Apr 22, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (21) during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. The Orioles defeated the Angels 3-2 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PRESSWIRE

How can Nick Markakis make it to the All-Star Game?

By Olivia Witherite (@oliviawitherite)

It’s April and the 2012 season still seems young. Despite it still being the first full month of the season, the All-Star ballots and advertisements are already being pushed online and on television. As I clicked on and looked at the ballot, I was thinking about which Orioles should make it to Kansas City in July.

While Matt Wieters is the first to pop into my mind, the name that stood out the most to me for the Orioles is the same name that stands out in right field every day: Nick Markakis.

The 28-year-old has never made it to an All-Star Game. However, he has some very strong numbers, including a lifetime .294 batting average and a league-leading 17 outfield assists in 2008.

So, what exactly does Markakis need to make the game? To figure this out, we need to look no further back than the players of last year’s All-Star Game. What numbers does Markakis lack that others had last year?

1. The home runs: By the All-Star break, Markakis had seven home runs. All-Star starter Jose Bautista had 31. While this number from the Toronto phenomenon is ridiculously high, the point still stands that Markakis needs more power to have a better case to make the game. To date, he has two on the season.

2. Batting average: While his average was very solid, (.292,) to be an All-Star from a small market, one must be exceptional. Another outfielder to make the game last season was Josh Hamilton, who entered the break with a .310 batting average.

3. RBIs: The last outfielder to start the game last season was the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson. Before July 14, Granderson had 63 RBIs in 2011. Markakis had 36.

This year, Markakis will need to improve his offense. While he is a great contributor to the lineup, his numbers are not flashy enough for an All-Star appearance. If he keeps his defense strong, he will most definitely be considered. In 2011, the right-fielder had a perfect fielding percentage last season, giving him his first Gold Glove.

With the outfield not being broken up by position on the ballot, it is often for players in smaller markets to make the game in many situations. To make the ballot this year, the other thing that Markakis needs is fan loyalty and vote. The votes will come in from others if his offense improves, but firstly, he needs the Baltimore vote.

So, as the season progresses, fans hope to see Markakis’ already strong statistics improve. Not only will this benefit the team, it will also increase his chance of being flown to Kansas City in July.

To vote for Markakis or others, you can click here.

Tags: Nick Markakis Olivia Witherite Orioles

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