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September 28, 2010

Another voice weighs in on Markakis’ power outage

Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis’ low home run (10) and RBI total (57) has been a popular topic around these parts so I figured there would plenty of interest in a recent Baseball Prospectus piece on that very topic.

The article, titled “Nick Markakis: Greek God of Warning Track Power,” was written by Craig Brown and he, along with his editors, were kind enough to give me permission to use some of their findings. I would have posted the link and I certainly encourage everyone to visit the website and read the fine work at www.baseballprospectus.com, but it is subscription only.

Essentially, Brown concludes that Markakis’ RBI numbers are down significantly, largely because of Brian Roberts’ extended absence, and he simply hasn’t had many quality RBI opportunities. However, Markakis is hardly blameless, as Brown points out, noting that he’s become an opposite-field hitter.

Here are some excerpts from the article (all stats are good through Sunday’s game, meaning the Orioles’ 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Monday in which Markakis had two RBIs isn’t included):

“Collectively, Oriole leadoff hitters posted a .304 on-base percentage while Roberts was sidelined. … Compare the total .304 OBP to the .364 OBP Roberts has posted since rejoining the team on July 23, hitting exclusively in the leadoff spot. The numbers illustrate just how much Markakis missed Roberts batting at the top of the order. In Markakis’ first 94 games of the season (all but four played without Roberts) he averaged 11.8 AB/RBI. In 59 games since Roberts’ return, Markakis is averaging 9.9 AB/RBI. … Especially when we combine his three previous seasons and see over that timeframe, Markakis drove in a run every 6.2 at bats. It turns out he's not bringing home his usual percentage of base runners. This season, Markakis is driving home just 13% of all runners, well below his career rate of 17%.”

“In 2007, almost 62% of Markakis’ plate appearances with men on base had at least one runner in scoring position. This season, just 55% of his plate appearances with runners on have come with at least one runner in scoring position. Not only is Markakis getting fewer RBI opportunities, he’s also getting a lower percentage of quality RBI opportunities. (As defined by plate appearances with at least one runner in scoring position.) When he does come to the plate with runners on second or third, he’s hitting .315/.405/.392. Basically, he's lacking the RBI results because he's lacking the opportunity.”

Brown then moves on to discussing Markakis’ declining power numbers, which he describes as “slightly more problematic” than the RBI total.

“If we look at Markakis’ 2009 6.6% homer/flyball rates, we would assume that because of his consistency from 2006 to 2008 (overall 8.7% HR/FB) his home run total would rebound in 2010. Except, as we all know, that hasn’t been the case. Markakis is no different from most hitters in that the majority of his power lives to his pull field. All but one of his home runs this season have landed to the right - or pull - side of second base. This is fine, except Markakis has evolved from a hitter who once sprayed the ball to all fields, to a hitter who now favors going to the opposite field.”

Brown then finishes the article by saying, “Markakis is still a good hitter. His contact rate of 88% is the highest of his career and he's hit at least 43 doubles for the fourth consecutive season. He's done this while bumping his walk rate to almost 11% and has no problem hitting against left-handed pitching. The power still lurks in Markakis, although it will continue to be underutilized unless he can rediscover his pull stroke. The silver lining is, even if his home run totals don't fully recover and return to 2007 levels, we can expect his RBI total to rebound from what has become an extremely forgettable year.”

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 11:50 AM | | Comments (42)
        

Comments

Great article Jeff, thanks for finding and sharing.

One more reason why he is best suited as a #2 hitter.

While certainly researched thoroughly, this illustrates what baseball analysis has become - a morass of statistics that shine no light on anything.

Nick Markakis is similar to Bobby Abreu. I'd rather have him hit 20 more doubles and walk 30 more times than jack 10 more homers.

Everyone (except the Blue Jays') homers are down. Pitchers pitch him away all the time. Why try to pull pitches that are away?

