Olivia Witherite: Ready for Markakis’ return to right

OK, so I’ll admit, the first few times Chris Davis ran out to right field, I was super excited. Granted, he’s not the fastest, nor does he position himself well. It’s not that I’m confident in his skills, but it was definitely entertaining to see him make some diving plays in a position that most were unaware he could play.

Maybe it’s the summer heat getting to me, but when I was trying to describe how I feel about Davis, the best thing I could think of was the classic summer example: vacation. Davis in right is like going on a family vacation - fun and memorable, but the time comes when you’ve had enough and you’re just ready to go. And, boy is it time.

The time has come where it’s simply become frustrating to see his name penciled into lineup with the No. 9 next to it. No, it’s nothing against him personally. Rather, each time I see him or another in right, it irks me knowing that Nick Markakis isn’t there.

This season, going into his first career disabled list stint, Markakis was hitting .256/.333/.452. However, those numbers are not indicative of the season he is capable of having, as he is a lifetime .293 hitter.

Markakis averages 18 home runs and 85 RBIs per year. I’m confident that if he did not have the injury, his numbers at the plate would have started to pick up by this time. Beyond that, however, what Markakis is known for is his fielding.

Since 2007, he has always been in the top three in putouts, and he’s fifth overall among active players in the category. The same ranking applies for outfield assists as a right fielder, and he led the majors in the category in 2008 and 2009.

Oh yeah, in 2011, he had no errors. Zero.

Maybe the Orioles should put him at third base ...

But, I digress. With Davis in right, one thing has been noticeable. His numbers at the plate wane. On the season, Davis is hitting a whopping .140 when he’s playing right field, including his 1-for-3 day yesterday. In comparison, as a DH, he is hitting .292, and he’s posted a .319 average when playing first base.

Whether it’s the diving catches or larger amounts of space to cover, the fact is that Davis is not as effective as Markakis when hitting while playing in the outfield. While it was nice to see Davis in right, in the same way that it was to see him get a win in the 17th inning versus the Red Sox, the fun is over.

And now, more than ever, the hole in right field is glaring at me and other fans. Mirrored with the lack of an everyday left fielder, right field is looking bigger and bigger without MArkakis.

So, rest up that wrist and keep doing your thing in the minors, Nick. It’s almost time for you to come home.

Olivia Witherite blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and her opinions appear here as part of MASN’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. 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.

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