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Thread: HHP: For all of the talk of Markakis disappointing, he could actually be in for quite a year
05-19-2012 09:10 AM #1Plus Member Since 7/12 Major League Starter
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HHP: For all of the talk of Markakis disappointing, he could actually be in for quite a year
Here are Nick's slash lines through 40 games so far in his career, compared to his final line.
40 G: .213/.309/.315/.624
40 G: .258/.331/.432/.764
40 G: .266/.397/.441/.837
40 G: .318/.395/.519/.915
40 G: .296/.390/.434/.824
40 G: .248/.315/.345/.661
40 G: .258/.337/.459/.796
Average differential between 40 G point and final: + .047 OPS
Add .047 OPS to Markakis' current OPS and you get .843. That would be his 3rd best total in his career and his best since 2008, his career best at .897. Still, I'm sure most would take it.
But here's some notes that suggest it could be higher:
1) He has his highest ISO (.201) this year, tied with the largely anomalous 2009 campaign.
2) In his 2 best seasons to date (2008, 2009) he had a very similar BA .258/.266 but was slugging less (.432, .441).
3) The following note will be less persuasive among the steadfast stat guys but I believe it's well worth making nonetheless: arguably, this is the first time Nick will likely have something to play for throughout the season since 2006, 2007, 2008, when he was playing to establish himself and a contract.
(2009 record through 40 G: 16-24/ record at All-Star: 40-48/ Final: 64-98
2010 record through 40 G: 13-27/ record at All-Star: 29-59/ Final:66-96
2011 record through 40 G: 19-21/ record at All-Star: 36-52/ Final: 69-93)
Obviously, #3 is a bit mitigated by the fact there's obviously some inter-causality in Nick's performance and the performance of the team, but one wonders if those numbers would be better if he were either 1) playing for a contract or 2)playing on a team which has something to play for. Take 2009, which looks so anomalous, but maybe wouldn't look so if the team weren't 54-78 on Sept. 1, with virtually nothing to play for, when Nick entered with an .836 OPS, only to finish at .801.
Like I said, point 3 is more anecdotal, but I think anyone who has played competitive sports can see what I'm getting at with the psychological angle of possible performance drop when there is very little at stake.
Particularly unfortunate for Nick, who has a LOT of data to suggest he is a much better second-half player (2009 is especially misleading with the way I've presented it here, because his OPS at G50 was already down to .854 and at G81 he was .803, so even then he was nearly the same player in each half, as opposed to other years where there is--on the average--a definite positive statistical trend as the year goes on), which has just happened to be the time when the Orioles have basically been guaranteed to be playing for nothing over his 6 years with the team.
Nick's decline since 2008 has been attributed to a lot of things, but I haven't heard it attributed to perhaps the most obvious: he got a big contract before the 2009 season, and the team hasn't been at all competitive in any of those seasons until now.
Still, even forgetting my personal qualification to these stats, his high ISO and SLG at this point in comparison to other years suggests he could be in for a very decent year. A 2007 like OPS seems very feasible.
05-19-2012 09:25 AM #2
This is one hell of a post. Great job.
I know Jimbo is sold, he has been harping on a Nick Markakis breakout all offseason.
05-19-2012 09:40 AM #3Hangout Blogger Hall of Fame
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Very interesting analysis. His numbers right now are extremely similar to where he was in 2007, which was his 2nd best year in the majors. The main thing I'd caution is that Nick certainly has had years where his performance got worse after the first 40 games, so using his average improvement isn't really that meaningful.
I do find his high ISO to be very encouraging. After June 8 of last year, Nick hit .312/.381/.465 for the rest of the season. Even though his .848 OPS in that stretch was very encouraging, it was a little discouraging to see him with a .153 ISO even during a period when he was relatively hot. So, I so take a lot of comfort in the .201 ISO he has put up so far, which is higher than he has ever had in a full season (.185 in both 2007 and 2008).