This issue has always been irrelevant and a source of irritation for me. Stop fussing over trying to make him hit homers. Go get a bopper who will hit 30-35 and strike out more often. He's a # 2 hitter not a cleanup hiter for crying out loud.

He fails to point out one other contributor, the fact that Markakis hit in the 2nd slot so often this year. I bet if you check, you will find that in his 100+ RBI seasons, Markakis hit in the 3rd slot most of the year. With that said, I would still like to see him hit 20 homers a year as he did in his second year.

This is a well researched article. Why do none of the Sun's writers offer this quality of writing? Certainly you guys had to be aware that Markakis' power numbers were down this year. I certainly mentioned it when you guys were writing about his doubles record. Okay enough chastisement.

Markakis neds to hit the weights. When I look at him I see a guy that either doesn't lift, or doesn't challenge himself enough in the weight room to build strength. He especially needs to do this if he is changing his approach to be an opposite field hitter. A right fielder needs to have some power, or he has to hit in the .330 range to produce good offensive numbers for the position. Markakis may be getting by now, because the overall talent level on the O's needs an upgrade, but as Buck said when you compare Nick to other right fielders in the league how many times are you going to choose Nick?
The only right fielder with fewer HR's than Nick is Ichiro, who is having a horrible year. Nick is also dead last in RBI.

Markakis criticized his team mates for not having a plan for how they go about their work. Markakis needs to look in the mirror, and come to spring traing next year with a rebuilt stronger body.

I recognize that Brian Roberts is better than those who replaced him. For the love of money, I can't understand why everyone and everything that has gone wrong this year has been attributable to him.

First it was Dave Trembley. Trembley had well over 300 games with Brian Roberts before this year, and didn't do squat.

Now, it's Markakis's RBI total has taken a hit. Well, let's take a look at the very numbers presented here.

We are supposed to ooh and ahh over the .364 versus the .304 OBP difference. Over let's say 300 plate appearances, that's 18 fewer opportunities. Add all 18 to the RBI total (seven would require a .389 BA) and Markakis would have only 75 RBI's.

A fairer statement in defense of Markakis would be the lack of protection Markakis has had in hitting behind him this year. The front office failed him miserably this year, and only Showalter's better use of the few tools at his disposal has helped Markakis in recent times.

However, Markakis must shoulder some of the responsibilty himself. In fact, he needs to shoulder most of it.

On the other hand, he was never really that much of a power hitter even in his best years so far. He is still comparatively young, especially when compared to the very good but not great Roberts.

Markakis may indeed produce a 30 HR season. Or seasons. Or maybe 20-25 will always be his high water mark.

Whatever the case, it illustrates the need for the team to supplement him (and Roberts before he succumbs to epidural heaven) with some proven power protection. If the team does and it is supplemented with a power output from Markakis, a healthy Roberts, a repeat from Wigginton, and further development from Jones, Pie, Wieters and the pitching staff, we may see the onslaught of something much more than the ellusive .500 season.

Main reason why Nick's numbers are down this year was that O's don't have a legit cleanup hitter.
in 2006, we had Tejada behind Nick
in 2007 - 2008 we had Huff behind Nick
in 2009 until august, we still had Huff
in Sep 2009 when Huff was gone, Nick had only 7 RBI
in 2010, well we all know...

Look at Ryan Zimmerman. He became a true middle of the line hitter when they put Adam Dunn behind him..

Ichiro having a "horrible" year... Now that's funny.

Jeff you know where i stand on this subject.You can slice it, dice it, and chop it, but it still comes down to it's unacceptable for him to have 10 hr's and 57 rbi's from a hitter of his stature.It was evident from the very beginning of this year that his new stance was not going to be conducive to pulling the ball and hitting for power. You can show me all the stats in the world that his walks are up, that he still hits doubles with the best but he has turned himself into a punch and judy hitter going to left field almost inclusively. It's not acceptable to me and it shouldn't be acceptable to nick or the orioles. If he was batting 330 and had those stats i might make a exception but hitting 290 with those pautry power numbers are once again unacceptable. I don't know what the motive was for him to change his stance but somebody better find out by next year what is going on.

