Roster Review: Nick Markakis


Note: This is an off-season feature where Birds Watcher looks at every member of the roster and recaps what he did, if he’ll stay, and what he’ll do next season.

As the first installment of our Roster Review, I want to take a look at right fielder Nick Markakis.

Nick had a very quiet season even though he had a decent season. He finished the year batting .284 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI, and a .351 on-base percentage. He also stole 12 bases, his second highest total in a single season. All those numbers were a drastic increase to his down season in 2010 in which he hit 12 home runs and 60 RBI with 7 stolen bases. His batting average did go down from last year (.297) as well as his on-base percentage (.370), but he remained consistent in how many runs he scored (72 this season, 79 in 2010).

One negative about his offensive production this year was his big drop-off in extra base hits. Besides his rookie year, he’s hit at least 43 doubles (that’s 4 straight seasons). However, this season he only hit 31. That’s a bit worrisome.

To counteract that, he had his best year defensively ever. He committed no errors for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, which includes 3 games at first base, a position he hadn’t played sinceI high school. In 157 games in right field, he was a part of three double plays. He also racked up 14 assists, his second most in a single season besides 2008 in which he had 17. He’s a candidate for a Gold Glove award but I have a feeling he won’t get it since he had such a quiet year. But when you think about it, those numbers are amazing and he continues to be one of the best right fielders in the league.

Obviously, he will be an Oriole next year as his $43.23 million contract is through 2014.

Next season, he will be 28 years old, meaning he’s at the peak age of his career. I believe next season will be huge for him and the best season of his career. He’ll get his average back up to around .300, he’ll still hit 15-20 home runs, and he’ll get back to his stellar extra base hitting skills. Oh and of course his defensive prowess will remain in tact.

One more thing to point out that makes Markakis one of my favorite players. He is an absolute workhorse. Since 2006, his first full rookie year, he hasn’t missed more than six games in a single season. Six. That’s insane. In 2007 and 2009, he missed one game each. Last season, he played in 160 games out of 162. Watching the last game of the season against the Red Sox, I saw Markakis head to the locker room after his at-bat in the 8th inning. I wasn’t sure what was going on because he didn’t get hurt or anything all game. During the postgame press conference, Buck Showalter revealed that he had been playing with a deep stomach bruise for a few months. He had gotten the bruise when he made a diving catch and his belt buckle pushed up into his stomach as he hit the ground. That just shows that Nick is a true baseball player and I love him for it. I’m excited to see what he’ll do for us next year.