Baltimore Orioles: The 2017 contributions of Joey Rickard
The Baltimore Orioles have a group of talented, young players in the infield and outfield. Joey Rickard is one of them.
In his second season with the Baltimore Orioles, the 26-year-old showed promise in the outfield and at the plate.
Rickard is no power hitter, but his heart and hustle make him an occasional asset to the team.
Rickard was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 after he had a stellar college career at the University of Arizona. While he was a Wildcat, he led the team to the 2012 College World Series. The Orioles acquired the outfielder in December 2015 when he entered the Rule 5 draft.
Numbers from 2016
He played for the Orioles in the 2016 season and had an outstanding season. He finished 2016 with a rookie slash of .268/.319/.377/.696. In 85 games, he hit 5 home runs and knocked in 19 RBIs.
How 2017 compares
But, in 2017, Rickard’s numbers fell. The sophomore slump hit him hard. He finished the 2017 season with a slash of .241/.276/.345/.621. He played in 111 games, hit four home runs, and repeated his 2016 RBI number of 19. He also spent some time in Triple-A Norfolk, but his numbers were worse. He also played in three games with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebird where he batted .300.
Interestingly, Rickard’s batting average was the same as Albert Pujols, but the big hitter in Anaheim hit 23 home runs, while Rickard hit 4. Of the handful of batters with a .241 batting average, Rickard’s slugging percentage and on-base-plus-slugging percentages were the lowest. In 2017, Rickard was primarily a single hitter.
Rickard had a higher batting average than several Orioles. He had a higher batting than Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis, although those two power hitters had higher slugging and on-base numbers. But, their style of hitting was quite different than Rickard’s.
His strength in the field
Fortunately, Rickard has skill in the outfield. According to an article from the Arizona Daily Star, writer Jon Gold found that Rickard:
"“He’s excelled in the field, registering a sterling 24.8 UZR/150 rating, which ranks second behind Curtis Granderson among MLB right-fielders who have played more than 200 innings this season.”"
This stat could be a saving grace for Rickard. As the Orioles clearly have a thing for players with big bats, Rickard needs to be able to cover the outfield. The UZR rating is short for Ultimate Zone Rating and this number shows how a player stands up against others when playing in their defensive zone.
More from Orioles News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
- Orioles News: Predicting the Opening Day Infield and More MLB News
- Last Chance O’s Fans: Bet $40, Win $700 if ONE POINT is Scored in ANY NFL Game This Week
- Predicting the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day Infield
- Orioles News: O’s Sign Adam Frazier and Other MLB News
Rickard played all three outfield positions in 2017. His best work is done in the corners, but he shows the most range when playing centerfield. He rarely makes any errors in the outfield. This past season, he only made two errors out of 142 chances. Those two errors were in centerfield.
What he adds to the O’s
Rickard may not be the perfect player for the Orioles, but he does add some value. In 2016, he finished the season with a negative WAR, but in 2017, he moved to the plus side. His WAR was 0.7.
There was one frightening moment for Rickard in 2017. During their road trip to California, he was hit in the head by a pitch in the sixth inning on August 9 against the Angels. Fortunately, he was back and playing the very next day.
Next: Trey Mancini and his 2017 season review
Rickard remains under team control until 2019 when he begins the arbitration process. He enters free agency in 2022. It would be nice to see Rickard add some more pop to his bat in the off-season. He had the lowest number of extra-base hits for all batter with 200 plate appearances or more. With more power and pop, those numbers could improve.