If we want to see Markakis' numbers rise, Jose Reyes inserted in the #1 slot, followed by Roberts #2, and Paul Konerko in the #4 slot will give him a ton more opportunities to drive in runs and he'll see many more fast balls to drive over the fence.

Bottom line: Roberts is extremely important for the O's offense - everyone suffers when he's not playing. Couple that with no legitimate power threat to protect him, and pitchers have no reason to throw pitches to Markakis that he can hit.

"All but one of his home runs this season have landed to the right - or pull - side of second base. This is fine, except Markakis has evolved from a hitter who once sprayed the ball to all fields, to a hitter who now favors going to the opposite field.”

So he favors going the other way, unless he hits a homer? This illustrates EXACTLY what Rich said in his comment, pitchers pitch him away, and because he's a good hitter, he hits the ball the other way. Luke Scott has great power numbers. He cant hit a ball to left field to save his life. Markakis is also above average on defense. Everyone needs to relax. Markakis will come around.

Glad that Brian Roberts translates to 10 HRs and 50 RBIs for Markakais exclusively. So he needs a 30 HR guy behind him and a 100 run guy in front of him at all times or he will lay an egg. Seriously? What other ball player uses this excuse for this sort of drop off? Stop apologizing for this guy.

Stop sounding ignorant and judging a player based on his rbi's, this isnt 1990 we have advanced to a point where we realize rbi's arent a great stat. the best stat to indicate run production is slugging precentage, while true that his slugging is down a bit it is still at a high level and you have to take into account the fact that without roberts and a other threats in the lineup, he is being pitched around, thats why his walks are up, other teams say, well try to go around markakis, well go after other guys

Haha! Wayne Hicks wrote above: "The only right fielder with fewer HR's than Nick is Ichiro, who is having a horrible year." Ichiro is leading the league (and MLB) in hits, 7th in the league in BA, and continues to be one of the best right fielders ever to play the game. (His runs are down this year, but then his team is dead last in scoring.) I want some horrible players like that on the O's!

I realize that everyone has their opinion, but fortunately for issues like hitter productivity, there are objective measures. The bottom line is tha Nick's production is at the bottom of the pile for right fielders. I don't care about his changed stance. If he changed his stance in such a way that he can no longer hit for power, and his average is also down, than the stance change is a failure. If pitchers are pitching him away, so what. Baseball is a game of adjustments. Players who can't adjust wash out. The same holds true in life. If you can't keep up you fall behind.

No one else on the O's is using the lack of a cleanup hitter for an excuse. Luke Scott's numbers are up this year. Wiggingtons numbers are up. Adam Jones has not yet become the 30-30 guy everyone hoped, but he has still outproduced Nick. NIck is a bad offensive player for his position this year period. This is not opinion, it is fact. The major league average for HR's for right field is 20.5. This is about how many Nick will hit in a good year. Which means that in a good year for Nick, his power numbers are average.

The idea of blaming all of the Orioles early losses and Nick's disappointing numbers on Roberts absence is frankly stupid. If you read the article it points out that Nicks productivity/per opportunity is bad. SO are you telling me that Nick is a player who needs more opportunities than other players at his position to produce at the same level, becaue this still equals bad.
The outfield is actuall somewhat of a strength for the Orioles and I wouldn't be averse to the Orioles using NIck as trade bait, but I will bet they won't get much for him. Nick's OBP is actually top 5 so that's not bad, but he is no. 22 in RBI,. Nick is 18/21 players in terms of slugging percentage, this takes his doubles into consideration. The bottom line is Nick is not getting the job done. For those who want to talk about his defense, frankly that has been subpar too. He has done a poor job of playing the ball off the wall at Camden yards. He often overruns the play, and has to chase after the ball. Frankly, when I look at Markakis I see a guy who is not getting the job done.

blancione,

Will you stop with all the "Punch and Judy" crap? You aren't even using the term right. A Punch and Judy hitter is someone who hits weak, but well placed balls that go for singles. Punch and Judy hitters don't hit 40+ doubles a year on a consistent basis, they hit 40+ bloop singles a year on a consistent basis.

