On Friday, the San Francisco Giants claimed outfielder Joey Rickard off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. So who is this latest addition?
The San Francisco Giants were at it again on Friday with a waiver claim of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Joey Rickard.
Rickard, 28, was a ninth-round pick out of the University of Arizona by the Tampa Bay Rays back in the 2012 draft. His ceiling at the time looked like a solid fourth outfielder and his development backed that up. He never hit for much power with a career .397 slugging percentage in the minors, but took advantage of an advanced approach and his good speed to get on base at a .386 clip during his time in the minors.
In 2015, he played his way from High-A to Triple-A, combining to hit .321/.427/.447 with 23 stolen bases and nearly as many walks (69) as strikeouts (75).
When the Rays left Rickard off their 40-man roster that offseason, the Baltimore Orioles snatched him up in the Rule 5 draft. He stuck with a strong spring training, then got off to a hot start in Baltimore, but even then, most still saw his ceiling as someone like former Giants Fred Lewis or Gregor Blanco.
Rickard eventually regressed and finished 2016 with a .268/.319/.377 line over 282 plate appearances. He took another step back in 2017 and has split his time between Baltimore and their Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk since.
He’s now had nearly 850 at-bats in the majors and holds a career .247/.299/.372 line. He no longer steals a lot of bases (19-for-25 career), but his speed still plays well in the outfield where he profiles as at least above-average everywhere.
Rickard is one of the few players that bats right-handed and throws left-handed, but for a Giants team that has mainly left-handed hitters in the outfield at both the majors and Triple-A (Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar, Mike Gerber, Chris Shaw, Alex Dickerson, etc.) that could be a good fit.
Keep in mind, the Giants had a 40-man roster spot to play with given Nick Vincent’s injury, so they didn’t even need to release someone to claim Rickard. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Giants claim another player over the next week while trying to sneak Rickard through waivers for a bit more upper minors depth.
Either way, Rickard, as he did when he was drafted, profiles as a soft-hitting fourth outfielder who can offer a little speed on the bases. Not a game-changer by any means, but a useful player.