Joey Rickard makes it so that the Sporcle quiz in 2024 that asks you to name every outfielder on the 2019 roster will be one of the most difficult tests of your entire life. He’s been called up to replace Shaun Anderson, who hit the IL with a burst blister on his pitching finger. I don’t think I’ll pass that future Sporcle, but here are all the names I can recall off the top of my head:
Rickard drafted by the Rays in the 9th round of the 2012 draft before hooking on with the Orioles as a Rule 5 pick in 2014. The Giants grabbed him off waivers from the Orioles back in June. Here he is hitting a home run off his old team:
It bums me out to no end that it’s pronounced “RICK-erd” and not “rih-CARD” because now all these Jean-Luc Picard references I’d planned just won’t work. I wanted to deploy them because as big of a Star Trek nerd as I am, I’m mainly trying to cover up for Rickard’s various baseball-related flaws.
Rickard is another 28-year old castoff from the Orioles this season, but the difference between him and Mike Yastrzemski largely comes down to OBP. Yastremzski has a career minor leageu OBP of .344, Rickard’s is .387. But despite that home run clip, Rickard doesn’t have Yastrzemski’s pop (.412 slug compared to .441).
Most importantly, he’s already played in parts of four seasons. Sure, they were for the Orioles, but still, he got into 111 games in 2017 and produced just .241/.276/.345 in 277 plate appearances. He’s both been around for a while and not produced when given an extended look in the majors. Not a great combination. For context: Austin Slater made his debut in 2017 at the age of 24.
He was the Orioles’ #14 prospect on MLB Pipeline in 2015. Right behind him? Mike Yastrzemski.
A right-handed hitter, Rickard has a short, quick swing that yields a lot of contact, and he does a good job of using the whole field. His on-base skills have improved as he’s moved up the ladder, thanks to a mature approach and advanced feel for the strike zone, and he knows how to use his plus speed when he gets on.
Rickard’s speed also makes him a rangy defender in the outfield, and he’s capable of playing all three positions.
Rickard’s poor major league track record hasn’t totally killed his chances, though. His on base percentage in Triple-A this year has been .406, so some version of that eye is still there. He’s a better outfield defender than Slater, and so he might be able to stick as a late game defensive replacement and pinch hitter.
Meanwhile, Sam Selman gets to come right back to claim Steven Duggar’s injury spot. Selman hasn’t looked great, but the Giants just need fresh arms to get through the weekend.