Monarchs Reload Roster With Two Big Leaguers, AAPB Star

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two big leaguers and a former adversary are coming to the Kansas City Monarchs in the club’s latest blockbuster move.

Power bat Brian O’Grady, outfielder Aaron Whitefield and infielder Peter Maris have all signed with the Monarchs, the American Association club announced Tuesday.

The moves re-load the Monarchs roster after the club had three players transferred to the Mexican League in the last eight days. They’ll provide an immediate boost to a club already tied for first in their division.


Born in Philadelphia, O’Grady has 62 games of MLB experience with the Reds, Rays and Padres. The 31-year-old has hit four MLB home runs, including two with San Diego in 2021.

O’Grady had connections to the Monarchs before joining the team. Shawn Pender, the Reds’ vice president of player development, is a longtime friend of Calfapietra’s and helped make the signing happen. Pender, O’Grady and Calfapietra all hail from Philadelphia. 

Calfapietra says he’s excited to add O’Grady’s left-handed power to what has been a righty-dominated Monarchs lineup.

An eighth-round draft pick by the Reds out of Rutgers University in 2014, O’Grady made his big-league debut with the Reds in 2019.

Last season, O’Grady played in Japan with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball. He hit 15 home runs in 123 games in what’s considered the most competitive league in the world outside of MLB.

O’Grady started the 2023 season with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles before heading to the Monarchs.


An outfielder known for his outstanding defense, Whitefield made his MLB debut in 2020 with the Twins. He returned to the big leagues with the Angels in 2022.

Born in Brisbane, Australia, Whitefield has represented his country at two World Baseball Classics as well as the 2019 Premier12.

Calfapietra said he heard about Whitefield’s eye-popping defense from former T-Bones manager Kenny Hook. Hook was Whitefield’s hitting coach in Double-A last season.

“He told me how he’s a plus-plus defender, has plus-plus speed,” Calfapietra said.

The 26-year-old has played six seasons on home soil in the Australian Baseball League, most recently teaming up with fellow Monarchs outfielder Jacob Robson with the Melbourne Aces a few months ago.

Whitefield made his pro debut in the states in 2015 with the Twins organization at the age of 18. He earned Postseason All-Star honors in the Gulf Coast League the following season.

By 2019 he was in Double-A; he’d earn the call to the majors the following season.

The native of Philadelphia moved to the Angels organization in 2022, breaking into the big leagues that May. He owns eight career MLB appearances.

He began the 2023 season with Double-A Rocket City in the Angels’ system.


Maris joins the Monarchs after winning a league title with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks last season.

A versatile infielder who can play short, second and third, Maris was the RedHawks’ leadoff hitter in 2022. He earned the league’s Batter of the Month award for August.

“He’s one of those guys that’s a tough out. I think we could use a little bit of that,” Calfapietra said. “We have such a good lineup, I feel, but having another guy that’s going to grind out at-bats is important.”

The Southern California native hit a career-high 20 home runs and 31 doubles over 95 games with the RedHawks last season. He hit .265 with two home runs in the playoffs. That included a West Division Finals win over the Monarchs.

The 29-year-old is in his eighth professional season and second in the American Association. Signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Rays in 2015, he’d made his Triple-A debut in 2019 with the Giants organization.

Over six affiliated seasons, Maris owns a career .269/.345/.404 slash line. He began the 2023 season in the Mexican League, collecting 10 hits in 18 games between Oaxaca and Monclova.

Maris can play shortstop, second base and third base, a key asset for Calfapietra as he builds his lineup.

The Monarchs start a three-game road series against the Kane County Cougars on Tuesday before heading back home to Kansas City this weekend. Find their full schedule at