Tampa Bay Rays: Brian O’Grady was acquired from the Reds this off-season. With a shortened schedule O’Grady could be a big contributor for the Rays in 2020.
O’Grady had been working out primarily at Port Charlotte – the alternative site for Rays camp -prior to Austin Meadows’ positive COVID-19 test. The more uncertain Austin Meadows’ future looks with Opening Day this Friday, the more work O’Grady is getting at Tropicana Field.
Monday, O’Grady smashed a double and a home run. In the first go-round with spring training, O’Grady was on fire with a 1.139 OPS, three doubles, two homers, and five RBI in just 23 at-bats.
O’Grady has 36 homers in just 154 Triple-A games. He is a prolific slugger who has more steals than homers in the minors. He is a lefty that hits lefties better than righties, and he hits righties very well. Here’s a look at his splits last season between the MLB and Triple-A:
- .856 OPS vs. RHP
- .980 OPS vs. LHP
According to MLB.com Rays beat writer Juan Toribio, manager Kevin Cash had the following to say about Brian O’Grady.
"“We like him,” Cash said. “We’ve seen nothing not to like about his bat. He can catch a fastball, and he works really hard.”"
Something we’ve discussed in the past is O’Grady’s versatility on defense. He developed into a power hitter as he went along, but when he first got to professional baseball he was a base stealing, speedy centerfielder. He still plays centerfield effectively, has also proven himself at first, third, and anywhere in the outfield.
Cash continued on MLB.com:
"“It’s tough to envision a scenario where he doesn’t help us at some point.”"
Meadows is that matchup-proof left-handed bat that is so integral to the Rays’ lineup. If O’Grady can get off to a hot start, he could prove a viable replacement until Meadows returns.
Even after his return, the versatile slugger appears to be ready for the big leagues.