And stop with the ultimatums. All it does is make you look like a supreme [jerk].

Wayne Hicks,

I don't think that Buck meant that the way you meant that, about taking all the other right fielders over Nick. Let's take a look...

Nick Swisher - I'll take Markakis
JD Drew - I'll take Markakis
Ben Zobrist - Zobrist last year, but this year, I'll take Markakis
Jose Bautista - Bautista this year, but any other year I'm taking Markakis
Jason Kubel - I'll take Markakis
Carlos Quentin - I'll take Markakis
Magglio Ordonez - I'll take Ordonez 4 years ago, but now... I'll take Markakis
Shin-Shoo Choo - Ok, I'd probably take Choo over Markakis
Royals' Merry-Go-Round - I'll take Markakis
Nelson Cruz - I'll take Cruz
Ichiro - Who wouldn't take Ichiro... but he's near the end of his career, while Markakis should be entering his prime, so I'll take Markakis
Abreu - See: Ordonez
Cust/Davis/Gross - I'll take Markakis

So in the AL, there's really 2 guys I'd 100% take over Markakis... like I said, you had Buck's quote the wrong way around.

No Roberts, no bat behind him, home runs down around the league, too skinny, "punch and judy hitter", getting pitched around, poor stance, blah, blah, blah.

Hey, here's a thought: maybe there isn't one answer to a fundamentally complicated question.

Of all the problems the Orioles have, right field is hardly at the top of my list.

I'd like to see Wieters, Markakis, Jones & Pie jack up at least 5-10 lbs & show some
power. Matusz & Tillmeat could also jack up a few lbs & maximize their deliveries & throw harder. There needs to be an emphasis on maximizing power & speed.

RBI's are a factor of having the people on to drive in this yr speaks for itself in that category. HR's? He never was going to be a power guy. He sounds like the ideal #2 hitter and IF we get guys on he will drive them in AND IF we get an RBI guy behind him he will score a ton more runs. All good things IMO.

How can batting second be treated so casually. Moving Markakis there reduces 1st inning RBI potential and when Iztruis in the nine hole is factored in for later innings batting order Markakis just does not get many chances. This is why Izturis has got to go. Markakis is best suited for batting 2nd IMO and he simply can't produce if the O's continue with Izturis. The days of defense only guys like Belanger went out when the AL went to the DH and only work these days on teams with lineup like the Indians had when Vizquel was in his prime. I like Izzy but he guarantees Roberts and Markakis will be destined to less than stellar opportunities if the O's can't get Bartlett, Gonzales or Hardy in the offseason. I for one hope Bartlett can be acquired.

can you all act like you know anything about baseball and stop judging him by his rbi totals, rbis are a borderline useless statistic, this isnt 1990 act like you know that. RBI's are the product of lineup placement and runners on base, so there for it is completly natural for a player to have a low rbi total hitting out of the 2 hole with suspect players around him

@wayne hicks

OBP is the most important statistic in all of baseball, so is slugging which is a respectable .420. obviously he is going to have one of the worst rbi totals when he is batting 2nd in one of the worst lineups in baseball, get a clue about baseball

He has been pitched away all year. you can try to pull the ball to pick up a couple of homers and watch your average go down while the number of double plays you hit into goes up. until he gets someone behind him to force pitchers to come to him, his only correct option is to continue with his "plan" of doing the most with what he gets.
anyone getting on him for not hitting more home runs needs to educate themselves about baseball.

Is this reporting? Wow, its been a while.

Markakis is a doubles machine and he gets on base, if our offensive game was more like his everyone would have more RBI/RBI chances.

Hello Nick haters, the article said it:

When he does come to the plate with runners on second or third, he’s hitting .315/.405/.392. Basically, he's lacking the RBI results because he's lacking the opportunity.”

