rays system. The 24-year-old outfielder is coming off a very successful minor league season. In 117 games across three levels last year, Rickard batted .321/.427/.447 with 23 steals. He recorded 38 total extra-base hits, and drew 69 walks against only 75 strikeouts. Judging by the numbers alone, Rickard is a speedy player with a knack for reaching base, something the Orioles lack. Given his first taste of Triple-A, the Las Vegas native hit .360 in 29 games.
“He has good on-base capabilities, good skills, he’s got good speed,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said, speaking on Rickard after the selection. “He’s an excellent contact hitter, he can steal a base and he’s a good defensive player. He can play center field and left field. … It just looks like he’s learned how to play. He looks like a good solid overall ballplayer. Good discipline of the strike zone and we’re looking forward to taking a look at him in the spring.”
The addition gives the Orioles another option in the outfield. The club re-signed Nolan Reimold, traded for L.J. Hoes, and elected to non-tender David Lough. At the very least, Rickard can help fill the role Lough did last year — speed off the bench and late-inning defense. Rickard’s ability to steal a base may be better than Lough’s, as the former Oriole never appeared to get good jumps when attempting to swipe a bag. Rickard should stand a good chance of sticking with the Orioles for the entire season, as only Adam Jones, Reimold, and Hoes appear to be a locked into 25-man roster spots heading into the new year. Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez will also be in the mix. Regardless, the selection of Joey Rickard is another great value pickup by the Baltimore Orioles, something they have become known for under the guidance of Dan Duquette.