For obvious reasons, I've been tracking the progress of Nick Markakis this year. And with the new month, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at his season so far. At the end of July -- a month in which Markakis had hit a stellar .403 to lead the majors for the month -- I noted how much he had brought up his seasonal totals after a lousy start. Well, shockingly, he managed to improve on that month, and bring up his numbers even more. There's no way to slice the numbers such that he doesn't look great, but here are a few interesting tidbits:
April 2006 - 182/270/288 (558 OPS) May 1 - Aug. 31 - 340/394/531 (925 OPS) June 1 - Aug. 31 - 366/414/588 (1002 OPS) July 1 - Aug. 31 - 376/418/659 (1077 OPS) Aug. 1 - Aug. 31 - 354/400/740 (1140 OPS)
Add it all up, and his seasonal totals are: 312/372/488.
(What does the above chart mean? Essentially, he had a miserable April, and a mediocre May, which bring down his early numbers. As the season went on, he got better and better. Of course, those months count, but they illustrate that since he became acclimated to the majors -- remember, he had never played above AA ball before April of this year -- he has been on a complete tear.)
Also nice: he didn't sacrifice walks for power; although he's hitting everything he sees, he still tied his best monthly walk total, with 8. (I'd still like to see a few more walks from him -- he's only on pace for about 40 for the year -- but if he continues to hit like he has, it won't matter.)
There's a lesson here somewhere for the Orioles about having patience with younger players, I think. Of course, they've rarely had anybody as talented as Nick Markakis -- I'm certainly not going to argue that Larry Bigbie would have been a star if only the Orioles had stuck with him -- but Markakis had about 100 miserable at-bats to start the season, and if they had written him off at that point, Markakis would go down with names like Calvin Pickering as failed Orioles prospects. (Believe it or not, for as long as it seemed like Pickering was hanging around, he only got 61 at bats in an Oriole uniform.)