2009 In Review: Right Field

Nick Markakis – .293/.347/.453, 94 R, 45 doubles, 2 triples, 18 HR, 101 RBI, 6 SB, 711 PA

Markakis had a very up and down year after signing a six year contract extension in the offseason. He had an outstanding April (1.020 OPS), slumped in May (.719 OPS), bounced back slightly in June (.756 OPS), even more in July (.818 OPS), and more still in August (.882 OPS) before having one of the worst months of his career in September (.522 OPS). It was a disappointing season and a decline in production after he had gradually gotten better since his rookie year (.799, .848, .897). Part of the reason could have been that he was trying to do too much with Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora not hitting. When Huff was traded, Markakis was moved to the cleanup spot and that didn’t seem to help any. His walk total dropped from 99 in 2008 to 56, he was hitting too many groundballs, and popping out too much. I really think the root of his problems was he was chasing too many bad pitches. He struggled a little defensively as well. He didn’t seem to get to alot of balls that he had in the past, but he still had that cannon arm with 13 assists.

2010 Prognosis: The Orioles are going to be looking for a power hitter to put in the 4th spot in the lineup and that should help Markakis. He should be batting 2nd ideally. I think he’s going to bounce back in 2010 and put up numbers more in line with 2008 than 2009. He’ll be only 26 all of next season and his best years are still ahead of him. I think the extension we signed him to will turn out to be a great deal. I predict a line of .303/.381/.495, 46 doubles, 22 HR, and 108 RBI for Markakis in 2010.

Jeff Fiorentino – .281/.351/.297, 8 R, 1 double, 8 RBI, 2 SB, 75 PA

Fiorentino’s case is interesting. The Orioles drafted him in 2004 and he was moving up the prospect ladder before we called him up to the majors straight from high A Frederick. That seemed to really mess up his development as he disappointed greatly after that point. He was let go by the Orioles and bounced around the league a little bit with Cincinnati and Oakland before signing a minor league deal with us this year. He put up some really good numbers at AAA Norfolk, a pitchers park – .312/.387/.510, 26 doubles, 5 triples, 12 HR, 67 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. He got a cup of coffee with the big league club in September and hit well, just without any power. He has a good batting eye and can play all three outfield positions adequately.

2010 Prognosis: I can see Fiorentino being the 4th/5th outfielder for the Orioles next year if Luke Scott is traded over the offseason. He could fill in at any outfield position when someone needs a day off and would be a solid pinch hitter for late in games. If we keep Scott or we don’t have room for him on the roster, he’ll most likely head back to AAA Norfolk and be called upon if we have any injuries or the like.

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