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Rookie Review: Nolan Reimold

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Rookie Profile: Nolan Reimold

Nolan Reimold was a second round pick in 2005, out of Bowling Green University, where he'd hit .360/.496/.770 with 20 homers, coming in second in NCAA Division I in slugging. Scouts weren't sure about what his batting average and OBP would look like against pro pitching, but they liked his power. He hit .285/.385/.551 in 73 games in his pro debut, split between Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League and Frederick in the Carolina League. I gave him a Grade B in the 2006 book, noting that he has excellent potential if the strike zone didn't get away from him.

Reimold spent 2006 with Frederick, but had a less impressive season than his debut, hitting .255/.379/.455. He drew 76 walks and stole 14 bases, and his numbers were a bit better than they looked on the surface once you adjusted for league context. He had injury problems, including a sore back and a bad foot, so I cut him some slack with the book grade and left him with a Grade B rating, writing that with better health he could put up much stronger numbers in '07, even at a higher level of competition.

Promoted to Double-A Bowie for 2007, he indeed had the big performance outburst, hitting.306/.365/.565. Alas, it was in just 50 games, as he missed most of the season with a strained oblique. Despite the split numbers, his strike zone judgment went backwards compared to previous standards. He was also now 24 years old. I lowered him slightly to Grade B-, writing that '08 was a critical season for him.

Reimold returned to Bowie for 2008, a rather conservative assignment I thought. He hit .284/.367/.501, with 25 homers, and regained his plate discipline with 63 walks, 82 strikeouts in 507 at-bats. I noted the age problem (now 25) and gave him another Grade B- in the book this year, writing that I thought he would be a solid hitter but probably not a star.

Triple-A Norfolk was Reimold's destination to begin 2009. He thrived there, hitting .394/.485/.743 in 31 games, clearly too good for the competition. Promoted to the majors on May 14th, he had a successful rookie year for the Orioles, hitting .279/.365/.466 in 104 games, hitting 15 homers with 47 walks and 77 strikeouts in 358 at-bats. His performance wasn't out of line for expectation, although it was at the upper end of what you'd expect given his MLEs. UZR doesn't like his glovework, giving him a -10.1 rating on the season. His defensive scouting reports have always been positive, indicating decent corner range and a strong throwing arm. I'd be interested in reports from Orioles fans about how they regard Reimold's defense.

Looking at things month by month, he was effective in May (.863 OPS), June (.940 OPS), then went into a slump in July (.748 OPS) and especially August (.719 OPS) before finishing with a flourish in September (1.006 OPS) before his season ended early with an Achilles injury.

Reimold will be 26 in 2010 and is entering his peak seasons now. I think it's most likely that what you see is what you get here, and that he'll settle in as a .260-.280 hitter with a good on-base percentage and 20 homers in an average year, not a superstar but certainly solid, sort of a Kevin McReynolds, Tom Brunansky type. He may have more than that in him.