Nick Markakis is steadily becoming the model of consistency within the Baltimore Orioles organization. A .300 batting average, 20 home runs, 45 doubles and 100 RBI are just a few things coaches, teammates and fans expect of Markakis every season. And so far, he hasn’t disappointed anyone with the exception of his female fans that aren’t quite digging his offseason mountain man look.

The 26-year-old right fielder has established himself not only one of the top-tier hitters in the league, but one of the best right fielders as well. He finished second in the league among right fielders in assists (13) and ranked among the top-10 in putouts, fielding percentage and zone rating.

So what does that all mean for this season? Well, it means that the Orioles will have a solid No. 3 batter in the lineup and won’t have to worry much about runners scoring when the ball is hit to right field. It’s always nice to have someone on your team who can put up solid numbers at the plate and field his position with ease. It’s also nice to have someone who can produce big hits in the clutch. Markakis has developed into that someone for the Orioles. This isn’t too big of a surprise, though, considering how Markakis came out of the gate in his rookie season in 2006. He set an Orioles rookie record by batting .291 and finished sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. And he hasn’t let up since.

Another positive aspect of Markakis is that he has managed to stay relatively healthy over his first four seasons. As a result, he is the key ingredient to what some experts are calling the best young outfield in the league, along with Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold. Along with the young pitching staff, the Orioles’ outfield is one of the bright spots of the team and could quite possibly get them to where they want to be, which is in the thick of the AL playoff race. Needless to say, Orioles fans have a lot to look forward to out of Markakis and his fellow outfielders.

Submitted by Steve Giles