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.