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Friday, December 5, 2014

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: NICK MARKAKIS OUTFIELDER BALTIMORE ORIOLES

The Atlanta Braves fired their first offseason salvo Wednesday after signing free agent outfielder Nick Markakis to a $44 million deal, which many deemed a ton of money for a guy who is considered a solid but far from great player.  Still as always we cover everything and anything when it comes to 2015 fantasy baseball so let's dig in on what Markakis could provide the Braves and his owners this season.

Nick Markakis spent nine years with the Baltimore Orioles as an everyday outfielder for the team and generally was a decent player for the team.  However Markakis was a bit mystifying as well for a number of reasons.  Primarily, Markakis came up as a 22-year-old and quickly showed the team and the fantasy baseball community that he was a possible star in the making.  He came up and his 16 home runs his rookie year, while batting .291.  The hype grew even more as a 23-year-old in his second season as Markakis slammed 23 home runs and drove in an extreme 112 batters while batting .300.  As an added bonus, Markakis also stole 18 bases as he became a five-tool outfielder almost overnight.  The hype meter went into overdrive and visions of 30/30 began being tossed around as Markakis still had a few seasons to go before he reached his prime.  A funny thing happened however.  Starting with the 2008 season (Markakis' third  as a major leaguer), his numbers began to take a sharp drop almost across the board.  Gone were the 20-plus home run seasons as Markakis has not hit that mark in the subsequent seven years.  Gone were the stolen bases as Markakis only swiped double-digits TWICE in the same seven year span (with the high only a mediocre 12).  Gone were the 100-RBI as Markakis reached that mark only once during that same span again.  Things got so bad that Markakis was soon considered a bench or even waiver guy after a horrific 2013 when he hit only 10 home runs, stole 2 bases, and batted an ugly .271.  All during the time period when Markakis was only supposed to be getting better and reaching his prime. 

When you break it all down, it is tough to figure out what the heck happened there.  Markakis has not come anywhere close to his 2007 career years but he did fight back last season to reclaim at least some fantasy baseball shine.  Overall Markakis batted .276 with 14 home runs and 81 runs scored.  I didn't even mention the steals as Markakis took only 4 bags and seems completely shot in that department.  In addition, Markakis drove in only 50 runs, which will be a problem in Atlanta too due to the downgrade in lineup potency. 

In delving deeper into what Markakis currently is as he turns 31, what we have here is a guy who is still a .290 career hitter through all those up-and-down seasons and posting a .280 mark is likely in his new locale.  What we can't expect however is anything more than the 14 home runs he hit last season and even scaling him back there is smart as he moves from one of the best power parks in the game to a prime pitching park in Atlanta.  We already touched on the lack of steals and RBI which leaves only the runs.  Markakis is a solid on-base guy which means he could bat second for the Braves and collect a decent amount of runs.  It is entirely possible he passes the 80 mark again, especially if he does bat high in the order this season.

With regards to the fast approaching season, Nick Markakis can't be graded as anything more than an outfielder 3 at best.  He can do a little of this and a little of that but nothing that adds up to anything impactful.  Which is something we likely would have had a difficult time saying after seeing his early seasons with Baltimore.

2015 PROJECTION:  .278 12 HR 59 RBI 86 R 5 SB

 
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