Ever since Nolan Reimold was placed on the DL before the Boston series, the Orioles have struggled to find production in left field. Unfortunately, the injury is not healing as fast as originally predicted. Reimold received a shot and the O’s medical team is considering giving him another one.
Since the injury, Buck Showalter has not been shy putting guys out in left. He has used Endy Chavez, Ryan Flaherty, Wilson Betemit, and Xavier Avery. The recently promoted Bill Hall can also play some outfield.
To this point, no one has really stood out from the rest of the group. Flaherty has shown a steady swing at the plate, but is still very young in the Major Leagues and is figuring it out. I see him as a solid replacement in the outfield but not an everyday starter. Betemit is obviously an infielder first, but can also play the outfield sparingly. Chavez, who was recently put on the DL, has really struggled at the plate. He is hitting just .133 on the season with one RBI. Chavez has not been able to put down the sac bunt and needs to return to his old .300 average form once he returns to be productive.
The guy who I see as the best overall replacement is Xavier Avery. Avery, a former 2nd round pick of the O’s, has really blossomed into a nice looking prospect. The O’s drafted and signed Avery out of high school where he declined a scholarship from the University of Georgia to go pro.
Avery has progressed quite nicely through the minor leagues, hitting with a steady average in each level. Avery started slow with Norfolk but got hot before his promotion. He brings tremendous speed to the field. When he was drafted, it was obvious he needed to put on some weight, and he has nicely. Throughout his first few games Avery has demonstrated a nice approach at the plate. He ripped a double and a triple against Ivan Nova and had a great sac bunt that turned into a base hit against CC Sabathia.
The Orioles have been without a prototypical leadoff hitter all season long and Avery can provide them with that. He is a player who can get on base and steal bases. Avery is a center fielder but looked very comfortable in left in his first few outings. He has shown poise and a knack for making plays. From this point forward expect to be seeing Xavier Avery’s name on the lineup card.
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