After designating first baseman Jesus Aguilar for assignment, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired outfielder Brian O’Grady from the Reds for cash and a player to be named later. Get to know the Rays’ newest option in the outfield:
The Tampa Bay Rays are always in the market for high-upside players who have failed to produce at the big league level with other clubs and they found someone who fits that blueprint perfectly in Brian O’Grady. After making his debut and struggling last season with the Cincinnati Reds, the left-handed swinging O’Grady will now take his power and speed to Tampa Bay as he attempts to crack a roster filled with left-handed pop.
The 27-year-old native of Westminster, Pennsylvania was drafted by the Reds in the 8th round of the 2014 draft. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing in at 215 pounds, his combination of power and speed that he showcased at AAA last season is hard to find.
In 584 games spread across 6 seasons in the minors, O’Grady slashed .252/.354/.453 with an .807 OPS and 76 bombs and 85 stolen bases. While those numbers may not jump off the page, his 2019 numbers at AAA do.
With Cincinnati’s AAA affiliate in Louisville, O’Grady appeared in 112 games and had a fantastic year. He slashed .280/.359/.550 with a .909 OPS. He hit 28 bombs and drove in 77 runs while racking up 30 doubles and 20 stolen bases.
When given a chance at the major league level, those numbers didn’t translate as he slashed .190/.292/.429 with a .720 OPS across 48 plate appearances with a pair of bombs.
While his potential didn’t exactly pan out in Cincinnati, there is no reason that it can’t with the Rays. His power is evident and when you pair it with his speed, he could be a useful 4th outfielder off the bench. Like many players that the Rays scoop up, O’Grady is a project but could prove to be a nice depth piece next season.
His arrival could also signal the possible non-tendering of Guillermo Heredia who will be hard pressed to crack the opening day roster if the Rays can find a fourth outfielder who can hit for power from the right side. Similar to Heredia, O’Grady posseses speed but also can hit for power which is something that Heredia isn’t known for. In essence, the Rays may view O’Grady as a cheaper alternative for Heredia.