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2011 Fantasy Projections No. 95: There's Still Hope for Nick Markakis' HR Stroke

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2011 Fantasy Projections No. 95: There's Still Hope for Nick Markakis' HR Stroke
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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.

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. 

ISO Power:

  • 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. 

HR/FB Rate:

  • 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.

Strikeout Rate:

  • 2008: 19.0 percent
  • 2009: 15.3 percent
  • 2010: 14.8 percent
  • MLB average: 20.7 percent

Contact Rate:

  • 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 year), Markakis will likely push for 100 runs, 100 RBI and a .300 batting average.

 

  PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2010 stats 709 79 12 60 7 .297
3-year average 706 93 17 83 8 .298
2011 FBI Forecast 700 95 20 90 8 .298

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: FANTASY BASEBALL INSIDERS

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