Nolan Reimold, outfielder
What happened to him?
Nolan Reimold had a terrific 2009. He blistered International League pitching for just over a month and continued to play well when he was recalled to Baltimore. He was a fringe Rookie of the Year candidate until he got hurt and missed the month of September (.279/.365/.466 in 104 games). The injury was still affecting him in spring training 2010; he wasn’t able to get in top condition, played miserably, and was sent to Norfolk. At first, he was favoring his injury, then he started pressing. He was flailing at pitches out of the strike zone, hitting weak grounders and popups. Then, right around the All-Star break, he either got his timing back or relaxed. He took many more walks and hit the ball with more authority. He final Norfolk numbers (.249/.364/.374) aren’t good, but considering where we was, they’re not bad. When he was recalled in September, he played sparingly and unimpressively.
Ultimately, I think his off-year can be attributed to his 2009 injury.
Will he come back?
I think he can get back to where he was, if not necessarily to where Orioles fans thought he might be going. Remember that Reimold played 2010 at age 26; his 27th birthday is October 12. 2007 (his age 23 year) was another year wasted by injury. While I do think his 2009 season is legit, he probably doesn’t have much more room to grow. And while there are plenty of young players who missed a year with injury with little effect (Moises Alou, Chipper Jones, Larry Walker, to name three) once a player has that second serious injury, he becomes a question mark. I think as long as you accept that Reimold’s not going to be a star, he’s worth keeping around — he’ll plug the hole and/or be a useful bench part.