While Matt Wieters stole the headlines of the Orioles minor league system in 2008, Nolan Reimold was putting up some impressive numbers of his own.
In 358 at bats at AA, Reimold hit .284/.365/.466 with 25 homeruns in 507 at bats that season.
Like Weiters, Reimold started 2009 at AAA. Over his first 31 games, he smashed nine home runs and put up a line of .394/.485/.743 (1.228 OPS). That immense production earned him a call to the big club on May 14.
Reimold started his big league career at an impressive clip. He hit .296 with nine home runs over 135 at bats in May and June.
However, July and August were not as successful. His AVG dipped to .246 with only three home runs in 179 at bats over those two months.
Most of that time he was battling through a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon. That late season slump clearly has mock drafters concerned about his 2010 potential.
According to data from mockdraftcentral.com , Reimold’s current ADP would equal an 18th round pick, which puts him in the same range as Josh Willingham, Cameron Maybin, and Chase Headley. Should his current ADP stick, it could represent a nice value on draft day 2010.
Interestingly enough, given their close ADP ranks, a younger Josh Willingham may be a decent comparable.
Both show decent plate discipline and 20-plus home run power. Reimold, however, has the advantage of a much better home ballpark and a prime age (26).
There is no doubt about Reimold’s power potential. His 15 home runs in 358 at bats in 2009 represent a 23.9 AB/HR rate, which translates to 21 home runs over 500 at bats and 23 home runs over 550 at bats.
There is room for Reimold to improve that rate just a bit, mostly because of fairly good plate discipline.
While he has a track record of striking out about 20 percent of the time, he counteracts that with a good eye and walk rate of over 10 percent.
For a guy capable of 25-plus home runs, Reimold doesn’t swing at a lot of bad pitches (only about 20 percent) and makes just under league average contact.
Don’t be too worried about the .320 BABIP either. Using Derek Carty’s expected BABIP calculator , we find that Reimold’s 2009 BABIP was not far from his xBABIP of .313.
With the July/August slump excused due to an injury and the rookie “wall,” a much more consistent 2010 is reasonable to expect.
The question Nolan Reimold will face in 2010 is playing time. With Adam Jones set in center and Nick Markakis ingrained in right, Reimold has some competition in Felix Pie, who came on strong late in 2009.
In the end, Reimold should get the lion’s share of at bats as the starting left-fielder in Baltimore.
Given between 500 and 550 at bats his production could rival that of a Hunter Pence, Brad Hawpe or Jermaine Dye, all of which have much higher ADP’s.
While he may never be a star-level hitter, it would be wise to keep Reimold on your radar towards the end of 2010 drafts.
Charlie Saponara is the owner/author of fantasybaseball365.com and can be contacted at email@example.com