Injury Update: Nick Markakis

Like my ’92 Toyota Camry that ran for three years despite, or in spite of, me not changing the oil, Nick Markakis just goes and goes. Yet, for the first time in his career he runs the risk of missing time due to injury. Ok, technically I’m wrong. He’s missed four games due to injury in his entire six year career, and just one since 2006. That streak may be in jeopardy thanks to the abdominal surgery he underwent last Thursday. He first injured the area sliding into a base in early September but played through the pain for the remainder of the season.

Despite the extensive muscle damage Markakis expects to be ready for opening day. Ryan Zimmerman had the same surgery preformed last May and missed six weeks. He wasn’t the same upon his return, putting up a .580 OPS in June. It wasn’t until mid-July that he started to find his groove again. Markakis has roughly 40 days before the start of spring training, so there’s a good chance he’s ready unless the injury is re-aggravated. If he’s not healthy the Orioles would likely turn to veteran Endy Chavez who hit .301 in 83 games with the Rangers last season. Another candidate is Jai Miller, who is with his fourth organization in the past three seasons. Miller’s Triple-A numbers are good, especially the .956 OPS last season, but come with the caveat that they were produced in the extremely hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.

Say Markakis is ready to go opening day, what can we expect from him? The past two seasons have been wildly disappointing, with 2011 being the worst of his career. His isolated slugging (slugging percentage minus batting average) has decreased each of the past four seasons from .185 to .122. After knocking in an average of 100 runs from ’07-’09 he’s averaged just 133 the last two years. His runs scored have also dropped each of the past three seasons. Some of that has to do with the Orioles offense but Markakis isn’t without blame. His O-Swing% (percentage of swings outside the strikezone) has risen every year since 2008. He’s not trending in a good direction.

Some sites have published their early 2012 big boards. ESPN and CBS have Markakis ranked as the 31st and 28th best outfielder, respectively. ESPN has him ranked above Ben Zobrist, Michael Morse, Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran. Personally, I think he’s being overvalued thanks to name recognition and durability. Each of those players does many things better than Markakis. He’s not a bad hitter by any means but will be coming off a major surgery with two seasons of sub-par performance under his belt. Buyer beware.

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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

7 Responses to “Injury Update: Nick Markakis”

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  1. Eddie in NYC says:

    He got the injury making a sliding catch. He dove stomach first, and rolled up afterwards in pain. I believe he caught the ball, so the GG testifies to that type of effort.

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  2. Brad Johnson says:

    When I saw “Injury Update: Nick…” My mind immediately filled in the blank with “Johnson.”

    Tricky of you to change the title while I looked away, all without me reloading the page…

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  3. Brad Johnson says:

    And I have him marked as a $1 buy in 12 team deep roster leagues. You’ll probably see him spend a couple days on the waiver wire in most ~350 player formats. The deeper the bench, the less like that is to happen.

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  4. Bryan Curley says:

    There’s no way Markakis should be ahead of Zobrist, Morse, Berkman or Beltran…

    …or Chris Young/Matt Joyce and, in my opinion, Coco Crisp or Melky Cabrera.

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  5. Josh says:

    I always wondered what happened to this guy, but looking back, it seems his 2008 was just an outlier and he’s mostly been steady since. at the time, it felt like he was trending upward. he’s also a classic “better in real life than fantasy” player.

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  6. Markakis has disappointed for several years now, plus the injury, so I wonder if he may actually become a value in drafts this year. He’s definitely fallen off a lot in roto value, but in a format like ottoneu points, where his 2B and BB help and his lack of R and RBI don’t hurt, he’s not a bad 3rd or 4th OF. His BABIP was a career-worst .300 last year so that should bounce back, especially since it came with a career-best LD% of 23.1%. And though it’s not of interest for fantasy, I’d love to see some analysis of his defense as UZR had him as an average RF in 2007-2008 (5.9, 11.9) but a liability since then (-6.1, -5.5, -4.7).

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