Nolan Reimold began the 2011 season in the lineup at Triple-A Norfolk. He ended it with a huge ninth-inning RBI double for the Orioles against Jonathan Papelbon that capped a big September.
Will it be enough to get him in Buck Showalter's starting lineup as a regular in left field in 2012?
I say the answer to that should be yes.
After a strong rookie season in 2009 and a poor year in 2010, Reimold's bat came to life late last year, again showing fans a glimpse of the kind of player many people feel he can be and will be.
In 22 games in September, Reimold hit .281 with five homers, 17 RBIs, a .578 slugging percentage and a .973 OPS. He also scored 16 runs in the month and went 6-for-6 stealing bases.
When I look at Reimold, I see a player that could be a big run producer and at least average fielder. He always hustles and could probably steal 20-30 bases if he got regular playing time.
Now that Felix Pie is out of the picture and Luke Scott is coming off an injury-plagued year that could see him non-tendered this winter, it's time for Reimold to become the everyday left fielder.
Overall, in 87 games and 267 at-bats last year, Reimold's numbers came up a little short of most of his stats from 2009 when he had 358 at-bats. Last year, he hit .247 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. His OBP was .328 with a slugging of .453 and .781 OPS.
Reimold led the O's in 2011 in at-bats per RBI:
5.9 - Reimold
6.2 - Mark Reynolds
6.6 - J.J. Hardy
6.8 - Adam Jones
He ranked fourth on the team in OPS:
.806 - Reynolds
.801 - Hardy
.785 - Jones
.781 - Reimold
Reimold hit 13 homers last year and if you projected that over 600 at-bats, he would have hit 29.
There is a chance that Reimold's numbers would decrease with more at-bats. But the .781 OPS seems quite reasonable for him, even over 600 at-bats.
Reimold's defense has been less than average at times during his three seasons. But I contend that he has a strong arm and would be solid with regular playing time in left.
In a lineup that counts on others like Jones, Hardy and Markakis to bat in the middle of the order, I think Reimold could thrive if given the chance. He seemed to be making a very good impression on Showalter late last year.
What is your take?: Should Reimold be the left fielder in 2012?