One of my outfielders on my fantasy team is Nick Markakis. He’s one of those guys I target every year because I think this will be the year he breaks out. Well like the prior 3 years I was wrong. Markakis is struggling and I don’t really know why.
I found some really good articles coming from the Baltimore area that have delved into this topic as well.
Both seem to be Orioles fans who are trying to figure out why their young right fielder isn’t living up to the potential that everyone thought.
Take at look at this graph below, it’s from the 2nd link above. It’s a chart of his WAR from when he entered the league at age 22 to current. It also has a telling comparables line that represents those players of equal statistics and what they have done with their careers.
As you can see it’s a downward spiral into nothingness.
All the visual pieces are there: he has a rocket arm, plays great defense, has a fluid swing but the numbers aren’t following. In 2007 he hit .300 with 23 home runs and 112 RBI. The following year .306, 20 home runs and 87 RBI. He also had 18 and 10 stolen bases respectively.
2009 comes and he still has a pretty good year but below 2008: .293, 18 HR, 101 RBI and 6 SB.
2010 was significantly below 2009: .297, 12 HR and 60 RBI, only stealing 7 bases.
So far in 2011, he is hitting a meager .251 with 5 HR and 26 RBI in 64 games.
Don’t get me wrong he is still a good player, but at this point in his career his stats should be rising not dropping. His career comparables from baseball reference are: Shane Mack, Jeffrey Hammonds and Ivan Calderon. Enough said.
I expected, and I think many other people in baseball as well, that Markakis would be a Matt Kemp of the AL. Kemp is a 5 tool player of equal age and position who has put his entire game together over the past few seasons.
2011 Kemp: .335 BA, 20 HR, 56 RBI and 16 SB in 70 games.
Where does Markakis go from here?