Nick Markakis came into 2019 having just posted his first 2+ WAR season since joining the Braves in 2015. The 35 year old was not able to duplicate it.
Nick put up a typical Markakis line of .285/.356/.420, but his season was interrupted near the end of July by a fractured left wrist, courtesy of Philadelphia’s Cole Irvin. He would not return until mid-September, and was limited to 116 games. All 9 of his home runs came before the injury. If those WAR calculations seem right to you, Markakis has been a borderline-minus major league regular almost the entirety of his Braves career.
The Braves have re-signed Nick for the 2020 season. Although he had not missed a game prior to the wrist injury, and played in all 162 games in 2018, the expectation is that Markakis will be a platoon player in 2020. In 2019, Nick put up a .298/.371/.446 line in 356 plate appearances against right handed pitchers, and all 9 of the homers. Contrast this with a .245/.310/.343 line against lefties, in 113 2019 PA’s.
Nick has had a long, solid career, amassing 2355 hits so far, with a .288 batting average. There’s not much more that needs to be said about his career than his list of most similar batters reveals.
- Jose Cruz (891.7)
- B.J. Surhoff (889.3)
- Cesar Cedeno (881.6)
- Amos Otis (880.8)
- Mark Grace (879.6)
- Keith Hernandez (872.7)
- Hal McRae (869.5)
- Buddy Bell (867.0)
- Marquis Grissom (867.0)
- Wally Joyner (865.0)
Markakis is a gamble for 2020; signed at a reasonable price, but tying up a roster spot at age 36, and coming off of a major wrist injury. Still, the Braves have won consecutive NL East titles with him. They’ll have a chance to see if they can pull it off again.