SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles are the most Rule 5 friendly team in baseball. They have the longest current streak of selecting players in the Rule 5 draft, 10 years, and three of the last four selections are still with the team.
Joey Rickard, meet Ryan Flaherty, T.J. McFarland and Jason Garcia.
Flaherty, who was taken in the 2011 Rule 5 draft began the current succession of players who taken by the Orioles. Only Michael Almanzar, who was picked two years ago, did not make the major league club, and he’s still in the organization.
The 24-year-old Rickard, was taken from the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s trying to become the latest Rule 5 success.
“I wasn’t aware of the number of guys they’ve taken. A couple of guys have told me,” Rickard said.
He wasn’t expecting to be taken nor did he think the Orioles had shown interest in him.
“I didn’t really know. I knew there was always an outside chance. It got closer and closer and people were starting to come up to me and tell me things. You never really know about things until they happen,” Rickard said.
“There wasn’t really a specific team. It was more of just, hey keep your eyes open, you never know. Don’t be surprised when it happens because there’s a good chance.”
Last year, Rickard raced through three levels, beginning in the Florida State League and ended in Triple-A. With Durham, the hit .360 in 29 games.
“I had a lot of fun last year. You just realized it’s the same game with different players. You’ve just got to keep competing and not try and do too much.”
Rickard will have a difficult time making the Orioles, but his speed and on-base percentage will help him.
“Those are my strengths. That might have been their weaknesses, I don’t know. I’m just going to go out there and play my game and hopefully they like what they see,” Rickard said.
Manager Buck Showalter said that Rickard will get a lot of playing time this March. "[He's] an athletic guy that runs well," Showalter said.