Currently, the Baltimore Orioles have four players (Luke Scott, Nolan Reimold, Felix Pie, and Ty Wigginton) vying for two spots in the lineup.
The Orioles are leaning towards Luke Scott in the designated hitter spot and Nolan Reimold playing in left. However, I am not too certain that will benefit the team the most.
First off, I am not trying to bash any of these four guys; I am simply trying to justify why or why not they should have an opportunity for the last two spots in the lineup. Unfortunately, baseball is still a business, and with a team that is moving more and more towards youth, it leaves some guys on the outside looking in.
Last year was an interesting year for the Orioles, as Baltimore moved towards developing its youth and saw the emergence of future stars.
Dave Trembly and the Orioles looked to gain experience with their youth last year. However, with one year under their belt, Baltimore is counting on this young corp to turn around Baltimore’s losing ways. There are still questions for the Orioles and will even be as the Orioles get closer to opening day.
Scott has become a fan and organization favorite. He represents what the game of baseball is about and has the power to hit 40 home runs, but his inconsistencies are keeping him from reaching it.
In 2009, Scott had a roller coaster of a season, hitting over .300 before the all-star game, only to follow that with a batting average hovering above the Mendoza line. Scott finished the season with 25 homeruns and a .258 batting average.
However, there is some hope for Scott and the Orioles. Last year, he hit .296 in the six hole with 21 homeruns. With some added protection around him, Scott could become a force to be reckoned with in the AL East.
Last year, Reimold put together an impressive rookie season. Orioles’ fans were finally able to see Andy MacPhail unveil his vision for the O’s.
Furthermore, it brought about a new sense of excitement in Baltimore.
Reimold put his power on display, hitting 15 home runs in a short rookie year. However, if there was one reason of concern for the Orioles, Reimold's fielding and speed is sub-par at best. In just over 700 innings last year, Nolan Reimold committed five errors in the outfield. Also, it constantly appeared that Reimold took poor angles to fly balls in the outfield.
Another reason of concern for the O’s is Remold’s durability. Last season, Reimold battled tendinitis in his Achilles tendon. During Reimold’s time on the 15-day DL, Baltimore saw the emergence of Felix Pie. Pie came into the second half of the season with a pedestrian .234 batting average. However, Pie would go on to hit .290 in the second half and knock seven homeruns in only 48 games.
Furthermore, Pie’s defense and speed is superior to Reimold. Last year, in a total of 583 innings spent in the outfield, Pie only committed two errors. He also managed to pick up five assists.
Baltimore had also added Garret Atkins to the mix this off-season, but if he is not able to produce in spring training, Reimold or Luke Scott could take over the job at first.
Unfortunately, for Ty Wigginton it is hard to present reason why he should have a chance at a spot in Baltimore’s lineup. Wigginton has all the ability to hit 20+ home runs, but with three other guys that have the same ability it is hard to stand out.
His glove is nothing special and he lacks speed as well. Last year, Wigginton hit .270 with only 11 home runs. He hit for a higher average after the all star game (.292), yet his power did not see any gain (five home runs).
Wigginton will most likely see his time as a platoon infielder, but he also could be dealt sometime before or after spring training.
Baltimore is out of options with utility men Robert Andino and Felix Pie; most likely leaving Wigginton as the odd man out. Also, the trade of Wigginton would allow the Orioles to carry an extra arm in the bullpen.
With only two spots available and four guys vying for them, the Baltimore Orioles have a lot of evaluation to do between now and opening day. After one of the worst seasons in the history of Baltimore, there is an overwhelming need and hope for the Orioles to once again become a winning team in the AL East.