Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prospect Report - Nolan Reimold

On popular demand (Falco), next up is Nolan Reimold, who has long been one of the headline power-hitting prospects for the Baltimore Orioles. Lost in the magical starting pitching of his Bowie Baysox and the meteoric rise of Matt Wieters has been the steady power bat of this right fielder. Nolan Reimold has played between the 4th and 5th hole in the lineup for the majority of the 2008 season. After years of being slowed by injuries, Nolan is looking to break into the bigs this September and to take residence in left field in Camden Yards.

So, who is Nolan Reimold?
Nolan Reimold was first drafted by the Orioles early in the second round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft out of Bowling Green. Nolan was the MAC Player of the Year in his senior year, and upon drafting immediately became the Orioles premier power prospect, being ranked the O’s 4th best overall prospect at the end of 2005. After blasting out of the gate in 2005, he was set on the fast track in 2006, beginning the season at High-A Frederick. At Frederick Nolan struggled at times with his swing, batting only .255 for the season and striking out 107 times in 415 AB. Reimold still belted 19 homers that season, making the Futures team as a backup. In 2007 Reimold was set off track, suffering an oblique injury early in the season, limiting him to only 50 games with the Bowie Baysox, where he batted .365 with 11 homers. Fully healed with some extra playing time in the Arizona Fall League, he came into the Spring hoping for a shot at making the club in Spring Training; the chance did not come, but this season he has presented a strong case to management that his star isn’t fading. As an everyday player, Nolan Reimold has played in 134 games with the Baysox this season, hitting to a .282 average with 22 home runs.

Strengths: Nolan’s biggest strength is his ability to hit for power to all fields. He has an ideal frame (6’4”, 209 lbs) for a power hitter and does an excellent job of using that leverage in his swing. Complementing that size is surprising speed on the base paths and a very capable defender in the outfield. His stolen base numbers (7 SB in 134 games this season) certainly don’t leap out, but those numbers can be somewhat deceptive. He is a very capable right fielder, and has shown the capacity to play center and left. If he intends to play in Baltimore, certainly that versatility will be necessary to get him to that goal.

Weaknesses: From his drafting, Nolan Reimold’s biggest problem has been his high strikeout rates. This can be attributed to a few factors; (1) maturing knowledge of the strike zone, (2) time lost due to injury, (3) impatience. This season he has cut down on those strikeouts and has improved plate discipline, but certainly this will need more work moving forward. His swing has some holes still in it, and the onus will be on Nolan to make those corrections as he faces higher pitching. If he does that, his future should be in his own hands.

Projection: Because of injuries, Nolan has too often been looked over this season by the fan base when projecting the O’s future. Of the proverbial ‘five tools’ (power, average, speed, arm, defense) Nolan grades out as no less than average at each one. His power is certainly plus, but there is no one tool that would peg Nolan as a one-dimensional player. It’s in that spirit that I believe Nolan will come up to Baltimore following the Bowie playoff run, and compete for a starting job in Spring Training of 2009. Nolan Reimold will make the club out of Spring Training in 2009.

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