I honestly don't understand this one.
Every time I see a fan leave a comment on a Baltimore Orioles related blog online mentioning the needs of the team, left field makes the list without fail.
Does everyone just forget about Nolan Reimold, or what's the deal with that?
The jury is not out on what that kid can do. He hasn't had a real consistent chance since 2009. His recovery from an Achilles' injury killed his 2010, and up until the end of the 2011 season, he wasn't getting to play on an everyday basis.
Believe it or not, but that's pretty necessary in determining whether or not a prospect can become a quality major league player.
I understand his defense wasn't great this past season, but defensive ability can improve. He was very solid in left during his 2009 campaign, so I have to think his struggles there this season were related to his past injury (Achilles injury can take a very long time to recover fully from, longer than many people realize) and inconsistent playing time.
If he goes home this offseason and works on his fielding, it's quite possible he comes into spring training in 2012 back to being the solid defender he once was. He has the speed, the arm and the instincts. He just needs the reps.
His bat could really help the team. Everyone knows he has a lot of pop in his bat, and though his average needs work, that too can be related to his lack of consistent playing time and just getting over his Achilles injury.
Tying his career high in RBI this past season in more than 100 fewer plate appearances, Reimold has the skills to be a run-producer during his career. He has a great awareness of the strike zone, massive power and is one of the few major league ballplayers who runs out every pop-up, every routine grounder like it's his last chance to get a base hit during his lifetime.
If you were to stretch out his homer and RBI numbers from this past year over a full season's worth of play, he end up with roughly 25-30 big flies and 85-100 run driven in. I'd take those numbers from my left fielder, even with a .240 average, though I'd fully expect that to come up if he played on a daily basis. Having a decent batting average is a tough thing to do when you aren't kept fresh in game situations every day.
What's more, he can take the walk when given it, and will even occasionally steal a base.
I'm fully convinced that Reimold could become a good major-league player; a better version of Josh Willingham, but a little worse than Matt Holliday, though very similar to those two players.
Heck, if it weren't for his Achilles injury that ended his 2009 rookie campaign prematurely, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
I'm not trying to make excuses for the young player, I'm just trying to show that he's had a tough time proving himself and argue that he needs to be given a legitimate chance to do so in the 2012 season.
He's had to deal with some tough obstacles while trying to prove himself already throughout his somewhat short major-league career, from his Achilles injury to the unspecified personal issues he dealt with in 2012 to being used as a platoon player. It's time he's given a full season to become that big, all-around good, middle-of-the-order right-handed bat the team would love to have.
And really, who is out there that the O's can sign who's a better option than Nolan?
Give the guy a chance. He proved enough to me this season for me to back him up.