So maybe Nick is not destined for superstardom but I refuse to believe that he will be as pedestrian as he was last season. Even if his best career comparison went from Enos Slaughter to Ellis Valentine in one season.
Before we start, let's partake in an annual tradition here at Dempsey's Army. Here's the 2009 Nick Markakis hit chart for OPACY:
AVG OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2nd .328 .411 .545 .957 128
3rd .286 .358 .457 .815 95
That's 586 plate appearances batting second and 1517 PA's batting third. It's a decent sample. Maybe Nick just hits better in the 2 hole? I think it's worth a try to plug him in there and leave him alone. It certainly couldn't hurt to have the team's two best baserunners at the top of the order.
And I still think Markakis is due for a breakout season. But maybe not in 2010. I am going with a .305/.369/.481 line. That will get him back in the .850 OPS range and who knows? Plug him in as the #2 hitter and maybe he reaches the heights I predicted for him in 2009.
Photo by Keith Allison and used under the Creative Commons License 2.0