Nate McLouth‘s professional career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates system. He was a 25th round pick in the June 2000 draft. He had great success at the high school level where he was 2000 Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year and had earned a 2000 USA Today Honorable Mention All-American.
In 2006, McLouth cracked the Pittsburgh Pirates opening day line up as a bench player but it wasn’t until 2008 when he earned a starting spot in centerfield after a scorching spring training with the team. All the hard work paid off in 2008 for McLouth. He earned a reserve spot on the 2008 MLB All-Star Game National League roster, representing the Pirates, was a 2008 Gold Glove Award winner and won the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award.
On June 3, 2009 Nate McLouth was trade to the Atlanta Braves for prospects. In 84 games, McLouth batted .257, with 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 36 RBIs.
2010 proved to be a challenging year. On June 9, McLouth collided with right fielder Jason Heyward. McLouth experienced concussion-like symptoms and was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List. Triple-A Gwinnett shortstop, Brandon Hicks, was called up to fill his position; given a foot injury to Omar Infante.
When McLouth returned from the 15-Day DL in July, he endured a slump that would have him demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett but would return to the Majors on August 31st. He showed a resurgence over the next 15 games but would again fall back into a slump. With his struggles at the plate and .190 batting average for the year, McLouth was left off the roster for the 2011 National League Division Series.
2011 wasn’t any better for Nate McLouth. He spent a good portion of the year on the disabled list battling various injuries. After the Atlanta Braves declined his option, he went into the free agency market. McLouth would be reunited with the Pittsburgh Pirates in December of that year. He signed a one-year contract for $1.75 Million. Fans and the team alike were excited and hopeful that Nate would make a difference and help make the Pirates a contender again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as he struggled at the plate again. In 57 at bats, McLouth was only able to drum up a .140 batting average, had 8 hits, 2 RBI and struck out 18 times.
Nate McLouth was signed to a minor league deal by the Baltimore Orioles on June 5, 2012 and by August he had cracked the Major Leagues again. In 55 games, 209 at bats, McLouth batted .268 had 56 hits, drove in 35 runs and had 12 doubles, 7 home runs and 18 RBI. His performance helped the surging Orioles on their way to the post season.
He made an impact in the one-game American League Wild Card match up v. Texas Rangers. McLouth hit Ranger’s pitcher Yu Darvish‘s first pitch towards first baseman Michael Young. The ball was misplayed by Young and McLouth was safe.
The Orioles will need a healthy and productive Nate McLouth to be able to build on the success they had in 2012.