Tag: Manny Machado

Manny Machado Has Reemerged as Budding Superstar After Rocky 2014

Manny Machado showed the upside early.

He showed why his major league debut was an anticipated event. He showed why so many scouts and the Baltimore Orioles believed he could be great. He proved he was well worthy of being the third overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Machado’s 2012 debut gave us glimpses of him being a five-tool player. Someone who could hit, hit for power, run, throw and play defense with the best infielders the game had to offer.

But over the next two years, injuries and a bit of immaturity threatened to snatch back one of baseball’s young, budding superstars before the game got a chance to fully enjoy what he had to offer. Two major knee injuries required surgery—one to each joint, limiting him to 82 games last year—and may have flattened his career arc entering 2015. Machado has also proven to be a combustible player over the past two years, getting himself ejected three times through occasional overreactions.

This season has still hinted at the maturity issue, but his production is back on a significant uptick, and he may very well be pushing himself into the American League’s Most Valuable Player conversation by the time the All-Star Break arrives.

Over Machado’s previous 28 games leading into this week, he hit .298/.350/.482 with an .832 OPS, five home runs and four doubles. The numbers were not on-another-planet fantastic, but they were very good and could be an indicator of what is about to come.

Especially since this week is off to a pretty good start, too.

Machado went 3-for-4 with home runs in his first two plate appearances, scored three times and knocked in three Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Both home runs left little to no doubt at impact where they’d end up, and his first one started an onslaught that led to eight Baltimore home runs, a franchise record.

Machado is doing his damage as a leadoff hitter, a role manager Buck Showalter put him in May 2. He took over the spot for good May 7 after bouncing around the lineup for the first 25 games.

“The more he does it, it almost seems like he is running a little more, bunting a little more, kind of taking on the attributes of a leadoff guy kind of by osmosis,” Showalter told reporters, per Joey Nowak of MLB.com. “He is running better than he ever has as an Oriole.”

Machado never had more than 13 stolen bases in the minors, but he already has nine in 10 attempts this season.

The new role has not affected Machado’s power stroke, which has always been on a flat swing plane anyway. Seven of Machado’s 13 home runs have come out of the leadoff spot this season.

“It is a win-win,” Machado told Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com Monday about hitting at the top of the lineup. “You get more at-bats, you get to see more pitches and I think it has helped me out. Becoming a hitter, learning how to hit, learning situations and learning the game. It’s been fun hitting leadoff.”

Aside from learning, Machado is also still maturing. He is just shy of three weeks away from his 23rd birthday, but it was just a little more than two weeks ago that we saw Machado’s third career ejection. It was a strong reaction that left home plate umpire Toby Basner no choice other than thumbing Machado out of the game.

It was not the first time Machado has a surprising reaction to what seemed like a minuscule event. Last June he reacted dramatically when then-Oakland A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson tagged him out on what seemed like a routine play.

That led to yet another sign of immaturity later in the series. Machado flung his bat down the third-base line after a pitch was too far inside for his liking. He was ejected from the game and later received a five-game suspension that virtually everyone agreed was fair.

The hope is that Machado will learn from his mistakes and continue entertaining with his on-field prowess. However, his reaction to his latest ejection does not bode well for that happening anytime soon.

“Why would it be [a concern]? I’ve got hopefully 20 more years in my pocket to play baseball,” Machado told the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly about his temper. “There’s going to be more where that came from. You still have got to keep grinding and keep your head up and keep playing some baseball.”

When Machado sticks to just playing baseball, and not acting foolishly to perceived slights, he is one of the game’s current wonders. He can do everything we ask of a player on the baseball diamond, and do it at an elite level.

His recent run of production is more evidence of that. And as long as he can keep doing it while staying in good health and in a good frame of mind, we are witnessing the reemergence of one of the game’s most special players.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

10 MLB Hitters Who Could Experience a Power Surge in 2015

Every season features countless players who enjoy an uptick in power and hit more home runs than they did the previous year.

The improvement can be extreme in some cases, such as when Jose Bautista went from 13 home runs in 2009 to 54 the following year. However, a majority of the time it’s more subtle, with players adding anywhere from five to 15 home runs compared to the previous year.

But which players are poised to hit for more power in 2015?

In order to determine candidates with the potential for a power spike next season, we looked at guys with room to improve in their home run totals and isolated slugging (ISO), using line drive, fly ball and home run rates in 2014 as predictors. We also considered guys who battled power-limiting injuries last season and are reportedly fully healthy entering spring training.

