11 December 2015

Taking A Look At Joey Rickard

The Orioles signed Joey Rickard in the 2016 Rule V Draft. After a 2014 in AA, Rickard had a strong 2015 in the minors with an overall .321/.427/.447 line and a .360/.437/.472 line in AAA fueled primarily by an unsustainable high .457 BABIP. Rickard has excellent plate discipline as he had a walk rate above 10% in the minors from 2013 to 2015 with a strikeout rate in the 15-20% range but minimal power with just 3 HRs in the past two seasons. Steamer projects him to have a .246/.315/.340 line in the majors this year with a respectable 9.6% BB rate and a 19.2% K rate. Joey Rickard has played at all three outfield positions in the minors but primarily is used at the corners and was named the Rays Baserunner of the Year.

Dan Duquette described Rickard (reported by Steve Melewski) as:

He has good on-base capability, good speed. Excellent contact hitter, can steal a base. And he's a good defensive player, and he played center field and left. We think he gives us some depth. He just looks like he learned how to play. Looks like a good solid, overall ballplayer. Good discipline in the strike zone and we look forward to taking a look at him in the spring.

Jon Shepherd was less than impressed with this signing as he feels that Rickard is a professional 5th outfielder and doesn’t fill any needs. He also stated that Rickard is a solid 40/45 with the bat with decent speed but isn’t considered much of a prospect. He seems to be a player with a decent chance to stick but with minimal upside and ceiling. My impression is that he seems to be slightly less regarded than Flaherty when the Orioles drafted him.

Rickard hasn’t been ranked in the top 100 in any overall prospect list based on scouting that I’m familiar with nor considered one of the Rays top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline. But he was ranked 98th in KATOH’s Top 100 Prospects list. This metric likely overrates Rickard because it only considers one year of stats meaning that it disregards his poor 2014. Indeed, his 2015 stats project that he’ll be worth 3.8 fWAR through 28 but his 2014 statistics project that he’ll be worth 0 fWAR through 28.

Steve Melewski recently had a discussion with Dan Duquette about KATOH where Dan noted that he saw the list and that it reflects well on the Orioles’ farm system and scouting staff. Duquette argued that “these rankings speak for themselves. Five prospects in the top 71 shows that Orioles scouts are doing a good job.”

It seems possible that KATOH’s projection that Rickard would be a top player may have been a contributing factor to the Orioles selecting him. Teams typically only use their own internal analysis to actually grade players but it is known that they are familiar with outside sources such as Baseball America. It is reasonably clear that Dan Duquette was familiar with KATOHs rankings and if nothing else could give them an impetus to look at him closer especially if they were already interested.

At the moment, the Orioles are lacking starting caliber outfielders. Rickard probably isn’t good enough to be an optimal starter. Problem is that the Orioles’ current outfielders aren't particularly good either so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in left field with Reimold in right field. In the future, if he can play center field then he’s a reasonable candidate for the fourth outfielder spot. That’s probably as high as his ceiling goes, but then again he only cost 50k. Whatever he provides is a bonus.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

KATOH says a 3.8 WAR by 28. That is not a "top player". That is a "decent bench player".

I hope the Orioles are not using KATOH or Baseball America to find players.

Anonymous said...

If he plays the field almost as good as Lough but hits more then he is an upgrade. And, if there's no spark then send him packing and write off the $50K. Seems like a reasonable risk. The O's have stuck with Flaherty and got something they like in his second year...... options.

Philip said...

So Jon didn't like Rickard.
Did he say why? And did he say who he'd have preferred, given the guys available when the Orioles picked?
I think this guy has exactly what the Os need: high walk rate, a good eye and speed in base and in the field.
We don't care about homers. If he gets on base that's something we lack.

Jon Shepherd said...

Yeah...I think Matt mentioned that he is a solid 40/45 across the board with decent speed. That speed is not Lough's. Lough's speed played in the field but not on the paths. Rickard does not have the field speed and likely lacks the techinque for it to matter on basepaths. Contact and walk rate guys tend to face difficulty in the majors with pitchers more able to deliver high quality pitches on the edge of the zone. I mean, look at Hoes.

Who would I have preferred? That is not the point. My assessment is that the guy is marginal. Was there a better choice? I liked Goeddel. He was taken first. Others were similarly marginal. Again the point is not what else I would have prefered, but what this guy represents.

Anonymous said...

I think this guy grades out better than Hoes.

