October 28, 1981 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Right|
|June 29, 2005 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
(through 2013 season)
|Runs batted in||326|
|Career highlights and awards|
Nathan "Nate" Richard McLouth (born October 28, 1981) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is a free agent. He has played for the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Primarily a center fielder, McLouth bats from the left side and throws from the right. He is 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighs 185 pounds (84 kg).
After graduating from Whitehall Sr. High School, where he stole 179 bases in 180 attempts in his high school career, McLouth was selected by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 2000 draft. McLouth would have been chosen much sooner (namely by the very interested Boston Red Sox), but many scouts believed that he had a firm commitment to the University of Michigan. McLouth was named Michigan's Co-Mr. Baseball, Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year, and USA Today Honorable Mention All American in 2000. After an encouraging debut in full-season ball with the Hickory Crawdads, he struggled with the high-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 2002. McLouth rebounded with a strong season at that same level in 2003, however, earning a spot on the league's All-Star team. McLouth continued to advance steadily through the minors, and on June 29, 2005, he made his major league debut. As a result of an injury to starting center fielder Chris Duffy, McLouth received a substantial amount of playing time through the end of the season. In 109 at-bats, he compiled a .257 batting average, a .305 on base percentage, and a .450 slugging percentage. McLouth made the Pittsburgh Pirates 2006 opening day lineup as a backup outfielder, sending outfielder Jody Gerut to start the year in Triple-A. McLouth entered spring training 2008 in a competition with teammate Nyjer Morgan for the starting job as the team's center fielder. McLouth batted over .300 in the preseason and won the job. He began the 2008 season with a 19-game hitting streak, 20 dating back to 2007, which ended on April 22. McLouth then struggled for the first three weeks of May. However, after seeing his batting average drop to a season low of .298 on May 21, McLouth rebounded with a four-hit performance the next day against the Milwaukee Brewers. McLouth was selected as a reserve to represent the Pirates in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game, and was among the league leaders in various offensive categories. He also made a clutch throw from center field in the 10th inning to catcher Russell Martin for an out at the plate that cut down the potential game-winning run for the American League. Martin later commented that Nate's throw was "perfect". He also led off an inning with an infield single, and in his final at-bat, with the game tied, he hit a long fly ball that was caught just 3 feet (0.91 m) in front of the warning track. In a July 28 game against the Colorado Rockies, McLouth hit a home run that soared over the right field grandstand of PNC Park and landed in the Allegheny River (443 ft from homeplate).McLouth received the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award as "the Pirates player who best exemplifies the standard of excellence achieved by Clemente." McLouth was second in NL outfielder fielding percentage to Ryan Braun in 2008, and was awarded the Gold Glove Award for the outfield for his performance.1 McLouth also led the league in doubles in 2008 with 46. Although not a prolific base stealer, he has been extremely successful when he has attempted to steal. Through 2008, he had been successful in 57 of 62 career attempts, a success rate of .919 (Carlos Beltran holds the all-time career record for a player with 300 or more career attempts at .8812).
