X Marks The Spot: Don’t Overlook Nick Markakis

I have to ask, why do fantasy owners downgrade Nick Markakis on their draft boards?  Is it because that he hasn’t fully realized the potential that everyone thought he would?  Is it because he’s a steady option that you know what you are going to get?

Let’s just look at his 2009 statistics:

642 At Bats
.293 Batting Average (188 Hits)
18 Home Runs
101 RBI
94 Runs
6 Stolen Bases
.347 On Base Percentage
.453 Slugging Percentage
.323 Batting Average on Balls in Play

What exactly is wrong with that line?  Is it the power?  Well, I truly believe that number is an aberration, not the rule.  Just look at his HR/FB rates the past four seasons:

  • 2006 – 13.1%
  • 2007 – 11.6%
  • 2008 – 12.6%
  • 2009 – 8.0%

Which of these things are not like the others?  It’s hard for me to believe that his power, now at 26-years old, has dropped like that, especially when his flyballs were at a career high (40.6%).  Throw in his doubles totals from the past three years (43, 48 and 45) and there are a lot of reasons to believe he should enjoy a renaissance in the power department.

Would I expect him to be a 30 HR guy?  No, but he certainly should be in the low-to-mid 20s in ’10.

He’s a career .298 hitter, so he wasn’t very far off last season.  In fact, his worst average was the .291 he hit in his rookie year and his best was .306 in ’08.  He’s been extremely consistent, so why should we expect anything different?

The runs and RBI are a function of a lineup, something the Orioles have done a great job of improving, both through developing young talents and supplementing it with veteran free agents.  The days of it being Markakis, Brian Roberts and everyone else are certainly well in the past.

Now, the lineup is fairly loaded from top to bottom, with Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins being brought in to help supplement Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones.  It’s a solid group of guys that should allow him to both drive in and score close to 100 runs.

No, he doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s shown the potential to steal double-digit bases in the past.  He set a career high in ’07 with 18 and also had 10 in ’08.  It’s certainly not a definite that he reaches that level, but that’s his upside.

Let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him in 2010:

.300 (186-620), 22 HR, 100 RBI, 95 R, 9 SB, .333 BABIP, .363 OBP, .487 SLG

He’s a player that contributes across the board, so what exactly is it that fantasy owners don’t like?  The .300 average?  The 100/100 potential?  The home runs with a little bit of speed?

We know what he is and for some reason people consider that a bad thing.  Maybe because he’s not elite in any one category, but he contributes everywhere and that’s alright with me.  He’s certainly a player I want on my teams and one that I consider a low-end number one outfielder (I have him ranked ninth) and worth taking in the late fourth or early fifth round (his ADP is right around 50 and is the twelfth outfielder off the board).

What about you?  Is Markakis a player you’d like to own?  Would you take him at the end of the fourth round?

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Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

5 comments

  1. BLAZE says:

    “so what exactly is it that fantasy owners don’t like?”

    I’d guess it’s his ADP they don’t like. Im not ruling out passing him up b/c i’ve always liked Nick Markakis, but you could get Choo, Abreu & Torii Hunter with somewhat similar stat-lines at a discount.

    Choo/Abreu/Hunter seem like they could potentially get really close to those Markakis projections at a 2-3 round bargain. IMO

  2. BLAZE says:

    I just don’t see him as an OF1 and picking him inside pick 50 you’re treating him like one. B/C If he’s your OF2 at that point of the draft then you’re gonna be wondering why you have two OF’s in 4/5 round and holes in the INF, then you’re watching Manny, C. Lee, Ethier, Cruz, Choo, BUpton, McCutchen etc sitting there and you’re filling in your INF with Michael Young’s and Derrek Lee’s.

  3. TY says:

    20HR and sub 10 SB OF’er is not that special. He does hit for good avg, and gets the rbi’s and runs, he’s consistent, but overrated. 5-6th round I’d think about it. 4th round no way. I’ve argued for choo many times that I’d take him, but now he’s getting to the point where he’s overrated. He’s ranked #44 in yahoo right now, thats total insanity, no choo on my teams then this year if thats the case…. both are in all reality 6th rounders.

    Which by the way some of YAHOO’s rankings are stupid, including that choo rank.

    I think Reimold could outproduce Markakis this year on the same team.

  4. E-Z says:

    I agree with the other posts. Markakis provides a solid stat line. The problem is that we were all drafting Markakis in 08/09 with the promise of him into a 30/25 threat. That line was worth a top 20 or 30 pick for him but it never materialised. Last year he was a borderline top 20 OF. The numbers are nice, but there just doesn’t seem to be much upside attached. At best I predict him as a top 15 OF, which is what – top 60?

  5. Aaron says:

    Yeah last year he “dissapointed” because of the steal expectations. But I think this year he goes at a more reasonable ADP and will be a good value as an OF2 in say, the 5th round?

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