Knowledge Drop July 1, 2018 – Jackie Robinson Edition* (#42)
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*No words can express the impact Jackie Robinson made on baseball or our world. He’d be a legend even if he never recorded a hit in Major League Baseball. Number 42 belongs to Jackie, always and forever.
TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
Should You Sell Nick Markakis? Yes. Maybe. Or Not.
Nick Markakis is having, okay we’ll say it, a career season. He’s actually on par with his two best seasons, but considering those were 2007 and 2008, we’ll give the old guy the “career season” tag.
If you’re a Makakis owner, you have to be thinking “Should I sell Nick Markakis?”
The answer is: Yes. Maybe.
His value is in his batting average, currently .326 against a career average of .289. He’s already topped his 2017 total of 8 HR (he has 9), but he’ll struggle to get to 20 – something he hasn’t done since …. 2007 and 2008. He has 49 runs and 56 RBI, compared to 76 in both categories last season. Clearly, the young talent (and Freddie Freeman) around him in the lineup this season is helping him.
What is Markakis doing differently in 2018 and will it continue in the second half?
The short answer is: He’s exchanging some ground balls for line drives, he’s seeing the ball better and striking out less. Markakis is hitting the ball harder than normal, but not jaw-droppingly hard. Let’s show you the first pertinent graphic:
You can see the virtual exchange of ground balls for line drives while fly ball output is consistent from last season (and not likely to produce many HR). His K% and BB% are an identical 10.2 percent, both outstanding marks for a hitter. Nick Markakis has always been a selective contact hitter, but that has been heightened this year and is resulting in more balls in play.
When you limit your weak contact to 1.1 percent, you can expect good things. Markakis is pulling the ball more often and making solid contact, though not barreling the ball too often (the combination of exit velocity and launch angle that most often produces HR).
Speaking of exit velocity, let’s look at the good news/bad news status of Nick Markakis:
While Markakis is definitely hitting the ball harder than most overall, when it comes to exit velocity of fly balls and line drives, his average is just 93.3 mph, good for 116th overall. So he’s consistently hitting the ball in the low 90s, often for line drives, and the results have been positive so far.
Markakis is a nice hitter to have with young, talented and speedy hitters on the bases ahead of him. Looking at his plate discipline numbers, you can see how well he knows the strike zone:
He’s swinging more often overall, but less often out of the zone, which rarely results in positive contact, and more often in the zone, which results in, well, a .326 average. His whiff percentage is about half that of the MLB average. Nick Markakis is the right guy to be hitting around Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. He’s a hitter that gets fastballs and knows how to take care of them. Another exhibit:
His average is up against all pitches, but he is locked in on fastballs.
So, back to the question of what to expect from Nick Markakis in the second half. We don’t anticipate he’ll continue to hit line drives at quite the same pace, so he’ll trade them for ground balls or fly balls. But he’ll put more balls in play than the average bear, often resulting in positive results (moving runners along, doubles down the line, occasional short HRs) rather than strikeouts. At the end of the season, we see Markakis’s line looking something like this:
.306, 16 HR, 94 runs, 102 RBI and a couple of steals.
So feel free to sell high on Markakis, but know two things. 1. Not being a big power source, you likely won’t get a ton back for him and 2. Even when he regresses to the mean, he’ll still produce a helpful .290-.300 average for the rest of the season. Simply stated: More balls in play means more counting stats for your team. If your team is really solid in the batting average/on base percentage category and you can count the points gained by trading Markakis for, let’s say, a closer, you might be hurting your team by dealing him away.
Nick Markakis is a solid, consistent Fantasy producer who never gets headlines. But he will get you a championship. So hold onto him or go get him.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today @BatFlipCrazy noticed positive gains for Stephen Piscotty in June:
Piscotty’s surge in contact and hard hit rate have helped propel him to a strong month of June.
RIDDLE ME THIS
What’s the missing number in the middle?
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Thursday’s Riddle: 2 fathers and 2 sons go fishing. Each of them catches one fish. So why do they bring home only 3 fish?
Frank Chambers again correctly guessed our riddle: That a grandfather, his son and his grandson were the men fishing, resulting in 3 total fish.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
What concert costs only 45 pennies?
50 Cent, featuring Nickelback
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