The Orioles have found an unlikely new key player for their future in the past month.
Not Matt Weiters; he's been the catcher of the future since the day the O's drafted him.
I'm talking about left fielder Nolan Reimold.
Going into Friday night's game against the Phillies, Reimold is batting .283 with 7 HR ands 16 RBI in 31 games. That's pretty good considering Reimold wasn't even supposed to be the O's left fielder of the future.
That tag was given to newcomer Felix Pie, acquired in a trade with the Cubs for pitcher Garrett Olson. After Pie struggled and Ryan Freel was traded, the O's called up Reimold on May 14.
He started out hot, getting his first hit that night and then getting his first home run six days later off future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera. One week later, he cemented his status as left fielder of the future with a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th to lift the O's to a 12-10 win over the Blue Jays.
Reimold was a second-round pick out of Bowling Green back in 2005. He began making his presence known in the minors immediately, becoming a New York-Penn League All-Star and the MVP of the Carolina League All-Star Game. However, an oblique strain in 2007 prolonged his stay in the minors.
After another stellar season in 2008, Reimold appeared ready to come up to the majors. However, he started out at AAA Norfolk until he was called up on May 14.
If Reimold continues to produce like he has so far, there is no question he will be remain a member of the Orioles outfield alongside Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
If it's any indication of what will happen in the future, as I was writing this Reimold hit a solo home run in the top-of-the-ninth against the Phillies, giving him eight in 103 at-bats. As color commentator Buck Martinez pointed out, over a full season with about 500 at-bats this translates to 40 home runs. Expect to see Nolan Reimold roaming left field for a very long time.