Player versatility in the O’s minors

There is a subtle change coming to the O’s minor leagues.

It might even be one a lot of fans won’t notice. There are indications the Orioles will begin to use some of their prospects and maybe others as well at multiple positions.

It’s worth seeing if a player can play multiple positions and it just makes sense. It’s the minors, that’s where you should be learning about your players and experimenting.

This may not apply to every player, but it’s expected to begin to be something they look at with some of their players.

I say it’s about time.

Exhibit A for me is Nolan Reimold. The O’s kept sending Reimold to right field in the minors, even after Nick Markakis was entrenched in right in Baltimore.

Reimold was a prospect that could hit and in 2008 batted .284-25-84 with Bowie. But he played in right for the Baysox with just a few starts in left field, even though he was getting closer to the Majors every day.

It was not until playing in the Arizona Fall League after that 2008 season that Reimold moved to left. He began the 2009 season as a left fielder for Triple-A Norfolk and got off to hot start at the plate.

When he was called up to the Orioles on May 14 last year to take over as the starter in left, he had only about 50 games in left under his belt: that AFL experience and those Norfolk games.

No wonder he took some poor routes to balls and at times was tentative out in left. It was pretty new him to him and he was still learning the position in the Majors. To me, that was more the organization’s fault than it was his own.

He should have played that entire 2008 season with Bowie as a left fielder to gain experience there. Because he is a big guy that projected as a possible power hitter, you wonder why the O’s also didn’t try Reimold some at first base earlier in the minors.

But until he started at first for Norfolk on Sunday, he had never started a single minor league game at first base.

Moving forward, that should be different in the minors, and a big guy like Reimold would not be playing first base for the first time in his sixth season in the minors.

The more positions a player can play, the more valuable he will become, and it helps to make the lineup more flexible and just in so many ways.

This is a move that makes sense for the minors.

Maybe in the future a talent like Reimold won’t be playing a position every night in the minors that is spoken for at the Major League level.

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