As we are seven weeks into the 2012 season, the Orioles are flying high with a 19-11 record, and are a half-game out of first in the American League East.
Baltimore's fast start has given players like Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Chris Davis some national attention. However, one name that I don't see mentioned a lot happens to be right-fielder Nick Markakis. It's almost like he has become an afterthought at this point.
Now, Markakis did win a Gold Glove last season, and has always been the steady type when it comes to fielding. However, his work at the plate has left a lot of questions over the past few seasons.
As of this morning, he is batting .246 with a .326 on-base percentage, .733 OPS, with four home runs and 13 RBIs. These numbers are decent for the average ballplayer a month into the season; however, it seems that we all as fans seem to want more of Markakis.
Overall, Markakis is a .294 lifetime hitter with a .364 OBP, .815 OPS, with 108 homers and 508 RBIs.
Obviously, he has done fairly well throughout his career. Alas, what Markakis did in prior years in comparison to the last couple has left many wondering if the slugger will ever live up to the promise he showed as a young player.
Is he - gasp - perhaps regressing and not going forward?
Is one of the core players we've all been hearing about not all that he's cracked up to be? The power, patient eye and potential that we saw early in Markakis' career don't seem to have gone to the next level as many predicted.
It certainly doesn't help that Markakis is in the middle of a six-year, $66 million contract and, in my opinion, has not played to the level he is being paid.
He struck out an awful lot last year, and has seen his on-base percentage drop a bit. Let's not forget Markakis was hurt towards the end of the season, but overall his numbers have shown a downward trend.
Markakis can still hit and get on base, but in the end, can he regain the promise that was so evident early in his career?
Over time, I thought he suffered from a lack of protection, the continual losing, having a lot of pressure on him and being in a subpar lineup.
Then again, could Markakis be what he is now? A player who will hit for average, some power and get on base on a good clip, but maybe not be more than that?
Considering he's 27 now, probably not. I think he is what he is, but some of the sabermetricians know may know better than I.
Really, most fans here who root for the Orioles expected him to be an All-Star at some point in his career. That might still happen, but I don't see it.
Markakis is a fine player, but no superstar - right now.
He may get marginally better, but not earth shattering.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.