Last year, the Os were 2nd or 3rd in the AL hitting with RISP but 10th in ABs with RISP...Nick's AB with RISP have been reduced. Its right there.

Home runs? Sure would like to see them up in the 20-25 range...you'd have to analyze every pitch he's hit this year to determine why he's only hit 10. Rbi-wise, as much as the O's sucked this year, 75 rbi's as of today with an outside shot at 80 hitting out of the 2 hole ain't so bad. Again, not what we're used to, but there are obvious reasons why his RBI total is down.

I still support Nick 100 percent.. So what if he hits 10-20 HR that is his job.maybe He has become an opposite field doubles hitter but you have to hit what the pitcher throws where he throws where he throws it. Markakis and Roberts are the two best we have at that. I expect his HR-RBI to both jump if we add the bats we need next year and this discusion will be irrelevant..

Thanks Jeff for posting this and passing along passages from their article - all very informative. And thanks to the authors/editors of the Prospectus article too.

The nut that thinks Markakis plays shakey defense doesn't watch many games. He is one of the premier right fielders in the game. You could easily put together a highlight film of his spectacular catches, etc., and he has one of the most accurate and strong arms in the game as evidenced by the fact that over the last 4 seasons he has thrown out 50 people on the bases. This also means that not as many people try to run on him now because of his reputation and stats. On offense, he has consistently hit between .291 and .306 for the Orioles and the only thing he needs is someone to hit behind him to protect him, and some more time in the weight room. He's a class act and if the Orioles were ever dumb enough to put him up for a trade, make no mistake, they would have plenty of suitors. Anybody that thinks otherwise doesn't know baseball.

On another subject, why does the Sunpaper make the verification words so hard to read. I'm sure the number of comments that are submitted are reduced by the submitters inability to read the damn words. If you are furnishing the word why make it a contest to try to figure out what it is?

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This is a common complaint. As writers, we have nothing to do with it. But we are sorry it's a hassle. That said, it's a necessary evil cuz the spam we get otherwise is incredible. This system is much harder to automate. But sorry again

This proves again the viewpoint I have held since last year - the Orioles need a bona-fide cleanup hitter - a slugger - to anchor that lineup. You aren't going to get 30 HR out of Markakis, and watching him swing more and more like Rod Carew every day, you're lucky to get 20...I'd even say 15 is probably what you'll see. The Orioles have a lot of complementary hitters (Scott and Wieters can hit 5th or 6th, Jones maybe 3rd, Markakis is a #2). But if Nick is going to spray the ball to all fields, his average should have climbed this year, shouldn't it?
You also can't pin everything on Roberts' absence. That is pigeonholing the situation. However, I think Nick may have had 10-15 more RBI with Roberts in there all year. He would not have had 100 RBI. Instead they kept trying Julio Lugo and even Izturis ahead of him at times, neither of whom can get on base any more than a pitcher.
I'd be fine with Nick not trying to muscle up at all (which is obvious watching him swing all year) if we have the consistent power batting 3rd and 4th behind him.
I agree with the others, this is an in depth article.

blancione

Did you not even read what Zrebiec wrote? You shouldn't even waste your time reading the blogs if you're SO adamant that it's SO unaccpetable that Markakis' production numbers are down even though he's lacked the opportunity.

What's written here is the same exact thing that I've been arguing with you on Schmuck's blog all season. And now that a Stat Head on Baseball Prospectus who couldn't give a flying crap about the Orioles gives you even more detailed stats then I could, it's still unacceptable? Dude, you're in you're own world and you're impossible to argue with. A lot of power hitters have an open stance.

Here's a thought. Aquire a few players this offseason who can put up better than a .325 OBP, because other then Markakis, Luke Scott is the only other Oriole hitter who has put up better then a .340 OBP (which is ML average). Then maybe, just maybe, that will give Markakis' precious RBI total a boost.

