Tampa Bay Rays: Brian O’Grady Deserves a Major League Opportunity

Brian O'Grady (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Brian O'Grady (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays have compiled a collection of extremely talented players heading into 2020. As a result of the accumulation of their arsenal, very talented players may not get the opportunity they need to break out.

The Tampa Bay Rays may very well be a sleeper World Series contender this season with the incredible assembly of talent they have pieced together. They have arguably the best pitching staff in the AL East. Name one staff that’s better if you disagree. Masahiro Tanaka would be battling for a backend job in this rotation.

On top of the incredible pitching, the Rays have put together the smartest offense in baseball. They may not have a lineup full of All-Star everyday players, but they have a smart manager with an almost limitless amount of lineups to make. Manager Kevin Cash is the conductor in an orchestra of offense. He deftly moves his baton (French for stick) to maximize the sound of the symphony of splits.

Combinations consisting of players that smash both left and right-handed pitching and that play almost any position on the field.

After trading a star player and on-base machine in Tommy Pham, the front office threw fans a lifesaver as they thought they were drowning in a sea of emotion.

Everyone seems to be back on board as they have added Hunter Renfroe, Yoshi Tsutsugo, and Jose Martinez to offset the loss of Pham.

A move that might have gone under the radar was the acquisition of Brian O’Grady. In the minors, he was considered to be a brethren of bash with Reds’ 2019 rookie sensation Aristedes Aquino. In Louisville, O’Grady and Aquino had aspirations of raking their way through the minors and bashing in the majors together. That dream became a reality in August of last season.

On the first day of the month of August in 2019, Aquino was called up. Just seven days later, O’Grady got his first call to the big-league roster.

Aquino went on to bash the record books with his bat while O’Grady struggled in a very limited amount of time.

It wasn’t enough to make a judgment on the slugger, but the Reds decided they would move on when they traded him to the Rays.

Side note: You know you are good when the Rays trade for you.

He has 36 AAA-homers in 154 games.

While he’s slashed .252/.354/.453 over six minor league seasons, last year in AAA-Louisville, he took a major step forward. He posted the highest OPS of his career with 59 extra-base hits with 28 homers and a .359 on-base percentage. It was a lot of damage in only 112 games.

This spring the lefty slashed.348/.400/.739 prior to the coronavirus suspension of play. The Rays have a cluster of OF/1B on their roster which makes this whole thing all that more frustrating for O’Grady.

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They have been playing the 6-2, 215 pounder a lot in centerfield. He’s capable of playing any outfield position and first base. O’Grady will be 28 this season and has proven himself in Triple-A. The baseball gods owe him a legitimate opportunity in the big leagues, whether it’s with the Rays or another team.