• Mar
    23

    Markakis proves he’s ready

    Heading into this spring, my belief was that outfielder Nick Markakis had to prove he belonged in the big leagues. Well, with just a little over a week left in spring training, I believe Markakis has done just that.

     

    After today’s 4-for-4, two double performance, his spring line now sits at .356/.464/.556. If that’s not impressive enough for you, add in the fact that he’s drawn 10 walks while striking out four times, and you have a prospect who’s actually forcing his way onto the roster.

     

    Add in the fact that Markakis could be the first real rookie of the year candidate the Orioles have had since Gregg Olson won it in 1989, and you have another reason to keep him, fan excitement. Too many times over the years the Orioles have brought prospects up in the middle of a season due to an injury, and more times than not they have disappointed while exhausting their rookie status. In fact, if my research is correct, he would be the first rookie to open the season with a starting position in the opening day lineup since Geronimo Gil in 2002. But I don’t think anyone outside of BTerp thought Gil was a rookie of the year candidate.

     

    Personally, I think the O’s should make Markakis the opening day left fielder with a Matos/Patterson platoon in center field. I know some folks don’t agree with me here, but I would also make him the team’s number two batter. First off, he’s going to get good pitches to hit with Mora, Tejada and Gibbons coming up. Secondly, as the number two batter, the pressure is actually less because no one expects power for the number two guy and he can focus on doing the little things to help the team when he goes through an inevitable slump. That’s perfect, because I don't want him to worry about hitting for power. Let him hit the doubles, get on base, move people over and let the power come next year or the year after. If Markakis bats .300 with a .370 OBP with 35 doubles, I don't care how many homers he hits this year. Put him in left field, bat him second and give him 550 major league at bats this year.

     

    If Markakis continues his sudden ascent (after all he started last year in Frederick), we may have our first positional rookie of the year and home grown star since Cal Ripken Jr.

     

    So who goes to make room? Even with his hot spring, you have to imagine Newhan is the guy who goes. The O's could always send Geronimo Gil back to the minors and go with Javy Lopez as the backup catcher, but the Orioles seem to want that third catcher. Personally, I'm sending Gil packing but I think Newhan will end up as the guy who goes.


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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.

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