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What can we really expect of Nolan Reimold?

Nolan Reimold is one of the more debated prospects in the Orioles system. Coming into the 2007 season, SBN prospect guru John Sickels had Reimold graded as a B prospect, ranked third in the O's system. With the addition of Matt Wieters and the emergence of Chorye Spoone and others, I can't see ranking Nolan third anymore.

Baseball Prospectus had this to say in the 2007 book:

If you're going to be one-dimensional, you need to be great in that dimension, not just good. Reimold is a poor defender, doesn't hit for average at all, and has good power, maybe very good, but definitely not great. He has had back problems, which one could plausibly argue sapped some of his power, but that's about the only way to spin back problems in a 22-year old as a positive.

It doesn't speak well for Reimold. And it's very true -- a guy his age with back trouble is bad news. That's a red flag. Take into account that he's a big dude (6'4", 207 listed) and a bad outfielder, and you're looking at a guy that may need to move to first base, which is, of course, the eventual destination of Billy Rowell.

Reimold, now a fresh 24 years of age, has had an inconsistent young career.

Year  Team (Level)         AB    AVG    OBP    SLG   HR  RBI   BB    K
2003 Bowling Green (NCAA) 140 .329 .414 .393 1 17 16 21
2004 Bowling Green (NCAA) 171 .404 .493 .749 13 57 25 25
2005 Bowling Green (NCAA) 178 .360 .496 .770 20 62 40 36
Aberdeen (A-) 180 .294 .392 .550 9 30 29 44
Frederick (A+) 83 .265 .371 .554 6 11 12 27
2006 Frederick (A+) 415 .255 .379 .455 19 75 76 107
2007 GCL Orioles (Rookie) 30 .233 .410 .433 0 8 6 4
Bowie (AA) 186 .306 .365 .565 11 34 17 47
Phoenix (AFL) 63 .270 .378 .492 4 11 8 22

The numbers in Phoenix are fair enough, though hardly anything to really get excited about. His sample size results in Bowie are sort of encouraging -- the power is good and his average spiked, but his OBP dropped a hair along with it.

I don't know what, exactly, I make of Reimold, but I think it'd be an upset if he wound up being an effective major leaguer in the long term. I think, at best, he'll be similar to Kevin Mench, maybe better plate discipline.

I do think he'd probably be worth checking out in spring training, really giving him a shot to win the left field job. Jay Payton is a bum and, if healthy, Reimold could've put up his numbers with relative ease at a fraction of the cost this season. But I also think Jeff Fiorentino could have. And lots of guys.