After playing 45 games with the Pirates to start the 2009 season, McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves for prospects Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernández on June 3, 2009.3 McLouth, who wore the number 13 while playing for the 2009 Pirates, retained the number for the Braves in 2009. On December 2, 2009 McLouth forfeited his jersey number to new teammate Billy Wagner. Wagner had worn the number 13 since his Major League debut in 1995. McLouth accordingly switched his number to 24, previously worn on the Braves roster by Jordan Schafer. He returned to wearing number 13 for the 2011 season after Wagner retired following the 2010 season. After joining the club, McLouth played 84 games for the Braves in 2009. His performance for the Braves consisted of a .257 batting average, 87 hits, 11 home runs, and 12 stolen bases. With only five caught stealings with his stint as a Pirate, McLouth eclipsed that number in his first season as a Brave, being thrown out six times. The 2010 season proved to be one of the worst seasons offensively for McLouth. In the first two weeks of Spring Training, McLouth collected only one hit in 22 at-bats with ten strikeouts. One highlight occurred on June 5, when McLouth collected his 500th Major League hit. McLouth was placed on the disabled list on June 9 after a collision in right-center with right fielder Jason Heyward at Chase Field. While Heyward remained uninjured, McLouth experienced concussion-like symptoms for several weeks. After returning from the injury in July, McLouth faced a horrible slump that warranted him being demoted to the Gwinnett Braves, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Showing improvement, McLouth was recalled to the Majors on August 31. His first thirteen games after returning saw him go 11 for 33 at the plate, a drastic improvement over the rest of the season. In the final ten games of the season, however, McLouth reverted to lowly stats, only going 4 for 24 at the plate. As a consequence, McLouth lost his roster spot to Rick Ankiel for the 2010 National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants.4 McLouth spent much of the 2011 season on the disabled list. Feeling significant discomfort in his left oblique, McLouth was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 23 and replaced on the roster by Jordan Schafer.5 He remained on the disabled list until June 19. McLouth hit a solo home run on July 17 in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals to tie the game at eight. With what proved to be his last home run as an Atlanta Brave, it was only his fourth home run of the season and the first home run he had hit since May 4. McLouth was again placed on the disabled list on July 29 for a lower abdominal strain. On August 5, it was revealed that McLouth had a sports hernia and would be out at least six weeks.6 He would not make another Major League appearance on the season. McLouth exited the 2011 season as a free agent. On October 31, the Braves declined the option on McLouth, effectively ending his stint with the Braves.7 In parts of three seasons in Atlanta, McLouth hit .229 with 44 doubles, 21 home runs, and 76 RBIs in 250 games.8
On December 7, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed McLouth to a one-year, $1.75 million contract with $450,000 in performance-based incentives. Commenting on the signing, McLouth stated, "It's a no-brainer" and that it was "the easiest decision I've ever made in my life." When asked to reflect on his tenure as an Atlanta Brave, McLouth noted, "To struggle performance-wise as much as I did and to have the injuries that I did, it was tough. I'm not going to lie. The past couple years were very, very difficult personally."9 However, after hitting .140 with 18 strikeouts and 2 RBI, on May 25, 2012, McLouth was designated for assignment.10 Matt Hague was recalled to fill the roster spot.
The Baltimore Orioles signed McLouth to a minor-league contract on June 5, 2012 and has since been called up to the Orioles. McLouth lined a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to score Manny Machado to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, September 12. The victory kept the Orioles tied with the New York Yankees for first and increased their wild-card lead over the Rays to three games.
McLouth finished the season with a .268/.342/.435 batting line with 7 HR, 18 RBI and 12 SB in 236 plate appearances for the Orioles. In the Orioles 5-1 victory over the Rangers in the first ever AL Wild Card Playoff Game, McLouth went 1 for 4 with two RBI, a SB and a run scored. McLouth went 7-for-22 (.318) with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 SB against the Yankees in the ALDS which the Orioles lost three games to two. The Baltimore Sun later described McLouth as "the only one who brought his bat to the postseason."11
On December 5, 2012, the Orioles reportedly re-signed McLouth to a one-year agreement for the 2013 season. The deal is reportedly worth $2 million, with a potential additional $500,000 for 500 plate appearances. Over the first third (54 games) of the 2013 season, McLouth led the league in stolen bases with 17 in 18 attempts, and hit for a .304 average.
- Meyer, Paul (2008-11-06). "Pirates' McLouth rewarded for defensive excellence". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Braves Acquire Outfielder Nate McLouth from Pittsburgh". MLB.com. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Braves 2010 Season In Review: Nate McLouth". Talking Chop. October 19, 2010.
- "McLouth lands on DL with oblique discomfort". MLB.com. May 23, 2011.
- "Nate McLouth out at least six weeks". ESPN.com. August 5, 2011.
- "Braves pick up option on Hinske, not McLouth". atlantabraves.com. October 31, 2011.
- "McLouth returns to Pirates for 2012 season". MLB.com. December 7, 2011.
- "Pirates bring back Nate McLouth with one-year deal". Sporting News. December 7, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Neyer, Rob (May 25, 2012). "Pirates DFA One-Season Wonder Nate McLouth". Baseball Nation.
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