When you hear the name Nick Markakis, what comes to your mind?
Do you think “Gold Glover?” How about “fan favorite?” What about “underrated?” All of these fit the description, but would it be crazy to think “Hall of Famer?”
Nick Markakis made his MLB debut 14 years ago, with a Baltimore Orioles team trying to get back to its winning ways.
Coming into the big leagues at just 22 years old, Markakis opened the eyes of, not just Orioles fans, but Major League Baseball fans, finishing sixth in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting.
Markakis would slash .291/.351/.448 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in an impressive 147 games, which exceeded rookie limits in 2006.
Markakis would carry over his rookie season success into his sophomore campaign, hitting .300/.362/.485 with 23 home runs and a career-high 122 RBI in 161 games. And in his junior season, he would lead the entire American League in Wins Above Replacement and Times On Base.
But he certainly couldn’t keep that success and consistency, right? Wrong.
Markakis, now 36, is about to play in his 15th season. Do you want to know how consistently good Markakis has been in those 15 years in the batter’s box? Nick Markakis has never hit below .271 in his career! He also has a Silver Slugger Award under his belt with the Atlanta Braves.
What? I mean, really? The man has been a silent star! And you know what’s even crazier? He only has one All-Star appearance, which was just two seasons ago with the Braves, where he played all 162 games and hit 14 home runs and drove in 93!
Markakis isn’t just a hitting machine at the plate; he can play in the outfield.
Markakis has won three Gold Glove Awards, two with the Orioles (2011 & 2014) and one with Atlanta (2018). He also has a career .994 fielding percentage, which is higher than Hall of Fame outfielders Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Orioles legend, Frank Robinson.
He does, however, have one dark spot: the postseason.
Even though he hasn’t been in many postseason games (16), Markakis is hitting just .188/.246/.266 in 69 plate appearances in the playoffs.
But I’ve saved the best for last. The one thing that could almost guarantee Markakis a plaque in Cooperstown is his hits total.
Currently, Markakis has 2,355 hits. The man needs 645 hits to make 3,000, putting him in an elite class. Only 32 other players have accomplished this feat, the latest being future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols two years ago.
If Markakis can play for at least four more seasons at his usual consistency, he could definitely reach 3,000 hits.
If he reaches that, he will be in Cooperstown. But what if he comes up short?
Will Markakis’ stats be enough to put him in the Hall of Fame regardless? Can he keep up his offensive abilities in his age-36 season to get him to the promise land? Only time will tell.
So what do you think of when you hear the name, Nick Markakis? Do you think “Orioles legend?” Do you think “above-average outfielder?” Or do you think “MLB Hall of Famer?”
What do you think the future holds for Nick Markakis? Let us know in the comments below, and for more content like this, follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!