2015 Orioles preview: Ryan Flaherty

March 28, 2015 | Luke Jones

With Opening Day just over a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.

March 9 – Adam Jones
March 10 – Chris Tillman
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Zach Britton
March 13 – Chris Davis
March 14 – Wei-Yin Chen
March 15 – Jonathan Schoop
March 16 – Travis Snider
March 17 – Kevin Gausman
March 18 – Alejandro De Aza
March 19 – Tommy Hunter
March 20 – Manny Machado
March 21 – Brad Brach
March 22 – Steve Pearce
March 23 – Darren O’Day
March 24 – Caleb Joseph
March 25 – Wesley Wright
March 26 – Delmon Young
March 27 – Miguel Gonzalez

UTI Ryan Flaherty

Opening Day age: 28

Contract status: Under club control through the 2017 season

Minor-league options remaining: Three

2014 stats: .221/.288/.356, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 33 R, 1 SB, 312 PA

Why to be impressed: Flaherty has played six different positions for the Orioles over the last three years and brings above-average defense to more than one spot. He eventually emerged as the primary third baseman when Manny Machado went down for the season last August and responded by posting an .804 on-base plus slugging percentage in September and hit a respectable .286 with a homer and four runs batted in in the 2014 postseason.

Why to be concerned: The former Rule 5 pick posted a .644 OPS last season and has never taken a significant step forward with the bat despite flashing power and ability from time to time. Considering Flaherty’s strikeout rate of 21.8 is below average, his decline in home run power last season was disappointing to see.

2015 outlook: Flaherty has never shown enough consistency at the plate to warrant an everyday job, but his versatility around the diamond is underrated for a club like the Orioles that prides itself in playing great defense. The left-handed hitter will have some nice stretches here and there, but he’s settled into being a .220 hitter who will hit the occasional homer and play nice defense off the bench. The addition of veteran Everth Cabrera could compromise Flaherty’s status on the 25-man roster if he doesn’t show a little more with the bat when given opportunities.