Here are 10 hitters who could experience a power surge in 2015.

Begin Slideshow

Machado, Wieters and Davis May Be the Coup of Orioles’ Offseason

The frustration is understandable.

To watch your team sit meekly by during one of the craziest, most active offseasons in recent memory can make a fanbase stir crazy. That holds especially true when you watch that same team lose pivotal pieces in free agency and not replace them.

Yes, the inactivity of the Baltimore Orioles can be maddening for some. It’s no fun not having a ticket to the coolest party of the offseason, especially when teams within your own division are some of the guests of honor.

Then again, when you run away with your division by 12 games and get back a couple of past All-Stars from injury and expect another to return to form, how much do you actually need to add, even if teams around you are getting a bit better?

The Orioles expect to have third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Wieters back early in the season if not by Opening Day, and both have been All-Stars—Wieters made the American League squad last summer. The team also has high hopes that Chris Davis will return from his amphetamine suspension and get back to being something close to the hitter who posted a 168 OPS-plus—68 percent better than a league-average player—and finished third in MVP voting in 2013.

But it’s not like the O’s are doing nothing. General manager Dan Duquette has explored trades and kicked a lot of free-agent tires, but his most notable move of the offseason has been bringing back Delmon Young. There could be more to come very soon, though.

Manager Buck Showalter is expected to fly to Alabama to meet with outfielder Colby Rasmus over the next few days, The Baltimore Sun beat writer Eduardo A. Encina reported Wednesday. The reason for the meeting is for Showalter to determine if Rasmus, who has a spotty reputation, would be a good fit within the Orioles’ clubhouse. Showalter did the same thing last year with Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young, both players with off-the-field question marks at the time, and both were productive offensive additions en route to the team’s AL East title.

Because Cruz, who hit 40 home runs and had a 140 OPS-plus, is gone, as is right fielder Nick Markakis, the Orioles need outfield help. They are interested in Rasmus on a one-year deal worth between $6-8 million, according to Encina. If Rasmus can get back to the 127 OPS-plus he put up in 2013 with the Toronto Blue Jays, he would give Baltimore their second consecutive award for Steal of the Offseason, Cruz being the first.

Duquette also has interest in Ichiro Suzuki and Nori Aoki at more limited levels.

Also, only partly because the team lost left-hander Andrew Miller, the Orioles are still looking for bullpen help.

Even with this further exploration of outfield and bullpen options, the Orioles are operating as if time and rehab are their biggest offseason acquisitions. And maybe they are correct in that assessment.

Machado is a star on the rise and still just 22 years old. He suffered his second significant knee injury of his career last August the day the Orioles built a six-game lead in the division. He was done for the rest of the season, but the Orioles pushed the lead to as many as 14 games without him. At the time of the injury, Machado was arguably playing better than he did in 2013 when he was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and finished ninth in MVP voting in his age 20-21 season.

Having him back and healthy is clearly a positive impact. However, the Orioles did much of what they did last season with Machado healthy. They missed him for only about a month and a half, plus the postseason. It’s not like they played all of 2014 minus Machado, so his comeback is definitely impactful, but not ground shaking.

Wieters is a different story. He suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery last June, although it kept him out of the lineup starting May 11. He was still voted as an All-Star starter, but the selection, while nice, was unwarranted despite him hitting .308/.339/.500 with a 135 OPS-plus through 26 games.

There have been questions about when Wieters could actually return, but his agent, Scott Boras, assured the baseball world his client would be ready for Opening Day. Position players undergoing Tommy John surgery usually are not lost for as long as pitchers who undergo the procedure. Having Wieters in the lineup for the start of the season would be a big addition for the Orioles, and it could help supplement the loss of Cruz if Wieters continues to progress offensively.

As for Davis, the Orioles had him for nearly an entire season before his suspension, and the only reason he was even an average player was because he managed to hit 26 home runs in 127 games. Aside from that, he hit .196/.300/.404 with a 98 OPS-plus and struck out 173 times against 60 walks.

The suspension was for Davis’ use of Adderall, a drug for which he previously had a therapeutic-use exemption. Davis failed to get one for 2014 and was suspended 25 games, which will keep him out of the Opening Day lineup this year as he has one more game to serve. Davis will have the TUE for 2015, and the Orioles are hoping his allowed use of Adderall will help get the former home run champ back to his 2013 form.

