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Prospect Instinct | Manny Machado, SS Baltimore Orioles

Manny Machado, SS Baltimore Orioles


Height: 6’3″ Weight: 185

Baltimore OriolesManny Machado was drafted out of Miami’s Brito Private with the #3 pick by the Orioles. With Harper, Taillon and Machado going 1,2,3 it was a pretty amazing run for the teenagers at the top of the draft. Machado “passed” on a scholarship with Florida International and signed at the deadline for a cool $5.25mm. 

He made a successful, albeit brief, debut in 2010 which was highlighted by a .345 AVG in the NY-Penn League.

Machado’s tools and projection led to a high ranking in our preseason Top 100 Prospect List. He checked in at #24:

Manny Machado, SS Orioles

24. Manny Machado SS BAL – This high because he has a good shot at sticking at SS for the O’s. He has average defensive tools across the board and could develop into a .300 hitter with average power as he fills out. Comparisons to A-Rod are unfair and unrealistic but if he sticks at SS it should be at an All Star level.

The O’s aggressively pushed Machado into full season ball, starting him in the Sally with the Delmarva Shorebirds as an 18 year. Very aggressive, but Machado responded with a .276/.376/.483 slash and the power came from some unexpected HR pop. He hit 6 HR to go along with 8 doubles in just 145 AB and he walked almost as much as he struck out. 23/25 k/bb ratio.

He injured his leg and there was speculation that he might need surgery and could miss the rest of the season, but he rehabbed and came back just as strong earning a promotion to High-A Frederick with the Keys.

He dropped off across the board, but that is to be expected with an aggressive promotion for such a young player. One key positive was his 12 doubles and 5 HR in the 237 High-A ABs. The power was still evident.

Let’s take a look at the Bat and Glove for Machado.

The Bat

Machado’s bat is one half of what makes him a top prospect. He’s neither an all bat nor all glove MI. After seeing Machado on numerous occasions in High School, one thing was clear, he had the ability to hit for AVG at a high level. He has excellent contact ability and a clean swing path which allows him to make consisitent hard contact. The biggest question with his bat was if he would hit for more than fringe power.

He has a large frame and is beginning to use his long limbs to leverage his natural power. When all is said and done, he’s going to be a 200+ lb player and it looks like he’s going to get to the average and possibly more power level.

The weakest part of his game is his speed which is fringe at best. So he’s not going to be stealing many bases or wins.

The Glove

I’m one who had doubts about Machado’s ability to stick at SS long term prior to the draft. He wasn’t as smooth as many reports had him pegged. I witnessed a stiff fielder with a good arm, but not great. One thing that Machado has been, since being drafted, is a student. He’s learning how to be a professional SS and his current fielding motions are much smoother and he seems to trust his arm far more.

His arm is above average and he’s athletic enough to range at SS. I don’t think he’ll be any more than league average at the position, but coupled with his bat that’s something the Orioles need.

Our Instinct

While Machado certainly has facets of his offensive game that he needs to refine, remember that he’s just 19 and has already tasted High-A. That’s where he should start 2012 and he’ll need to work hard to get his k/bb back in line. We’re not expecting him to be a 1/1 type but he will need to keep the K’s under control in order to succeed long term.

His contact ability is enough to project him as a .290-.300 hitter and if his power continues to blossom I think he could hit 20 HR annually with 10 SBs while playing a solid enough SS to stick long term for the Orioles. All Star level? It’ll be close and I think that may be his ultimate peak level as he approaches his prime years.

Check back soon as we profile many more Top MLB Prospects and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at our on going series Touch’em All | Appalachian League and be a step ahead of the game. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.

I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.


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