Sometimes when things look bad for the O’s I try to sit back and see the big picture. I imagine how things will be in years to come. The Chris Tillman shutouts against the Yankees, big hits from Roberts, Jones, and Markakis, the heat of Brian Matusz on the Red Sox lineup. It all puts a smile on my face.
I’ve followed the careers of our outfield talent very closely. Nick Markakis has proven himself a trustworthy candidate in the lineup and Adam Jones is on fire showing no signs of halting his performance.
Images Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
With Jones’ vast improvements since last season I’ve started to question who will be Mr. Clutch for the O’s in the future. If the Bird’s are in a late inning October game, who will be the guy that steps up to the plate and gets the job done?
Nick Markakis is in his 4th full year with the Orioles, his .301 career batting average speaks for itself. Markakis did something different in 2009 than he didn’t in previous years, he hit in April and May. In the first 43 games of 2008 Markakis was hitting .272 with 8 homeruns, 22 RBI, and 37 strikeouts. In the first 43 games of 2009 Markakis is hitting .314 with 7 homeruns, 36 RBI, and 22 strikeouts. Clearly he has learned how to start faster.
Adam Jones has done the same. Through his first 38 games in ’08 Jones was hitting .228 with 2 homeruns, 11 RBI, and 31 strikeouts. Through 38 games in ’09 Jones is hitting .362 with 9 homeruns, 30 RBI, and 31 strikeouts.
But starting early doesn’t make you Mr. Clutch. Let’s take a look at their starts in crucial situations.
With runners in scoring position Nick Markakis is a career .303 hitter while Adam Jones is a .273 hitter. Markakis still proves to be more patient with his .399 on base percentage with RISP, while Jones is just .319.
They’re both very similar with 2 strikes. Markakis has a .227 average and Jones has a .226 average. How about with 2 outs? Markakis has a lifetime .265 average with 18 homeruns in 630 at bats, that’s a homer every 35 at bats. Jones has a .275 average with 6 homeruns in 229 at bats, that’s a homer every 38.2 at bats. Jones is the man with two outs.
So who will the Mr. Clutch for those October games in future series? Who knows, it could be both of our stars in the outfield. But the numbers show that the future is bright for the clutch hitters of Camden Yards.