By Blake Chadwick
Generally, when one is selected in the first round of a draft, they are expected to become megastars with much hype attached. Look at the last few seasons. Strasburg, Stanton, Wieters, Longoria the list goes on and on. Well let’s set the way back machine to 2006, when the Orioles had a young slugger they expected to be in the minor leagues for another season or two before a Spring Training coming out party landed him a roster spot four seasons ago. The young gun was not only consistent, but productive in his first three seasons including 6th place in AL ROY voting in 2006. His best season thus far was 2007 when he hit .300 and hit 23 HR knocked in 112 RBI’s, and swiped 18 bags. Looks not only like a fantasy stud, but a legit big league star. In four full seasons, he’s topped 100 RBI’s twice and drove in 87 another time. His HR totals all hover around 20 and his average close to a stellar .300.
Let’s flash forward to the present day. The Orioles are the worst team in baseball by far. They are one of two teams to make a managerial change already, the other being the perennially lowly Royals. In the last few weeks, Mr. Markakis has heated up and raised his average to .302. You might be wondering what is wrong with that. Well, let’s dissect some of his other numbers. HR’s? How about 3. RBI’s? A mere 23 knocked in. Stolen bases? 1. Also, his 78 hits and 27 runs put him on pace for his worst totals in those categories since his rookie season. In a throwaway season for Baltimore when cornerstone players like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are struggling, you would expect someone to step in. Almost certainly, you would give the nod to one of the leaders and best players on this club in Markakis. Well that hasn’t happened yet. There is still much of the season to be played, so he can’t be completely written off yet. So in a season of complete disarray for the O’s when no one is stepping up, I ask simply, where in the world is Nick Markakis?