In an offseason filled with blockbuster trades, big-time free-agent signings and some improved rosters in the AL East, it can be maddening to watch the Orioles stand pat. But while the headlines might be going to the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for their offseason moves, the truth is none of those teams have gotten that much better. They all still have holes and serious questions about their rosters.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are cruising through the winter, content with minor tweaks rather than huge overhauls because they expect their own players to be back healthy and productive come next spring. And that just may be enough for their repeat performance in 2015.

Anthony Witrado covers Major League Baseball for Bleacher Report. He spent the previous three seasons as the national baseball columnist at Sporting News, and four years before that as the Brewers beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Scott Miller’s Starting 9: Stretch Run Will Tell Tale of Yankees Present, Future

1. Yankees vs. Schedule-Makers

Not that the Yankees are holding open auditions these days, but 52 times this season, Joe Girardi has handed the ball to a rookie starter and steered him toward the mound.

No other team in the majors has started rookie hurlers as often this summer, and only three times since rookie rules were established in 1958 have the Yankees entrusted a larger number of their games to those classified as such: 1991 (54 times), 1986 (54) and 2007 (52).

Click Ahead to Other Topics

• Numbers not adding up for the Orioles
• Finally, the Dodgers find some late-inning magic
• Joey Bats shows his not-so-glamorous side
• The numbers crunch is growing in the Bronx
• Mariners make dizzying history in Boston
• Stephen Strasburg keeps the Nationals guessing
• Is Billy Butler’s glove key to Royals’ renaissance?
• It’s time to start planning for next year for a few teams

Yet each time this seeming pinstriped version of Christians-Lions threatens to become gory (especially with Masahiro Tanaka, who has started 18 times, out)…it doesn’t. The Yankees steal a few wins, the Orioles get swept by a bad Cubs team in Wrigley Field, and, presto, the Yankees’ pulse quickens.

That the Yankees started this week in second place in the AL East, only six games behind Baltimore, is either a testament to their steely resolve and fortitude, or an enormous indictment of the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox.

Debate that as you may (correct answer: A lot of both), but now comes the next round of heavy lifting for the Yankees: A key stretch of schedule in which 21 of their next 30 games, taking them through Sept. 25, is against clubs with winning records.

Starting Tuesday, nine of their next 12 are against winning clubs: the Royals, Tigers and Blue Jays. Throw in Tanaka‘s scheduled simulated game Thursday in Detroit, and this is the latest week that could make or break the 2014 Yankees.

What we’re watching is Girardi‘s best job of managing yet and a Yankees club that should leave even the most ardent optimists scratching the stadium giveaway caps sitting atop their heads.

A “future” with Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran really is more of a past. CC Sabathia did what he was supposed to, helping to bring another World Series title to the Bronx (2009), but he’s not going to be leading a staff in his twilight years. And just think, only six more months remain before Alex Rodriguez pops his head out in Tampa like Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania.

What general manager Brian Cashman has been unable to do in the years since the latest dynasty ended in 2000 is establish a pipeline of prospects that replenishes the major league club.

As Derek Jeter enters the final month of his career, the roaring question is: When will the next Jeter emerge from the Yankees’ system? That “Core Four”—Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera…all were drafted or signed and developed in the Yankees’ system.

As for the present, the Yankees have used a franchise-record 31 pitchers so far this season. Only the Texas Rangers (36), hit by a Noah’s Ark-sized flood of injuries, have employed more.

Still, including old warhorses Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano, Yankees starters were 6-4 with a 2.77 ERA over their past 18 games heading into Michael Pineda’s start in Kansas City on Monday.

That’s a far better reality for this group than the Yankees had any right to expect. Now strength of schedule comes into play with the force of a USC linebacker.

Of course, the Orioles have helped New York remain alive. No sooner had the Birds opened a commanding nine-game lead in the AL East before they ran smack into the Javier Baez Wrigley Field Wrecking Co.

The result was a 4-5 road trip. Chris Davis is now down to a .190 batting average, the lowest mark of any major leaguer with at least 400 at-bats. And Manny Machado is lost for the season to knee surgery.

So can the Yankees erase the rest of the Orioles’ lead? Or even wipe out a 2.5-game deficit in the wild-card standings, where they trail both the Seattle Mariners and Tigers (emphasizing the magnitude of this week’s series)?

A lot may hinge on the one game this week that doesn’t count, a simulated game scheduled for Thursday that will see Tanaka test his injured elbow, which has had him on the DL since July.


