Nick Markakis had his best season with the Atlanta Braves last year. He won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and was an All-Star. This all took place in a contract year for Makakis, too. After a career year, the Braves brought back the veteran outfielder on a one-year, six million dollar deal.
Nick’s contract is an incentive-heavy contract, so that means Markakis can go earn himself his entire deal, but even the Atlanta Braves have their doubts of last year repeating itself. The Braves are hoping for the same production, but Markakis producing is not something this team can count on to carry them back to the postseason.
Nick Markakis helped carried this Braves team to the incredible first half of the season that eventually led them to a division title. Markakis did trail off after the All-Star break, however. This was not a shock considering Markakis’ age and the workload that was placed on his back last season.
The Braves plan to lessen the workload for Markakis this season to prevent such a steep decline in his numbers. This will help soften the decline, but the decline feels inevitable at this point of his career. The best the Braves can hope for is similar production with fewer at-bats. Doing that for Markakis won’t be as simple. He’s a player who likes to play every day. There could be some clash between the player and team depending on how Markakis is feeling. If he stays hot, like he did last season, I think the Braves will have a hard time pulling him out of the lineup.
Markakis had highs in batting average and slugging since joining the Braves. In his four seasons with Atlanta, Markakis has a batting average of .284 and a slugging percentage of .400. Last season, Markakis batted .297 and slugged .440. That’s well above the mean for his average. Markakis can still be a very productive part of this offense, but to expect him to have another career year is optimistic at best.
A lot of the Braves offensive success came from the consistency Markakis provided during his great run in the first half. The Braves will be lucky to get that same kind of production for any part of the year from Markakis at this point.
The Braves got their insurance in place already in Josh Donaldson. The reliance of Nick Markakis as a primary producer for this team is over.
The Braves, at this point, have to hope for the best from Markakis. The consensus last season was the Braves wouldn’t be bringing Nick back, period. But after such a great year, the team decided to take a flyer on Markakis. And that’s exactly what this year is for the Braves: a flyer. Nick Markakis has a chance, and the ability, to prove the naysayers wrong. All he has to do is produce at a high level on a consistent basis. I wouldn’t count on it.