After a disappointing 2013 season, expectations are low for Baltimore Orioles’ Nick Markakis. With ten home runs, 59 RBI and a .271 average, Markakis is coming off the worst season of his career. However, he is in a great position to rebound in 2014. Despite the low expectations, Markakis will be a key player for the Orioles this season.
While he did not develop into a superstar player liked many had hoped, Markakis has always provided the Orioles with consistent production. From 2007 to 2012, his average has never been lower than .290. He also had only one season with an OPS of under .800 during this span. After years of solid contributions, it is hard to believe that Markakis would suddenly disappear at only 30 years old.
One factor that might explain his underwhelming performance in 2013 is injuries. In 2012, he suffered two injuries that cut his season short. Markakis fractured his right hamate bone during the middle of the year and broke his thumb towards the end of the season. He also dealt with neck spasms in 2013, which caused him to miss some spring training at bats. The lingering effects of these injuries may be the reason why Markakis had an uncharacteristic season last year.
This spring training, however, Markakis appears to be finally healthy. He has reported to camp in great shape, and he is 16 pounds heavier than last year. He will be Baltimore’s starting right fielder, and he should also bat leadoff. Fans should expect Markakis to return to form in 2014 and have another solid season for the Orioles.