Lost in all the Chris Davis and Manny Machado hoopla has been Nate McLouth‘s stellar season as the dish for the Orioles. Talk about being overlooked. McLouth returned to Baltimore on a one-year, $2 million deal after 55 games in the orange and black last season.
He was cut loose by the Pirates on May 31 2012, signed a minor league deal with the Birds on June 5 and remained in Triple-A Norfolk until August 4. He filled in admirably in left field, hitting .268/.342/.435 with 12 doubles and 18 RBI in 236 plate appearances.
This season, McLouth has taken his game to another level. As the O’s leadoff man, he is hitting .311/.381/.452 in 198 plate appearances. His 22 walks in 49 games matches his total in 55 games with the Orioles a season ago. His 19 stolen bases are the most he’s recorded since 2009 and he’ll probably steal a few more since there 105 games left on the schedule.
The big knock against McLouth is his production against left handed pitchers. This season he’s hitting .217/.280/.478 against southpaws compared to the .309/.385/.426 slashline he’s posted against righties. However, on Sunday we watched Dash tie the game against Tigers with a single to center off Tigers lefty Phil Coke.
McLouth has been one of many pleasant surprises for the Orioles and another quality move by GM extraordinaire, Dan Duquette.