2. Nick Markakis, RF
In his first five years in the majors with the Orioles, Nick Markakis has become a fan favorite in Baltimore. The right fielder has been one of Baltimore's most consistent players, both in the field and at the plate the past five years.
Since Markakis exploded in his rookie year with the O's, he has maintained .298 career average. Although Markakis' power numbers never matched what some had hoped for, the right fielder has not disappointed with 89 home runs and has been one of the most complete hitters in the American League East.
Markakis has utilized the openness of Camden Yards' outfield to his advantage. Over the past four years, Markakis has averaged 45 doubles and has remained towards the top in extra base hits in the AL.
Not to mention, Markakis has been a nightmare to other teams defensively, the 27-year-old has remained amongst the leaders in outfield assists. The right fielder does not possess an over-powering arm such as Ichiro, but Markakis always seems to put him in position to make a solid, accurate throws.
Markakis continued his consistency for the Orioles in 2010 and hit .297/.370/.436 with 12 home runs and 60 RBI. The 60 RBI was a sharp drop from 2009, in which Markakis hit 101, but it is understandable since Brian Roberts was without the club for most of the season due to injury.
With a potentially healthy one-two duo at the top of the order for the Orioles in 2011, Markakis should see his RBI production return to the jump from 2010.
Markakis averaged 100 RBI from 2007 to 2009.
I would also not be surprised to see Markakis to break .900 in OPS for the first time in his career.
In 2008, Markakis came close posting a .897 OPS, but has since barely eclipsed .800 the past two seasons.Markakis will be better protected in 2011 with Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero hitting behind him, that Markakis should see better pitches in 2011.
Prediction: .312 AVG, 15 HR, 49 2B, 107 RBI
On Deck: Derrek Lee
In the Hole: Vladimir Guerrero
Previous Prediction: Brian Roberts