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The Next Big Thing: Nolan Reimold

Matt Wieters naturally gets all the attention, but the Orioles have another good hitting prospect in Nolan Reimold and they called up the 25-year-old outfielder yesterday to help fill in for the injured Luke Scott and Adam Jones.

Reimold was a second-round pick in 2005 after starring at Bowling Green, but the Orioles moved him very slowly up the minor-league ladder. He spent two full seasons at Single-A and then repeated Double-A last year despite hitting .296/.372/.546 in 59 games there before injuries struck in 2007.

He turned 25 years old before arriving at Triple-A for the first time, but Reimold's stay at Norfolk was a short one as he hit .394 in 31 games before arriving in Baltimore. If both Scott and Jones can avoid the disabled list Reimold's first stint in the majors could be brief, but Felix Pie's continued struggles do open the door for him to stick around.

Reimold has hit well everywhere he's gone, with a .286/.383/.521 line in 421 pro games that includes an OPS of at least .840 at every level. He's averaged 27 homers per 600 plate appearances, including 45 long balls in 220 games between Double-A and Triple-A, and has always shown good plate discipline with solid strike-zone judgment.

With a sturdy 6-foot-4 frame Reimold doesn't look like much of an athlete, but he's swiped a dozen bases per 150 games and figures to be an above-average corner outfielder defensively. Reimold's best shot for early playing time will probably be platooning with Scott or Pie and he's certainly a good fit for that role after knocking left-handers around to the tune of .299/.401/.609 in the minors.

However, he's also more than held his own against right-handers with a .283/.378/.492 line and projects as an everyday player down the road. Scott has been one of the Orioles' best hitters and it remains to be seen how much patience the team will have with Pie, but eventually Reimold seems like a natural fit in left field alongside Jones and Markakis in what would be an extremely promising young outfield.

Reimold doesn't figure to become a star, but looks capable of hitting .275 or so with 20-30 homers, plenty of walks, and solid defense. As a 6-foot-5 corner outfielder who previously played some center field and has hit .265/.358/.457 during his career Jayson Werth of the Phillies seems like a reasonable comp for Reimold, who's one of several reasons why the future is finally look bright in Baltimore.

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