Also, maybe if Markakis had some actual protection around him, he would'nt have to hit to he opposite field so often...ever notice how often he sees low and outside pitches? Figure that out. It's because most of his power comes from the inside part of the plate. Therefore the pitchers are going pitch him outside because it's out of his zone, and Markakis has to adjust. It's called major league hitting. Otherwise, you have an all or nothing hitter in the form of Adam Jones.

I appreciate the piece and think it brings up some interesting considerations. That said, strange as it may sound, I'm really not that worried about Markakis. Sure, a legit power hitter and a consistently present leadoff hitter would help his cause, but I also have great confidence in him as a pure hitter. How much power that ultimately translates into, well, I have every faith it'll be more than this year -- how much more we'll have to see.

I saw all of the spring training games a few years back when Markakis forced them to make him a major leaguer on the spot. Have followed him with interest ever since. All of the numbers that have been laid out to evaluate where Nick stands need to be regarded as adjuncts to the evaluation and not the sole determinant. Let me say that my thinking has always been that power and power numbers are grossly overrated. Give me a team on which ever player hits .290 and they will be highly productive without a lot of HR's. Games are won by every player getting on base a reasonable percentage of the time and putting pressure on the pitching and defense. It is NOT a one player game. Not reflected in the numbers presented about Markakis is that he plays virtually every game. He is not injury prone. His play is consistent. We don't have the hot / cold Scott drill. He is very level in his approach. He is not a prima donna, not a showboater, and not a hot head. We must also remember that even the very best players have variations year to year in performance. There are multiple factors in why this happens. I realize that people make their living writing this stuff...and that is fine. I just think most of us need to look at the total picture of a player in calculating his net worth to an organization. In my opinion the O's are getting an A perforamance from Markakis on almost a daily basis. I would take a whole team of folks with his approach and his stats any day.

PS...agree with Chris about the spam protection process. Must be a smart programmer who can find a better way.

Until Showalter showed up no one was hitting behind Nick, and they were not pitching to his power.

Walks, opposite field hits and drives into the gaps for doubles are the result.

Re-finding his "pull" stroke would have the next article be about how Nick's trying to pull everything and thus "rolling over" and grounding to 2nd base too much.

Get a couple strong bats and Nick could have a tremendous year.

You know it's amazing that when people have a certain perception of a player no matter what that player does or doesn't do it never changes things.Jeff, you and the rest of these fans can't possible tell me in good faith that they can't see darmatic difference in the way nick approaches his plate appearances.You can argue with until your blue in the face that his new approach at the plate hasn't cut down on his attempt to pull the ball and generate any power. If you can't or won't see that then there isn't anymore I can say. If all of you that come on here day after day can honestly admit that he hasn't had a down year, with his hr's and rbi's cut in half then your expectation level is non existent.When all of you keep throwing in all the stats you are only trying to justify something that can't be changed and that is a down year period.

