Can Nick Markakis Turn His Season Around?

Jun 10, 2011


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Nick Markakis’ home run total decreased each year since 2007 (23, 20, 18, 12). He has four through sixty games, which puts him on pace for 11. He’s on pace for 68 runs and 51 RBI, which would also be career lows. His run totals have decreased each year since 2008 and his RBI total is on pace to decline for the third straight year.
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Markakis is no longer considered an elite fantasy outfielder. Right now, given the aforementioned decline in production and his .238 batting average, he is becoming hard to justify a roster spot. Yet, he is owned in 70 percent of fantasy leagues. When he was averaging a .300-99-20-100-11 line from 2007-2009 it was easy to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now he’s in his second season of mediocre play.
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I considered him a candidate to bounce back heading into the year, and things have gotten worse. Is it time to write Nick Markakis off or can he turn his season around?
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There is certainly room for batting average improvement. Not only because his .238 is well below the .298 lifetime average he had entering the season, but because his BABIP of .252 is well below his mark in other years. His career low was .314 in his rookie season. Since then it’s been .331, .350, .317, and .331. Baseball has a way of averaging itself out, so as his BABIP returns to form, his average should climb.
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He’s also a better second half hitter. His career mark before the All-Star Break is .284 and .305 after. The same goes for his OPS (.781, .859). He has seven more home runs in 470 fewer at bats. His sweet spot is June-August when he has hit .314. For some strange reason he only has five home runs in 134 June games, but August is his top month with 24. Even in his down 2010 season he finished strong hitting .344 with 21 runs, 4 HRs, and 15 RBI in his final 122 ABs.
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A return to the pre-2010 level seems like a long shot, but I still think he can help fantasy teams. If he’s available on your waiver wire, he’s worth a look. He’s also worth a trade attempt. You should be able to get him at a discount.
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