2. The Orioles By the Numbers

Just when the Orioles appeared to be running away from the pack in the AL East, they were whacked by the Cubs and sideswiped by news that Manny Machado will be lost for the year due to surgery on his right knee. Last summer, his season ended early with the same procedure on his left knee.

It’s the end of a bizarre season for Machado, who lost it during a series against the A’s in June, was suspended and now says he has abnormal knees, which left them vulnerable to injuries. By having this surgery now, he says, he hopes his knee issues will become a thing of the past

You can’t help but wonder whether Machado’s knees now will compromise his future. He arrived in the majors as such a supreme talent at 19 in 2012. With him and catcher Matt Wieters both out for the season, the Orioles have taken a huge hit.

Meantime, Nelson Cruz leads the majors with 34 homers after Chris Davis’ 53 topped the majors last summer. If Cruz maintains his lead, the Orioles will become only the fourth team since 1920 to have two different players win homer titles in back-to-back seasons, according to STATS, LLC.

The others: The 1936-37 Yankees (Lou Gehrig 49, Joe DiMaggio 46), the 1987-88 Athletics (Mark McGwire 49, Jose Canseco 42) and the 1993-94 Giants (Barry Bonds 46, Matt Williams 43).


3. Dodging the Late-Inning Heroics

That the Dodgers beat the Padres 2-1 last Thursday in Dodger Stadium on its own wasn’t a big deal.

That they did it when Justin Turner bashed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning? That made it kind of a big deal.

Until then, the Dodgers were 0-46 in games in which they trailed after seven innings this season. They were the only team in the majors without a victory in that situation.

Big deal? Well, to hear radio talkers in Los Angeles, it at times showed a lack of heart, courage, fortitude and guts.

The truth of the matter is the zero wins was the weird part. You’d think that the Dodgers would have snatched one or two by late August. But it’s not like successful clubs always thrive in those situations. The Nationals, leading the NL East, were 6-44 at the time when trailing after seven. The Brewers, leading the NL Central, were 5-41.

Closest to the Dodgers in the NL was the Cardinals, who were 1-43 in those situations (they’re 2-45 now).


4. This Week With the Blue Jays

Toronto was supposed to be contending for a playoff slot right about now. Instead, the Blue Jays this month have made spectacles of themselves.

They’re contesting a new logo introduced by the Creighton University Bluejays because, get this, it looks like a Blue Jay.

And as if losing nine of their past 12 isn’t enough to put a damper on any October hopes, Jose Bautista is showing the opposite of leadership skills. After Bautista was ejected by plate ump Bill Welke in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 2-1, 10-inning loss to Tampa Bay, manager John Gibbons let him have it.

“Bottom line is, we needed him in the game,” Gibbons told reporters. “Say your piece and get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get in the playoffs, we need you on the field. He’s a marked man in this game. Bill Welke? I thought he had a pretty good zone today. It was steady, he was calling strikes. He was looking to call strikes. But we need you in the game.”


5. The Yankees By the Numbers

It was nice to see the final residue of hard feelings between Joe Torre and the Yankees melt away Saturday as they retired his No. 6. His was the 18th number the Yankees have retired, and at this rate, maybe they could use a few bitter breakups with legends in the near future (like the way the Red Sox always seem to roll!).

They’re going to run out of numbers eventually, and assuming it is a slam dunk that Derek Jeter’s No. 2 eventually will be retired, they’re already out of single-digit numbers in the Bronx:

  1. Billy Martin
  2. Derek Jeter (will be retired eventually)
  3. Babe Ruth
  4. Lou Gehrig
  5. Joe DiMaggio
  6. Joe Torre
  7. Mickey Mantle
  8. Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey
  9. Roger Maris

By the way, for those who don’t know, way back when numbers were first placed onto uniforms, they signified the slot in the batting order that player occupied. Thus, Ruth wore No. 3 and Gehrig No. 4.


6. Dizzying Heights for Mariners

Not to make light of Robinson Cano leaving Sunday’s game in Boston because of dizziness—he later said he thought it might be a touch of the flu—but has anyone considered that Cano’s condition might have been results-induced?


7. Nationals Alert

Winners of 12 of 14 and hotter than anybody this side of the Kansas City Royals, the Nationals are playing well enough that manager Matt Williams probably is going to have the luxury of arranging his playoff rotation sooner rather than later.

And his Game 1 starter at this point has to be…Jordan Zimmermann? Doug Fister?

