Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Nick Markakis was perhaps the most disappointing fantasy player last year, totalling just 12 HRs and 60 RBI in a whopping 709 plate appearances. Though oddly enough, he still hit .297.
The former first-round pick has failed to fulfill expectations since his eye-popping sophomore season in 2007 that yielded: 97 runs, 23 HRs, 112 RBI, 18 steals and a .300 average.
In five major league seasons, Markakis has yet to tap into the 30-HR power that scouts once expected him to have. Instead, he’s hit just 20, 18 and 12 bombs in each of the last three seasons, while both his ISO power and HR/FB rate have dropped to below-average totals:
- 2008: .185
- 2009: .160
- 2010: .138
To put this into perspective, Jhonny Peralta (.143), Cody Ross (.145), Jose Reyes (.146) and Yuniesky Betancourt (.146) all topped Markakis’ 2010 ISO power.
- 2008: 12.6 percent
- 2009: 8.0 percent
- 2010: 6.1 percent
Yet despite this head-scratching power decline in his age-24, 25 and 26 seasons, Markakis has managed to remain fantasy relevant.
Among qualified batters since 2007, Markakis ranks 18th in runs (94 per season), 19th in batting average (.299), and 24th in RBI (90 per season).
Markakis has also improved his already impressive plate discipline stats:
- 2008: 19.0 percent
- 2009: 15.3 percent
- 2010: 14.8 percent
- MLB average: 20.7 percent
- 2008: 84.6 percent
- 2009: 86.6 percent
- 2010: 89.9 percent
- MLB average: 80.7 percent
Swinging Strike Rate:
- 2008: 6.2 percent
- 2009: 5.4 percent
- 2010: 4.1 percent
- MLB average: 8.5 percent
So what does this all mean?
Well, despite his power outage, Markakis is still an excellent hitter who is projected to bat second in a loaded Orioles lineup this season. While it’s obvious he isn’t the 30-HR threat we once thought he was, it’s important to remember he’s just entering his age-27 season – the beginning of his prime years.
I used this example in my profile on Billy Butler, and it applies here as well. Robinson Cano, an excellent contact hitter with relatively low fly-ball rates (just like Markakis) hit for below-average power (14, 15, 19, 14 HRs) in his age-22 through 25 seasons before busting out with 25 and 29 bombs as a 26 and 27-year-old.
Markakis is unlikely to double his 2010 home run total in 2011, but it’s definitely worth mentioning that he’s just now entering his prime. Even if he only whacks 20 over the fence this year (career average: 18 HRs per), Markakis will likely push for 100 runs, 100 RBI and a .300 batting average.
|2011 FBI Forecast||700||95||20||90||8||.298|
Image courtesy of: Keith Allison
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- No. 91: Brian Wilson
- No. 92: Carlos Marmol
- No. 93: Pedro Alvarez
- No. 94: Ben Zobrist
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