10:56 PM EDT, April 30, 2013
Orioles GM Dan Duquette must pinch himself every time he sees Nate McLouth victimize another pitcher or catcher as he further establishes himself as one of the best leadoff hitters in the American League this year.
Remember, the Orioles got him for a song before the 2012 season and he played a big role in the club's late-season playoff run. Duquette re-signed him this past winter and McLouth has done more than just pick up where he left off. He entered Tuesday night's game in Seattle batting .351 and leading the Orioles with a .455 on-base percentage. His eight stolen bases were tied for second in the major leagues behind only Jacoby Ellsbury (11).
He was a steal and now he's a threat to steal every time he gets on base, which is quite frequently.
McLouth went 12 for 22 last week (.545) and, after getting the night off on Monday, opened Tuesday night's game with a home run off Mariners starter Brandon Maurer. He is the hottest hitter in an offense that features two other hitters -- Adam Jones and Chris Davis -- who also are all over the league leader sheet.
It's hard to believe that he fell so far out of favor in Atlanta and Pittsburgh that the Orioles could get him to sign a minor league deal in December of 2011, but it didn't take him long to become a fan favorite in Baltimore.