2010 In Review: Left Field

Corey Patterson – .269/.315/.406, 43 R, 16 doubles, 1 triple, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 21 SB, 339 PA

The Orioles signed Patterson to a minor league contract near the end of April and at the time I didn’t see the point and thought he wouldn’t see any time in the majors. I was wrong. He got called up in May, started out hot and played pretty well throughout the remainder of the season. Since last playing with the Orioles in 2007 hes bounced around a bit, not producing much at all. After signing with the Orioles he hit .368/.419/.491 with 5 doubles and a triple with AAA Norfolk before getting the promotion. The only reason he got a chance was because of Felix Pie’s injury and Nolan Reimold’s struggles at the plate but he made the most of the opportunity. Hes playing time reduced when Pie returned from the disabled list but when he did get in there he was consistent. He still doesn’t have much patience at the plate but brings some decent power for a small, speedy outfielder. His defense in left field wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, especially for a guy thats normally a center fielder.

2011 Prognosis: Patterson is a free agent but theres still a chance the Orioles bring him back. It depends on how the offseason unfolds. The Orioles could acquire another outfielder moving Felix Pie to the bench as fourth outfielder, which would make Patterson unnecessary. Or they could trade Pie or make him the everyday left fielder, in which case Patterson could be useful as a fourth outfielder. I doubt he’d accept a minor league deal with how he played this season, I’m sure plenty of teams would be willing to guarantee a spot on their bench for him. If he signs somewhere else its nothing to lose sleep over but if it works out that he returns its not the end of the world either.

Felix Pie – .274/.305/.413, 39 R, 15 doubles, 5 triples, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 308 PA

Pie didn’t get many at bats in the first two weeks of the season but when he did he was killing the ball. Unfortunately he tore a muscle in his back and had to miss three months of the season or he would’ve gotten a chance. When he came back he struggled to get back into it. After a cold July (.593 OPS), he had a good August (.780 OPS), but then cooled off again in September (.617 OPS). Hes still only 25 years old and an intriguing prospect with alot of potential but hes still got a ways to go. After showing signs of developing patience last year he only walked 13 times in 2010. He also didn’t show much power after returning from the DL but that may have been an issue from his back injury lingering. He seems to get minor injuries at a pretty high rate and could be labeled as injury prone if it keeps up. His defense is improving but he still makes some mental errors out there.

2011 Prognosis: This will be an interesting offseason for Pie. I could see the Orioles dangling him to other teams as a trade option to improve at another position of need. He probably has alot of value with the flashes and improvement hes shown over the last couple of season and the O’s might want to take advantage of that. Theres also a chance that the Orioles keep Pie as a fourth outfielder and get a more established player for left field. He would be a good fit there but I’m not sure we would want to limit his development at this point of his career in that role. Or theres the possibility that the Orioles go into spring training with Nolan Reimold and Pie battling it out for the job in left. 2011 could be his breakout year or it could be more of the same. I like the guy and I’m hoping he succeeds somewhere, hopefully here.

Nolan Reimold – .207/.282/.328, 9 R, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 131 PA

Going into the season Reimold was being counted on to pick up where he left off in his solid rookie campaign. He had minor surgery on his heel to repair some fraying and was supposed to be ready for opening day. The foot seemed to still be bothering him through spring training and he struggled enough in the first month and a half of the season to be sent down to AAA Norfolk. Reports surfaced that he was also being bothering by some off the field issues somehow involving the birth of his first child. With the mental and physical problems he continued to struggle with the Tide, hitting .249/.364/.374 with 12 doubles, 10 homeruns, and 37 RBI. He didn’t lose his batting eye evidenced by his OBP and strikeout to walk percentage but his power and contact rate took a dive. He stole 9 bases over the last two months of the minor league season and his stats continued to improve each month so it looked like he was getting over his issues. He got called back up when the rosters expanded and hit for a .603 OPS over 30 plate appearances.

2011 Prognosis: 2011 will be a make or break year for Reimold as he tries to get over his miserable 2010 season. He’ll be 27 years old so he doesn’t have much more development. He needs to get back to what he was doing in 2009 or hes going to get passed by and become a bench player at best. I’m sure he’ll be given a good look in spring training with a chance to win the left field job unless we sign an established player there. I think theres a good chance he makes the team, for the bench to start, unless he continues his pitiful hitting from this year. He fell hard over the last year and now hes got to get back up.

Lou Montanez – .140/.155/.140, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 58 PA

Montanez got called up after Felix Pie went on the disabled list and was used as a reserve outfielder. He got sparing at bats but didn’t show anything at all with the bat and also struggled in the field. He didn’t have any extra base hits and only one walk. He was barely used at all in May and June and then went on the disabled list. He never made it back to the big league club, instead bouncing around in the minors after he was healthy enough to play. He was eventually released after the minor league season ended. That makes three seasons in a row Montanez failed to impress when given an opportunity.

2011 Prognosis: Hes a free agent now and has already stated he will look for an opportunity with another organization for next season. If he couldn’t make it with the Orioles over the last three seasons I don’t see how he could make it with anyone but I’m sure he’ll get a minor league contract from some team that looks at his impressive minor league numbers.

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