Catching Up With Reds Minor Leaguer Brian O’Grady


We recently talked with Cincinnati Reds minor league outfielder Brian O’Grady about his college and professional baseball experiences.

Brian O’Grady, drafted in the 2014 first-year player draft out of Rutgers, has been one of the many drafted by the Reds from the school over the last several years. O’Grady spent 2014 with the Reds rookie Billings Mustangs team, and then spent time in 2015 between the Dayton Dragons and the advanced-A ball club, the Daytona Tortugas. In 116 games last season, O’Grady hit .249/.360/.411 with 11 HR and 54 RBI. We had an opportunity to interview O’Grady, and here is what he had to say:

Blog Red Machine: The Reds have drafted a number of players out of Rutgers. When you were drafted you said you were excited to follow in the steps of Todd Frazier. Take me back to when you were drafted. What went through your mind when you got the call?

Brian O’Grady: Todd is probably the best player to ever come from Rutgers and I had the chance to meet him while I was still playing there. He was a guy who showed everybody there that it could be done, and he always helped me out last spring training. But when I got the call from the Reds and heard my name it was the best feeling of my life. All the hard work and time I put in had paid off. I also thought of all the games and places my parents took me to play. It was a special moment.

BRM: You were named third-team all-American Athletic Conference as a first baseman, and third-team all-Big East as an outfielder. You seem to be a very versatile player when it comes to your defense, even playing third base at times in Dayton. What kind of work has gone into your defensive game?

Brian: Growing up I was always an infielder, until my junior year in high school when my coach asked me to play centerfield. It felt really natural when I started playing there, and I stayed there until my last year at Rutgers. We didn’t have any first basemen so my coach asked me if I’d be willing to try it out and I honestly didn’t want to in the beginning. He talked me into it saying it would show how versatile I was, and he was right. Being able to play all over is something I take a lot of pride in now. I take ground balls and fly balls every day. The outfield is like riding a bike for me, so I put extra emphasis on ground balls. It keeps things interesting.

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BRM: You’ve got some impressive numbers when it comes to your on-base percentage. You even had a point where you had a 16-game hitting streak when you played at Dayton. You were also named Offensive Player of the Postseason. You seem to have a great all around game. What has contributed to your success both defensively and offensively?

Brian: I think it starts with being competitive and wanting to be a complete player. I want to have in impact on the game in every way possible. I really love putting in the work to get better every day so I’m prepared to perform on the field. I’ve been lucky enough to have coaches and people who have always been willing to help me with anything. I put in a ton of extra work with my coaches at Rutgers, and the great staff the Reds have are always there to help. The guys I workout with in the offseason at Sluggersville in Philadelphia are the same way. Without everybody I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

BRM: Being a minor league baseball player, what are some of your favorite things about being a minor league player? What might you dislike?

Brian: There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than playing baseball, but the minor leagues definitely have their pros and cons. The places I’ve been able to travel to and play are amazing. The experiences I’ve had in my 2 1/2 years are things I’ll never forget. There’s nothing like being part of a team, especially in the minors, because we really do everything together. The relationships I’ve built will always be there, and I’ve learned different things from all the people I’ve been around. The only thing I dislike about the minor leagues is our salary. I’m not sure what the answer is to pay us more, but it would make things a lot easier to make more than minimum wage.

BRM: Lastly, being in the Reds organization, I know you’ve come across some of former Reds greats such as Tom Browning and Ken Griffey Sr., what have you been able to gain from interactions with some of the guys you’ve talked to?

Brian: It’s really crazy to think about the guys I’ve talked to and get to learn from every day. During spring training I’m taking ground balls with Barry Larkin and Miguel Cairo. It’s hard not to listen and get better when you’re working with a Hall of Famer and a long-time big leaguer. Eric Davis and Darren Bragg are our outfield coordinators and they were both unbelievable players too. I talked to Ken Griffey Sr. about hitting every chance I had last year. Everyone that’s a part of the Reds staff is awesome. I try to get all the advice and tips from these guys that I can. They’ve all helped me to become a professional and understand the game better.