When Baltimore Orioles fans -- or any baseball fans, for that matter -- hear the name Ryan Ripken, their minds will almost immediately go to another player: Ryan Ripken's father and Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.
Ryan Ripken just wants to be who he is, though; he wants people to get to know him first. His way of doing that is developing as a player and rising through the minors with the Orioles.
"I'd say these last two years, I've had a lot of chances to get to know myself as a player," Ripken said on
Glenn Clark Radio
June 13. "The exciting thing is you get to go out and face a better competition as you move up, and you still have to learn to adjust. And that's the cool part. I'm still starting to figure out some of those things ... through the ups and downs. But it's been a fun ride."
After being drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2014 and signing with the Orioles in 2017, Ripken is getting his first opportunity to play High-A ball with the Frederick Keys this year. The first baseman is hitting .234/.273/.394 with 22 hits, three home runs in 94 at-bats throughout 26 games.
Now with his third team in three seasons since joining the Orioles, Ripken is starting to get more comfortable with his power stroke. There were points at the end of last season with Low-A Delmarva that he "felt like things were connected," and he's been trying to replicate that ever since.
"I've found that I've had more consistent results," Ripken said. "You have your ups and downs, and that's the hard part to manage, but I definitely think I'm starting to tap into it now. Now, it's just about going out there and being consistent with it."
Ripken started his pro career by being hampered by injuries that kept off the field. Now at age 25, Ripken doesn't want to push his body too hard to try and get some of that time back.
"[The injuries] hurt my development, but I can't control any of those things that happened, and the only thing I can control is where I am now," Ripken said. "I know that if I fixate on the what-ifs and try to push to get to a level I'm not at, I'm no longer present. And if I'm not present in the moment, I can't help the team the best I can."
There are some who don't make the connection between Ripken and his father, at least not initially. That gives Ripken a sense of accomplishment because he wants to create his own path.
And with the Orioles rebuilding their organization from the ground up, there might be a chance for Ripken to take another step toward reaching that goal.
"It's no secret that the Orioles are rebuilding," Ripken said. "And because of that, there are a lot of opportunities and you can really make a good impression on the new regime. I think that's the cool thing that everyone believes they have a chance to make an impact and keep moving up. So there's definitely a lot of competitiveness and guys keep it loose a lot. But the work ethic is there and it's been a lot of fun to be a part of."
For more from Ripken, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Patrick Cavey