O’s Spring Training: The 25 who will make it (#6)

February 25, 2010 | Drew Forrester

The off-season Unabomber look aside, Nick Markakis has the appearance of player ready to break out and enter baseball’s “elite” status with his dazzling defensive work, sweet swing and productive-at-just-the-right-time plate sense.

It could all add up to a monster year for Nick, who figures to benefit greatly from being bunched in among the likes of Roberts, Jones, Wieters, Reimold and even Tejada.  At some point, opposing pitchers have to throw strikes to someone…and as long as his plate discipline remains intact, no one on the team makes better contact than #21.

Nick Markakis is #6 in my blog series, the 25 O’s who will make it to Baltimore for the opening of the season.

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the start of the season: 100%

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the end of the season: 100%

Odds he’ll be an effective contributor in 2010: 95%

Odds his name will be mentioned at the trade deadline in late July: 0%

Summary:  Name something you want your marquee player to do – and Markakis does it.  Play all (nearly) of your team’s games?  Check.  Nick averages 158 games a year.  Hit for average?  Check.  Career average of .298.  Drive-in runs?  Check.  He’s averaged 90 RBI a year and that’s with little or no support in front or behind him.  The only knock – if you’re looking for one – is a lack of big-time home run power (avg:  20 HR per-season), but Markakis will hit more than 20 far more than hitting fewer than 15.  And my contention is once he gets in the mix with four or five other quality hitters, his numbers could react accordingly.  Of note, if Nick hits 2nd for any extended period of time, his HR and RBI totals will go down but his batting average will go up.  In my lineup, he’d bat 2nd.  I’m a big Nick Markakis fan.

Quirky 2009 stats:

> Doesn’t like the Central — only hit above .273 against one team from the Central (.405 vs. Chicago)

> Third time is the charm — when facing a starting pitcher for the 3rd time, he hit .328 in that 3rd AB

> More night games, please — only hit .218 in 44 day games last season…weird

> Fenway is Nick’s way — hit .400 in 9 games at Fenway (14-for-35)

Drew’s projections for Nick Markakis in 2010:

* .308 avg.

* 16 HR

* 90 RBI