Optimism Vs. BaltimoREALITY: Nate McLouth, Nolan Reimold

Whether we get a left field platoon or a DH switch off, both of these guys should be in the lineup on a regular basis. Reimold looked great to start the season last year, and McLouth was the best offensive player for the team in the post season. Are the expectations high for either guy? Let’s take a look. Also go back and look at Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Brian Roberts, Alexi Casilla, Manny Machado, JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones.

Nate McLouth

Optimism

Nate McLouth was a platoon outfielder before the Orioles took a chance on him. He wasn’t even guaranteed a spot at the Major League level until he earned it. Once McLouth was called up he seemed to rekindle the magic that he had as a starter with Pittsburgh.

His defense was good, his numbers were serviceable, and he seemed to be a clubhouse leader. When news came that he was re-signed by the Orioles, it wasn’t a national headline. Only people in Baltimore seemed to care. This made him a low risk signing. And because of all of that, his expectations are not too high. Most people want him to be an every day starter, but the idea of him platooning with Reimold seems to be widely expected. The optimism is that he plays an entire season, plays good defense, and helps out a little offensively.

BaltimoREALITY

For once, the player is underrated. The optimism is actually too low. I view McLouth as a solid #2 hitting everyday starter. He hit .308 in the playoffs last season with a key home run for the team. In the second half alone, he hit 7 home runs and stole 12 bases. Translate those numbers out over a full season and you have a 14 homer 20 stolen base guy. These are exactly the numbers he used to put up in Pittsburgh. They are very solid for #3 outfielder, especially one that will put his body on the line to catch a ball.

McLouth will probably see his fair share of days off, since he hasn’t had to play 152 games since 2008. When he’s on the field he will help produce in some way. Don’t expect the full season numbers that I listed above, because he won’t play more than 150 games. You also shouldn’t expect a very good average.

What you can expect is 10+ key home runs, 15+ stolen bases, a solid #2 hitter, excellent defense, and leadership. What you won’t get out of him are worthless platoon numbers like he put up in years prior. He rejuvenated himself in the minors and in Baltimore. He’s closer to the guy he used to be, but won’t quite play enough to put up those same numbers. Overall, he’s a guy I’m very happy is on the team.

Nolan Reimold:

Optimism

Nolan Reimold will finally stay healthy, play a full season, play most of the games, and hit a nice number of home runs.

BaltimoREALITY

It’s so hard to rely on a guy who hasn’t played more than 104 games in his career. It’s always something with him. At the beginning of the season last year, he appeared to be a breakout player. And then we lost him for the season. Should you be optimistic that he finally puts it all together? Why should you be? What has he done to lead you to believe that he can do it? A small sample size at the beginning of 2012?

I’m keeping my expectations low. My goal for Reimold is to play 130 games. If he does that, I’m happy. The happy will come with it. He had a .276 minor league average, so you should never expect anything over .290 in a season. He does possess 25 homers power, but I’m unsure he will ever make it there.

Reimold needs to DH a lot. A full platoon with McLouth just isn’t smart. McLouth needs to be in the lineup more often than not. Reimold can be in the lineup if he’s healthy and performing. But for now, he needs to DH to stay healthy. On his days off he can be replaced by guys like Betemit and Valencia. As long as these guys aren’t stealing time away from McLouth. He should be the priority. Reimold can become a priority, but he has to prove it first.

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