Nick Markakis is set to make his much-anticipated return to the Atlanta Braves lineup this week. A surprise development considering he was expected to be rehabbing his injury for much longer.
With their recent success, it is easy to forget just how much better the Atlanta Braves are with Nick Markakis in the lineup. He is hitting .284 so far this season and is still one of the most consistent players on the roster.
Slotting him into the 5th or 6th spot behind Dansby Swanson or Josh Donaldson makes the Braves lineup so much better. It also gives them their best pinch-hitting weapon (Matt Joyce) back.
Markakis may not be the defender he once was but he is still well above average and is a consistent hitter who always seems to come through in the clutch.
Getting back a player of Nick’s talent at this time of the season is perfect for Atlanta. It gives them the boost they need to push towards the Dodgers and one-seed and a fresh Markakis for the playoffs.
Though his injury was unfortunate there is the fact that Markakis will not have the miles on him of a full season. For a player who has at times struggled in the second half, this could be a huge factor for the Braves during the postseason.
Markakis brings so much to Atlanta not only on the field but in the clubhouse and as a leader for his teammates. He is a true pro and a player every manager wants in their clubhouse. Having him back in the lineup is great for Atlanta and their team across the board.
It will give them plenty of options as well in the outfield if they choose to continue to start Austin Riley. No question, Atlanta is about to get a lot better and that should scare the rest of the National League.