There was a time the quick answer would have been Stephen Strasburg. But Strasburg‘s mysterious inconsistency this summer peaked Sunday during the Nationals’ 14-6 laugher over the Giants.

The game became a laugher only after Washington was able to erase the 5-0 deficit Strasburg dug them in the first three innings. Strasburg, who has struggled with fastball location off and on all summer, inexplicably grooved pitches to Travis Ishikawa and Gregor Blanco, both of which turned into home runs.

Already this season, Strasburg has surrendered a career-high 21 homers, five more than he served up all of last year in only 7.2 fewer innings (175.1, as compared to 183 in 2013).

On the flip side, Strasburg leads the NL with 202 strikeouts.

He is an exceptionally hard worker. He cares. And the strikeouts tell you his stuff is still there.

Simply put, he is an ongoing example that this game is nearly impossible to tame, even by the uber-talented. Strasburg still has not lived up to the overwhelming hype that trumpeted his arrival back in 2010. But at 26, there is still time.

Heck, there’s still time for him to tune things up enough this year to start Game 1.


8. To DH or Not to DH?

We all know the glory days of the designated hitter—way back when thumpers like Don Baylor, Chili Davis, Edgar Martinez and Brian Downing roamed the earth—have long since passed.

But check out the profile of a guy this summer whom you would think would be the perfect DH, Billy Butler.

As pointed out by stats guru Bill Chuck, in 93 games as a DH this year, Butler is hitting .261/.310/.336 with three homers and 35 RBI.

In 29 games as a first baseman, Butler is at .308/.351/.523 with five homers and 16 RBI.

Oh, and most important: Before July 20, Butler essentially was a full-time DH. Since he’s moved to first base, the Royals had compiled baseball’s best record at 24-8.


9. Cool Standings? You Bet

With September drawing near, a check at what used to be coolstandings.com and now is on the FanGraphs.com website:

The current division leader with the greatest probability of winning its division is the Nationals (at 98.9 percent), followed by the Dodgers (92.5), Orioles (89.5), A’s (56.8) and Royals (46.5).

The NL Central? That’s the most fascinating division, according to the probabilities: The Brewers currently lead the Cardinals by 1.5 games…yet the Cardinals (48 percent) have a higher probability of winning the division than the Brewers (47.2).

According to FanGraphs‘ Cool Standings, nine teams can begin looking to next summer, with a zero percent chance at this year’s wild-card slots: The Red Sox, White Sox, Twins, Astros, Rangers, Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rockies.


9a. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric of the Week

A prayer for Ferguson, Missouri, and for the greater good to be done throughout our land….

“Mother, mother

“There’s too many of you crying

“Brother, brother, brother

“There’s far too many of you dying

“You know we’ve got to find a way

“To bring some lovin‘ here today, ya

“Father, father

“We don’t need to escalate

“You see, war is not the answer

“For only love can conquer hate

“You know we’ve got to find a way

“To bring some lovin‘ here today”

— Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. He has over two decades of experience covering MLB, including 14 years as a national baseball columnist at CBSSports.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball @ScottMillerBbl.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Orioles Need Bold Recourse to Contend Without Superstar Manny Machado

If misery loves company, the Los Angeles Angels just got company.

Two days after the Halos lost their ace Garrett Richards for the season to a knee injury, the Baltimore Orioles learned they’ll be without budding superstar Manny Machado for the remainder of the 2014 season, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

As with Los Angeles, Baltimore is poised to make a deep run into October. The loss of Machado doesn’t necessarily derail those hopes, but it adds a serious roadblock.

The 22-year-old third baseman posted a .278/.324/.431 slash line through 82 games with 12 home runs and 32 RBI.

Over the last month, he’d begun to turn it up, hitting .351 with five home runs and 15 RBI over a 28-game span, per Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun

Machado has been on the disabled list since August 12 with a sprained right knee, but the O’s and their fans were crossing their fingers for a stretch-run return.

“I’ll probably try to bring some clarity and everything to where we are with that situation, try to gather exactly what he’s being told, as far as when baseball activities would start and all that stuff,” skipper Buck Showalter told MLB.com‘s Brittany Ghiroli.

Now clarity has come: Machado will undergo his second knee surgery in as many seasons. He hurt his left knee last September and wound up missing the remainder of the 2013 campaign plus the first month of 2014.

With that clarity, one thing is abundantly clear: Baltimore needs to get creative to keep its World Series hopes alive.

