Under Dan Duquette, the Orioles have certainly had previously with the Rule 5 Draft. They’ve picked up Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland, who have both become serviceable players for the team in their recent successes.
It hasn’t all been rainbows and sunshine though. Last season’s addition of Jason Garcia proved to be quite a difficult roster balancing act for Duquette and Buck Showalter.
Going into 2016, the Orioles will have to keep Joey Rickard on their 25-man roster if they want to hold on to him in the organization, as they picked him in this years Rule 5 Draft. Right now, this doesn’t seem like a problem, as Rickard is hitting .392/.475/.569 and has stolen five bases this spring.
This performance has even seemed to bump the Orioles “big” free-agent signing this off-season, Hyun Soo Kim, off the 25-man roster this season.
But, haven’t Oriole fans seen this before?
There is this thing us Oriole fans like to call “Jake Fox Syndrome”. In 2011, Fox hit .333 and led the league with seven spring training home runs. He did not take this hot streak up north with him as he hit only .188 with two homers in the first 53 games of the season before he was DFA’ed.
So do we have to hop off the Rickard bandwagon before he disappoints when the games actually count? Is Fox a fair comp for Rickard?
I’d say yes, and also no.
Jake Fox had four years of major league experience before tearing up the Grapefruit league in 2011, and players tend to regress to the mean. Fox ended up hitting .243/.313/.443 in that 2011 season, which was around where he had been his entire career up until that point.
With that argument, we have no idea what Rickard will do in 2016. We have no previous MLB stats to see what the “mean” would be, and only have minor league statistics to see how he has performed. Last year between High-A, AA, and AAA, Rickard hit .321/.427/ .447. Over his entire minor league career, he has hit .283/.390/.397.
If he continues to put up numbers similar to that, he can fill a huge need in the Orioles lineup, being a guy who can set up the big boppers lower in the order.
But, there is no way to say that a guy playing well in the minors and tearing up spring training will actually succeed in the majors.
But, we won’t find out whether Rickard will succeed in the majors until he actually plays in the majors.