Markakis is generally having one of his normal seasons. His BA is right around his career average, as is his OBP. I don't think he is primarily responsible for his fall in RBIs, but hitting half the number of HRs a player would normally hit in a given season certainly contributes to a decline in RBI totals. I think it's laughable that people are arguing that going from 18-20 HRs with a .465 slugging % to 10 HRs with a .420 slugging % does not constitute a significant drop in performance, especially when Markakis is not making up for his fall in HR production with a better batting average or with far more stolen bases. His doubles are not significant in this discussion due to the fact that he is not hitting a significantly higher number of doubles this year than he has hit in any of his other seasons with the exception of his rookie campaign. It should be pointed out that Markakis is by no means an 'excellent' fielder. His range factor indicates that he is slightly above average (maybe a 6 out of 10). Furthermore, I don't understand why he no longer steals bases. He stole 18 bases in 2007, and he would be a far more dynamic player if he stole 16-20 bases every year rather than the 6-8 stolen bases that can now be expected of him. Markakis is a good hitter, has been consistent and healthy throughout his career, and is not a 'dramatic' type player. I am very glad he is signed long term with the Orioles, but although Markakis is a good hitter and a good fielder, he is not nearly productive enough to anchor a solid offense, which is one of the reasons the Orioles need to supplement the lineup this offseason. Despite the improvements, I can see several potentials for major weaknesses in the lineup in 2011:
1B
SS
3B (I understand that Bell needs to be given a chance next year, but that does not change the fact that production from 3B could be very poor next year)
LF See above. Contrary to widespread belief on these boards, Pie has not had a good season this year. His BA is only decent, his OBP is terrible, his slugging % and HR numbers are mediocre, and he can't steal bases, despite the fact that he has very good speed. As usual, he has failed to stay healthy.
CF: Again, contrary to widespread belief, Jones has not had a very good season this year due to his very poor OBP. On a side note, I don't understand why Jones does not steal 20+ bases every year.
In general, I think we are seeing a significantly improved Orioles team, but I don't see any end in sight to the consecutive years of losing seasons (now in its 13th year) unless the Orioles make some major free agent acquisitions.

I think Reimold should automatically be given preference over Pie in LF. Reimold has already had a successful season at the major league level, which is far more than could said of Pie.

I agree w/Wayne Hicks. Markakis is extremely overrated. He's a .290 gap hitter w/almost no HR power whatsoever. People keep saying he needs a big bat hitting behind him, but when Aubrey Huff had a career year batting 4th in '08, Markakis' numbers still weren't that impressive. Sure he hits a lot of doubles but he usually always hit them w/the bases empty. Send him and a starting pitcher to San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez. Not only does that give us a power hitting 1st baseman, but it'll give Reimold a legit chance in either right or left.

David Wright !!! 2009 with Reyes and Beltran out most of the year - no one on base, no one to protect him .307/10/72. 2010 Reyes generally back plus good year from Pagan, Bay for a while, the emergence of Ike Davis and now Beltran back .287/28/100.

Last year all everyone talked about was his loss of power, citifield was too big etc...Enough already on Nick's power. He's the best player on this team, he'll hit 15-20 hr's and 45 doubles every year and with more protection will bat .300 and drive in 90-100.

Just ask the Yankees, Rays or Red Sox if they'd trade him even up for any outfielder they have, except for Crawford. Man some of you guys are just unbelievable.

Nick is hitting for average right around his norm and those doubles keep coming. He's more of a Keith Hernandez kind of guy as far as home runs. But those things tend to move back to the norm as well (expect another 50 out of Bautista next year?)\

He's just a good all round player. Call any club. They'll be glad to have him.

Why does Markakis need all of these conditions to hit for Orioles wins rather than his own stats? the people who support him with all these "conditions"/excuses, still see him as the golden boy of the Orioles.

Its funny how everyone always wants to give reasons for Nicks lack of power.. " If he had this. if he had that" "If he hit in such in such situataion with so and so hitting in front for behind him" Im sooo tired of hearing all the BS... True hitters produce no matter what.. Did it matter where Barry Bonds hit in the lineup ? Crap he was barley even pitched to. My point is EVERY major leauge hitter would be that much better if they were given the chance to hit in a "perfect " situation. Nicks mumber being down is 85% on HIM the rest have to do with his surrondings.. I mean has having Matt Holiday hit behid Puljos really improve Alberts numbers ? ... Its funny how the same people who make every excuse for Nick are the same ones who CRUCIFY Adam Jones.. Adam is younger and has steadily improved while Nick keeps going on that downward sprial.. I love his glove, his arm, his hustle, but I mean come on do what A.J did hit the gym put on some bulk for cry'n out loud eat a steak and drink a protien shake we need more power from that spot..

I am sorry when you pay a guy 11-12 Million a year, I think its reasonable to expect him to hit 20 home runs at least.
I think he needs to go with Brob to AZ and do some of that conditioning and bulk up a few pounds of muscle. I don't mean do roids, but Common.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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