Few prospects spark as much debate as Nolan Reimold. Talk to one scout and you come away thinking that he will one day join Nick Markakis in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. Talk to another scout and he'll tell you that Reimold will never make an impact in the major leagues. Reimold didn't help clear much of this up in 2006; he had an up-and-down season marred by recurring injuries to his foot and back. Brilliant early in the season, Reimold was tentative and ineffective in the middle of the season, before coming back strong in August.
DOB: 10/12/83 Height: 6-4 Weight: 207 B/T: R/R
Nolan Reimold's age 22 season:
Reimold is discerning at the plate, but he also has some trouble against breaking balls from right-handers. He'll likely never hit for much of an average and his walk rate and power will have to carry him to the majors. There are those that believe his power will never translate against advanced pitching, but Reimold showed some ability to make adjustments. In particular, he has stopped relying on pulling pitches so much, telling ITW "I always pull off the ball and that's one of my biggest problems, so I always try to work on that. I'm trying to work on going to the opposite field, but that's something that I've been working on a long time." This was apparent by the end of the year, when he started driving the ball to right field with more authority.
Reimold's athleticism is another source of debate amongst scouts. He has a tick above-average speed, but the majority of his steals come from the fact that he has worked hard to become an astute baserunner.
Yet another area of debate amongst scouts, the Orioles are in the camp that believe Reimold can become a plus defender in the outfield. While they've given him looks in centerfield, he's better suited for right field. He has plenty of arm for the position and, despite some awkward routes, Reimold's range should be adequate. There are doubters that believe he will end up at first base, but the more likely scenario is that he is forced to left field when his bat proves ready for the major leagues. The Orioles already have some kid named Nick Markakis in the other corner.
While the spectrum of opinions on Nolan Reimold represent exactly how volatile a prospect he is, the truth is somewhere in the middle on almost all accounts. After hitting .255 in the Carolina League as a 22 year old, it is tough to predict stardom for Reimold. But the Orioles felt he was a relatively raw college product and injuries factored heavily into his somewhat disappointing season totals. At this point, his ceiling looks to be a Pat Burrell-type with more than enough walks and power to make up for a middling batting average. Reimold will start 2007 in double-A Bowie and try to force the Orioles into giving him a September cup of coffee. He should be ready for a full-time gig by mid-2008.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com