With 23 games left to play in their illustrious season, the Baltimore Orioles lost a key component of their team. On Sept. 8, Orioles right fielder, Nick Markakis suffered a broken thumb after getting hit by a pitch from New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia. He was placed on the DL for the remainder of the season.
Until the 2012 season, Markakis had never been on the disabled list during his 7-year career. This would be his second stint on the DL of the season.
Markakis played in just 102 games over the course of the 2012 season. In a shortened season, he accumulated a .298 average with just 51 K’s. If you adjust those stats to a 162 game season, that would be roughly 80 strikeouts on the season.
This is where the comparison to his replacements come in. Over the course of the season, the RF missed a total of 58 games. In those 58 games the other right fielders posted a .255 batting average along with 58 strikeouts. Using the same calculation as before, that would come to an average of 162 K’s in a full season.
For those of you doing the math at home, the Orioles batted 43 points less and struck out at a rate that was double, compared to Markakis’ strike out rate.
However, Markakis’ fellow right fielders were not a complete lost cause. What Chris Davis, Endy Chavez and the other right fielders lacked in average, they made up in home runs. Markakis had just 13 home runs in his 104 games while the replacements had 13 combined home runs in just 58 games.
Now for the bottom line. Did the Orioles have a better winning record with or without Markakis in the lineup? In the 104 games he played, the Orioles went 62-42, which is a .596 winning percentage. Now, without Markakis in the lineup, the birds posted a 31-27 record, which translates to a winning percentage of .535.
Markakis is most likely not the best player on the Orioles roster, however, he is obviously a key component that is often overlooked by the casual fan. With the 7-year veteran back in the lineup and most of the core players returning, 2013 will hopefully relive memories from 2012.