Nick Markakis exceeded everyone’s expectations last year. I thought it was a horrible idea to have him break camp with the big club, that it would do more harm than good to his development. Through the first two months of the season, that looked like a good assessment as he struggled mightily, hitting .218 through the end of May.
He hit .319 the rest of the way.
He slugged .532, including 14 HR and 17 doubles, after the All-Star break.
The torrid finish to the season gives hope that Markakis may project much higher than previously expected. There are many difficulties in projecting young players as you never know what’s going to happen once they start facing big league pitching. Albert Pujols never hit 20 HR in a season in the minors. His rookie season, he launched 37.
So, the good points:
1. He hit righties and lefties equally well. He slugs much better against righties but he’s no slouch.
2. He was an above average player in terms of OPS at age 23, even with the dismal start.
3. He was second on the team in OBP. He only struck out 72 times in 491 AB. Good plate discipline can take a young player a long way.
4. He hits the ball well to all fields. His hit chart reveals singles and doubles sprayed all over the place. Only his home runs tend to go to rightfield. It’s a very Jeter-esque distribution.
I’m stumped folks. I can’t find any evidence that this guy will backslide. Here’s a few projections from other sources, all of which I think Markakis will surpass this year.
AB H BB K HR SB BA OBP SLG
537 143 49 119 13 2 .265 .329 .418
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
480 74 140 29 2 15 71 3 1 49 81 .291 .360 .456 .816
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
424 64 125 23 2 14 57 4 1 39 65 .295 .357 .458 .814