Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Picimg_baltimore_orioles_photo_37d5

A huge part of the Baltimore Orioles unforeseen success this season has been keeping their best players healthy: J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis have all played in at least 46 games. The Orioles found out Thursday this trend will not continue through June. Markakis has been diagnosed with a broken hamate bone (the same injury as Pablo Sandoval earlier this season) and will likely miss the rest of June in recovery.

The Orioles have been relatively blessed all over the diamond in terms of injuries — only Nolan Reimold has missed serious time among key contributors, and the rotation has only had to go through one spot start in two months. But with Markakis and Reimold both on the mend, the Orioles will be exposed at one of their suddenly weakest positions. Can the rest of the team keep them near the top of the standings until their outfielders return?

Reimold is slated to return to extended spring training on Tuesday to resume his rehab, but there’s a chance his ailing neck may require another epidural before he can return; his recovery could be longer than Markakis’s. As a result, the Orioles are rolling out Steve Tolleson and Bill Hall flanking Adam Jones in the corners Friday night, a duo projected for wOBAs of .292 and .288 respectively.

Markakis still hasn’t evolved into the star he was supposed to be, but he’s a consistently useful hitter, with four straight seasons of a wRC+ between 107 and 117. But, as a defensive player typically considered somewhere around average in a corner, he’s a slightly above-average player — somewhere between two and three WAR over the course of a season.

So the downgrade to Tolleson or Hall — roughly replacement-level players, maybe slightly worse — probably costs the Orioles just about a half to a full win over the course of a month. The damage could be less if Xavier Avery — a speedster with a good glove and a similar bat to the current replacements — returns to the big leagues, or if Reimold’s recovery is quicker than expected.

Markakis’s play alone was never going to determine Baltimore’s fate. If the Orioles crumble in Markakis’s absence, it is likely because the burden was too heavy to begin with. If the rest of the Orioles can keep the team in contention through June — a possibility, as various projections give the Orioles anywhere from a 15 to 42 percent shot at the playoffs — Markakis’s brief absence will be but an afterthought come July.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ortiz on Schilling controversy: 'It makes you angry'

Report: Josh Hamilton facing one-year suspension

Report: Eagles, Jets will make trade for Marcus Mariota

Cam Newton not a person of interest in night club shooting

Should Texans consider moving on from Arian Foster?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dice-K begins comeback bid, makes first start in Japan

Report: Teams think Suh to Dolphins is ‘done' deal

Adrian Peterson still has ‘concerns’ about Vikings

LSU S blasts Tigers fans for leaving game early

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Five most likely running back targets for the Eagles

Marijuana and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Twelve unlikely players who could be NCAA Tourney heroes

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts after DeAndre Jordan doesn't shoot

WATCH: Ridiculous foul called on Penn State

WATCH: Westbrook throws down huge dunk in return

Cowboys hang out at Duke game, pose with funny poster

Report: Peyton Manning's contract incentives tied to Super Bowl

Bean responds to Murphy's homosexuality comments

Haynesworth to Suh: Skins ‘took my love away from the game’

Five teams that should consider signing JaVale McGee

MLB local streaming is unlikely for Opening Day

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five likeliest RB targets for Eagles

Pot and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Unlikely NCAA Tourney heroes

Every starting QB ranked by mobility

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts

UFC must make Rousey vs. Cyborg happen

Suh to Dolphins a 'done' deal?

Why haven't brands shown love to James Harden?

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.