This is now the eighth part in my multi-part series, "Around the Diamond," as today we take a look into right field.
During the 2008 season, the Orioles had one goal in mind: rebuilding. This goal was to be set around multiple players, namely Brian Roberts, Jeremy Guthrie, and possibly the most important, Nick Markakis.
Nick Markakis was selected by the O's in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft, and he hasn't looked back since.
Last season, Markakis hit for a team-leading .306 batting average, with 20 home runs, 87 RBI, and 106 runs scored.
He now has a career average of .299, with 59 home runs, 261 RBI, and 275 runs scored.
He has undoubtedly lived up to his potential.
Markakis is not only a dangerous player with the bat; he is also one of the best with his glove. Last season, he had a .991 fielding percentage and recorded 17 outfield assists. I believe that many Orioles' fans can agree that he got snubbed for the Gold Glove Award.
Moving into the future, Markakis is a player that franchise can be built around. He is expected to be a No. 3 hitter in the batting order, not to mention his stellar defense in right field.
The key, however, is being able to keep him.
One major concern that has yet to be addressed is Markakis' contract. Last year, it was reported that Nick was upset over the slight increase in pay that he received, and this season he needs to get the amount of money that he deserves.
Many believe that he is a player that the O's should attempt to lock up anywhere from seven to 10 years. He, along with Adam Jones, Brian Roberts, and Jeremy Guthrie, should be receiving an offer for a contract extension in the near future.
Andy MacPhail, the Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, has already spoken with Markakis' agent on the issue.
Nick Markakis will soon be the face of the Baltimore franchise. Both he and Adam Jones are expected to be playing side-by-side on the American League All-Star team someday, something that every O's fan will be delighted to see.
Before long, Markakis could become one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, as I do not believe that he has even come close to hitting at his full potential. If Nick can find his power stroke, we may see a 30+ home-run season, and, added with a .300 average, could make him a Silver Slugger like his current teammate, Aubrey Huff.
For now, though, all us O's fans can do is watch and hope that Mr. MacPhail can get him to sign an extension.
We will just have to sit back and wait until after this Teixeira fiasco is over and done with.
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