The Orioles added to their infield depth and got a versatile player recently when they selected Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs organization in the Rule 5 draft.
A left-handed hitter, Flaherty, 25, is a career .278/.346/.462 hitter in four seasons for the Cubs after being selected out of Vanderbilt with the 41st overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .280/.347/.478 with 53 extra-base hits and 88 RBIs in 132 games for Double-A Tennessee (83 games) and Triple-A Iowa (49 games) in 2011.
In Double-A in 2011, he batted .305 with 14 homers, 66 RBIs and a .907 OPS, while at Triple-A he hit .237 with five homers, 22 RBIs and a .676 OPS.
Flaherty has played at second, third, left and right field, and even played some games at shortstop last year.
Baseball America writer Ben Badler saw Flaherty play early last year.
"He doesn't have a defensive position locked in, but he probably would be serviceable at a handful of positions and with probably more offensive upside than some glove-only guys," Badler said. "I saw Flaherty play in April and talked to some scouts about him this past summer. He's not a big, thick guy, but he has a surprising amount of power in his frame. He has good power through the middle of the field, he can really drive the ball.
"He's got a solid approach to hitting. You can fool him some, but the power is plus raw power and he has a solid handle on the strike zone. He's played second, third and corner outfield. He may not excel at second or third but he can handle it capably and could move around some."
Badler was not too surprised Flaherty was available in the Rule 5.
"He struggled some at Triple-A, but every level before that he hit pretty well. He's a little older than you might see for a prospect at his level, but that is probably why he was (available) in the Rule 5. He probably has as good a chance as anyone taken in that draft to stick with his team," Badler said.
"I don't know whether they will use him at several positions or try to settle in at one, but he's probably more than an offensive-oriented utility guy. Utility isn't the right word - it gives more the impression he is a glove-first guy, which isn't really the case. The offensive upside is more intriguing with him than the glove."
Unlike last year, when the Orioles took a real flier on pitcher Adrian Rosario, who was a huge longshot to make the Orioles, Badler feels Flaherty could be that rare Rule 5 pick that makes it through the full season with his new team.
"He is definitely a guy that could stick and play for a role for them in 2012 and maybe even become an everyday player for them down the road," he said.