Jon Shepherd said...

Based on what people I know say, he and Hoes are similar. Hoes has more history. Rickard was never considered much of a prospect. It is hard not to get on a single top 30 prospect ranking list for your organization and wind up being a useful player. Not impossible, but very hard.

Matt Perez said...

I should have said high ranked prospect instead of player. Bad word choice on my part.

I can live with using KATOH or Baseball America as a way to just see if there's anyone interesting that they should be looking at that they maybe haven't. I would sure hope they trust their scouts more than Baseball America and that they have better analytical methods than KATOH. They should have more data available to them then the public does. I wouldn't want KATOH to have any influence in the decision process and would be surprised if BA had much influence.

I don't think this guy is as good defensively as Lough. A Hoes comparison makes sense. Flaherty was unquestionably a better prospect. Then again, it's not like the Os have any great outfielders that this guy would be blocking. So, for $50K it makes sense to have this guy as the fourth outfielder and I wouldn't be stunned if he ended up starting in left field. It seems like the Os are going with a typical quantity over quality approach.

Philip said...

Where can I find a players tool scores?
I looked up various scouting reports but didn't find the actual assessment of how any player scores in the various categories.
Also, why is each score stated 3 times?
40/40/45 for instance?
It is far more important to develop good players from scratch because of cost, and I find the subject very interesting, so if you can steer me somewhere I'd be grateful.

Matt Perez said...

Fangraphs provides some tool scores on their player pages. I don't follow prospects closely enough to grade them and therefore relied on Jon's scores. You'll have to ask him for more information.

Jon Shepherd said...

Philip...first you start a blog, then you write for 8 years, and then you know people. That basically is what one has to do. There really are no comprehensive sources out there and you really need a large pool of grades on a single player to truly appreciate what the industry actually thinks of him.

What does 40/40/45 mean, typically? The first number is the now value, the second is the floor, and the last is the reasonable ceiling (reasonable roughly meaning that the guy might have a 1 in 5 shot hitting that).

What is the scale? 20-80 scale. Originally, it was meant for 50 to be the mean MLB player with each 10 representing a standard deviation of one. That has mutated a bit to fit specific team needs, lack of understanding about statistics, and somewhat arbitrary assumptions. Regardless, it tends to boil down to this. 20 - low minors filler, 30 - organizational filler, 40 - AAA/Bench, 50 - Average Starter, 60 - All Star, 70 - MVP, 80 - Jesus. Some evaluators refuse to use 80. Others will pepper it is for a specific tool, but never use it for a player in total.

Philip said...

Thanks for the explanation. I appreciate that as an unskilled amateur, I don't have access to your reference materials, and I wouldn't understand some of it if I did,
But I cannot imagine there's not some kind of "mlbscoutingreports.com" or some such.
Until a player is drafted, scouting reports are probably-and properly-top secret, but once the choice is made, no reason to keep them secret.
Plus I was able to find a quite detailed scouting report on Caleb Josep(completely negative and totally incorrect and I hope the guy who wrote it was fired) just by googling it.
So I expected the same for Rickard.
Thanks again for the reply!

Jon Shepherd said...

Drafted players can be acquired players, so clubs hold those things tight. I would be surprised if the Joseph report was an organizational report.

Vance Oestreich said...

I'm curious how a guy who won baserunner of the year in the rays system gets described by Jon Shepherd as "likely lacks the techinque for it ( his speed) to matter on basepaths." I'm also curious why he's not considered for rf seemingly though he's spent much of his time there and his fielding stats appear best there. I assume it's due to a lack of arm strength by major league standards but as a late inning replacement does this matter much?

Vance Oestreich said...

I'm curious how a guy who won baserunner of the year in the rays system gets described by Jon Shepherd as "likely lacks the techinque for it ( his speed) to matter on basepaths." I'm also curious why he's not considered for rf seemingly though he's spent much of his time there and his fielding stats appear best there. I assume it's due to a lack of arm strength by major league standards but as a late inning replacement does this matter much?

Jon Shepherd said...

Remember when Joe Mahoney swiped twenty some bases in the low minors? No one was pegging him to be of much importance on the basepaths. Two things to keep in mind, base running skills and speed issues can be hidden when you have pitchers and catchers with poor technique. As Rickard moved up the minors, his ability to steal bases began to evaporate and this largely has to do with his base running skills not working well with more advanced pitchers and catchers.

As with most awards, I would not get too hung up on them.