The main thing I'm waiting for is for Nick to get truly hot. He hasn't had a hitting streak of more than 5 games yet this season, he's had three hits in a game only three times, and I don't think you can find a 10-game stretch in which he has hit .300. He has hit .293 over his last 10 games and that's his high-water mark. I think we all expect that Nick will, at some point, go on one of those 15-30 game tears where his BA takes off, and when that happens, I think his overall numbers will look quite healthy. Maybe he is starting one now, he has three consecutive multi-hit games for the first time all year, although two of those were extra-inning affairs where he got a lot of at bats.
In any event, I'm still pretty optimistic about Nick's season.
05-19-2012 09:55 AM #4Plus Member Hall of Fame
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This team needs Nick if it is going to compete. Nick, AJ, Wieters, Hardy and Davis can carry this team offensively.
If DD were to add one more plus bat (particularly with plus defense at 3B), the lineup would would be playoff-worthy IMO.
05-19-2012 09:57 AM #5
Thanks! I have been disappointed, but now I'm hopeful. It's the old, I'm paying WAY to much attention to Batting Average thing... a relic from my childhood.
Big home run last night for Nick! 7 taters... I'll take it.
05-19-2012 10:13 AM #6Plus Member Since 7/12 Major League Starter
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The general point, though, is this: Nick is a better second half hitter than first half. You're right, the stats don't support the idea that he ALWAYS trends up after 40 G, but they do support that he generally trends up as the season goes along. He has a .791 career first half OPS vs. .850 second half. In 2009 and 2010--as you note--he trended downward on the whole after 40 games, but as I noted, 2009 was a bit odd in that he was quickly down into the low .800s in OPS only about 10-15 games after being at the .915 figure posted above, and he hit about as well in the second half as he did in the first half (.803 OPS first half, .801 Final OPS), so that .915 number is a bit misleading.
Combined with the factor of my more subjective/less-stats based idea, that the lack of improvement in 2009 and--actually to a much greater extent (.847 1st half vs. .755 2nd half OPS)--2010 can be at least partially attributed to having very little to play for, then I think there is--along with the notes about his current SLG and ISO which I think we both agree are noteworthy--reason to believe he could finish the year a lot higher than .796.
05-19-2012 10:25 AM #7Hangout Blogger Hall of Fame
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05-19-2012 10:39 AM #8
One other thing to add. This year is the first time since '08 he had a true power threat hitting behind him.
05-19-2012 02:27 PM #9
Yeah, those stats suggest otherwise, but I'll stick with my gut and say Nick is a second-half player. So you can't help but wonder if we'll see the "old Nick" this year. His power surge is very encouraging. Too much has been made of Nick's doubles-hitting ability. I'd rather see him hit 25 hrs and 20 doubles than 15 and 40, though he's on pace for about 28 and 36 now, pretty sweet.
His P/PA right now is higher than any previous season. He's looking at more strikes than ever. He's getting more fastballs than just about anyone in the league. I expect that number to stay high or even go up. He's waiting for off-speed pitches. He is absolutely killing them right now. I don't know why anyone throws him one near the zone. I would say look for even more fastballs. But laying off them seems to be working pretty well so far.
05-19-2012 02:41 PM #10
He's got a good LD% so far (22%), but his HR/FB ratio is high at 11.5%. So, some of those HR are going to turn into long outs or (hopefully) 2B. He's on pace for 64-65 XBH, which would be a nice increase on recent years (57 in '10 and 46 in '11). Another good sign is that his BABIP is low (.276) versus his career (.321) and last year (.300).
05-19-2012 02:53 PM #11
Why is it a good sign that his BABIP is lower than his career average/last year?
05-19-2012 03:00 PM #12
05-19-2012 09:14 PM #13
Homerun on a fastball tonight. OPS over .800.
05-19-2012 09:33 PM #14
05-19-2012 09:34 PM #15
As for his batted-ball info, I think his HR/FB is up around 18%, which is high, but not shockingly high - it'll likely regress back to at least a 13-15% range.
What's really amazing is his still-low FB% and his sky-high IFFB% (something like 18%?).