David Dellucci -- err, Nick Markakis put forth another consistent offensive season. Looking at his weighted on base average (wOBA), he was in the .320 range for a third consecutive season. He got back to double digits in homers and went back to the fountain of his youth as a run producer, driving in more runs than he had in any of his previous six seasons. The problem with Markakis is that he does not do any one thing that well. He also does not do anything poorly. He plays nearly every day so he gets his chances to compile numbers, but RBI are a skill of opportunity, so those could disappear as quickly as they came back for him last year. If that happens, he's an everyday zero-category player, which is incredibly difficult to roster in mixed league formats, making him the equivalent of a possession receiver for fantasy baseball.
Markakis went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Phillies. While the Braves are rebuilding, Markakis is part of a strong veteran core that will help mentor the team's younger players while still holding their own in the field. The 33-year-old re-discovered his power stroke in 2016, popping more than 50 extra-base hits for the first time since 2010 while posting his highest RBI total since 2009, and he should again hit in the heart of Atlanta's order this season.
Manager Brian Snitker said Markakis could serve as the backup first baseman in 2017, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. With normal utility man Sean Rodriguez sidelined for the season, the Braves are in need of a backup first baseman for Freddie Freeman. Markakis does have some experience at first base, playing 47.0 innings across parts of three different seasons there. It likely won't be often, but it seems Snitker seems set on keeping Markakis' bat in the lineup when Freeman needs a rest.
Markakis is expected to keep his spot in the starting lineup for 2017. The 33-year-old won't be a part of the rebuilding Braves' future, but his ability to get on base and pop the occasional homer will still have a significant role on the club to begin the season. His 89 RBI in 2016 were his highest total since 2009, and with a young and improving roster around him, Markakis could continue to provide steady fantasy value.
Markakis went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and two runs driven in overall in Saturday's 7-3 victory over the Nationals. The hot-hitting veteran plated Ender Inciarte in the first with a single to left center and then brought home Adonis Garcia when he grounded into a double play in the third. Markakis has now hit safely in nine straight games and has already racked up 13 RBI in 15 September games, with 11 of those coming in the last eight contests.
Markakis went 1-for-3 with a home run Wednesday against the Marlins. Markakis' two-run shot off Jose Fernandez in the second inning of Wednesday's game was his 12th of the season, and third in his last five games. The veteran outfielder is riding a seven-game hitting streak that has pushed his average September average up to .294, its highest mark for any month since April. Despite playing for a terrible offense, Markakis has somehow salvaged decent number this season, including 84 RBI, the most he's had in a season since 2009 with Baltimore.