Baltimore Orioles: Making the Case for Nick Markakis


Oct 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis hits a single against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in game three of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

I spent my last two posts discussing why I think the Orioles’ main position of concern is left field, as I expect Nick Markakis to be back in black in right field next year.  But should he be?

Markakis picked up his second Gold Glove in four years this year, last winning in 2014.  However, he has never rated well as a defender by modern sabermetrics.  A lot of Orioles’ fans disagree with that, knowing there is very little that Markakis doesn’t get to in right field. Markakis also has an underrated arm, which helps cut down on the number of aggressive base running moves by opponents.

I figured, looking at the statistics, that Markakis would show to be better statistically than most would expect.

But that isn’t the case.  Kind of.  A look at some of the moern standard statistics; batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, WAR, Markakis isn’t exactly a standout player.

The last five years provide a good look at what type of player Nick is.  However, that comes with an asterisk, because in 2012 he missed significant time thanks to C.C. Sabathia‘s running fastball. This wasn’t the first time that Sabathia had some location troubles with Nick …

It wasn’t until 2014 that Markakis was completely recovered from that. HIs offseason routine in 2012-2013 was thrown off by the broken bone recovery, and it led to a down year in 2013.  But let’s look at 2010, 2011 and 2014, his three healthy years.

2010 – Played the 4th most games in baseball (160), 6th most plate appearances (709), 5th most hits (187),  9th most singles (127), 5th most times on base (262), 2nd most put outs in RF (332), 4th most assists in RF (7). 2nd best fielding percentage as a RF (.991)

2011 – 3rd most games in baseball (160). 5th most plate appearances (716), 10th most hits (182), 5th most singles (135),  9th most times on base (251), 2nd most put outs in RF (311), 3rd most assists in RF (14), 1st fielding percentage as a RF (1.000)

2014 – Not ranked in games (155), 2nd most plate appearances (710), 10th most hits (177), 4th most singles (135), 8th most times on base (243), 1st most put outs in RF (295), 2nd most assists in RF (11), 1st fielding percentage as a RF (1.000)

This reiterates who Nick Markakis is.  He is a durable player who can be penciled in the line up every day, he is going to hit a lot of singles and get on base, and you won’t find someone better in right field.

When you look at active right fielders, Markakis and Ichiro are the top two at every position defensively as far as numbers throughout Markakis’ career. [recent-category]

No, the offensive numbers are not flashy.  But for a team with many other power hitters, Markakis brings a great approach to the team.  As a lead off hitter and as one of the best defenders in the game at his position, Nick Markakis should be an Oriole.

Is he worth $15 million, what he made last year? Not at all.  But no one is going to pay Markakis that.  The talk is for 4 years, 10-12 million a year and Markakis is worth that.

Pay the man.