Orioles left field dilemma
It looks like the Orioles will have a good ole fashioned position battle for the starting spot in left field. Most likely, Buck Showalter will use the left handed Felix Pie and right handed Nolan Reimold in a platoon in left field. However, both players have the potential to stake their claim on the left fielders job.
Both players are young and have high upsides. Both players have also been hampered by injuries and inconsistency. Let’s look at what Pie and Reimold can offer when healthy and playing to the best of their abilities.
Defensively Pie has looked lost out in left field in the past, but towards the end of last season finally started to look more comfortable. Pie is a natural center fielder, so he has the speed and arm to be a very good defensive left fielder. Reimold came up through the Orioles system as a right fielder so he has a strong arm for left field, but because of his Achilles injury there are questions about whether he has the necessary range to play left field every day. If Reimold proves to be over the Achilles injury he won’t hurt the team defensively, but Pie is the better all-around defensive outfielder.
Pie has shown he can hit major league pitching, but has yet to really show much power. Pie has been described as a 5 tool player, but hasn’t hit for power or shown ability to steal bases. Pie is fast enough where he can become a legitimate stolen base threat, but is averaging just 9 stolen bases over 162 games.
Former Oriole Brady Anderson has been working with Reimold this offseason and you can bet Reimold will come into this season motivated to prove last year was a fluke. Reimold has real power potential and could become a consistent 20 to 30 homer player. Reimold also has some speed for a big guy and he could steal some bases if he is healthy.
Pie is probably a more complete player than Reimold, but Reimold has something the Orioles need…power. While I can see Pie hitting for a better average and stealing more bases, I think Reimold has a better chance of becoming a consistent run producer in the majors.
The Orioles will most likely have Pie and Reimold share at bats going into the season, but I think 2011 will prove to be a make or break year for both players. If I had to guess, I would say Reimold will have a break out year and become the Orioles every day left fielder. If you were a betting man which player do you think is more likely to reach their potential? Which player do you want to see starting on opening day in left field for the Orioles?