The playoffs still look like a near certainty. Entering play Friday, the Orioles stood at 73-53 and held a commanding 8.5-game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. 

But if they plan to make a serious push for the franchise’s first championship in three decades, Baltimore must make a move.

There are internal options. Chris Davis could take over full time at the hot corner, where he’s played 79 games in his big league career. 

The Orioles called up infielder Cord Phelps on August 13 when Machado first landed on the DL.

Phelps was hitting .258 with Triple-A Norfolk at the time of his call-up, be he’s hit just .158 with two home runs in 114 MLB at-bats since 2011.

Not brimming with confidence? Want the O’s to bring in outside help? There are names to consider.

The Texas Rangers, mired in a nightmare season, could be looking to deal. And third baseman Adrian Beltre cleared waivers on Monday, per Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.

The 35-year-old was hitting .322 with 17 home runs entering play Friday. It’s unclear how willing the Rangers are to deal him, though.

The Washington Nationals inquired about Beltre prior to the trade deadline, per MLB.com‘s Bill Ladson, and “were rebuffed.”

If Davis does make a permanent move to third, Baltimore could also look to add a first baseman or an outfielder. 

Another Ranger who cleared waivers, outfielder Alex Rios, could be an option, though he’s battling a thumb injury, per Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.

As for first basemen, Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox cleared waivers last August, as reported by CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman.

Dunn will be a free agent after the season, meaning it likely wouldn’t require a mortgage of the farm to get him.

The Big Donkey is a liability in the field and is hitting just .224, but he’s still got pop, to the tune of 19 home runs.

Any route the Orioles take will involve risk. Sure-bet players aren’t just hanging out there waiting to be claimed in late August.

But this is a team with a legitimate shot at doing something special. You can’t let those chances slip away, because you never know when they’ll come again.

Misery may love company, but that’s a party Baltimore is hoping to leave as quickly as possible.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Manny Machado Injury: Orioles 3B Reportedly Having Season-Ending Knee Surgery

The Baltimore Orioles are running away with the American League East, but their chances at reaching the World Series once the postseason begins took a major hit Friday. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports and Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun provided an update regarding Manny Machado’s health:

Machado is hitting .278 on the season with 12 home runs, 32 RBI and a .755 on-base plus slugging. He has not played since an August 11 contest against the New York Yankees.

This is certainly unwelcome news for the Orioles as the stretch run of the season approaches. They are 8.5 games clear of the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays and have their eyes firmly set on the postseason.

Machado is an important bat in a lineup that ranks sixth in the majors in batting average and third in slugging percentage. What’s more, he was just starting to heat up at the plate after hitting .333 in July and .378 in August.

Stay tuned for updates as they develop.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Manny Machado Injury: Updates on Orioles Star’s Knee and Return

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 12

The results of Manny Machado‘s MRI are in, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com:

GM Dan Duquette briefly commented on how long Machado could potentially be out via Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun:

Original Text

This is a sentence you never want to read about any player, especially if it has already been uttered in the past year: Manny Machado left Monday’s game with a scary-looking knee injury. 

The 22-year-old star third baseman, who tore his left medial patellofemoral ligament at the end of last season and missed all of April while rehabbing, injured his other knee against the New York Yankees. YES Network’s Jack Curry and MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko have the concerning details:

The team’s official Twitter feed provided an update, however, alleviating at least a little bit of the concern:

After the O’s 11-3 win over the Yankees, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com provided an update on what’s next for Machado:

While a particular timetable is still unknown, this kind of thing is low on the list of what Orioles fans want to hear. 

Machado got off to a slow start this season and had a forgettable series against the Oakland Athletics in June that showed his youth, but he had been red hot as of late, hitting .348/.383/.536 since the start of July. Overall, his season numbers (.277/.323/.428) are right on line with his All-Star campaign from last year.

ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield recently argued Machado would help the O’s win the American League East:

Maybe it’s just a little hot streak. Maybe you’re finally getting in a groove, with the knee healthy. Maybe we’re going to see the Manny Machado we saw the first half of last season, when you were hitting all those doubles, making all those fantastic plays in the field and making the All-Star team in your first full season in the majors. 

At the All-Star break, I predicted the Orioles to hold on and win the East, in part because I figured Chris Davis was due to heat up. But it’s not looking like Davis is the guy who will help carry the lineup alongside Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones. It’s you, Manny. 

You can’t forget about his unbelievable defense, either, as he displays unbelievable range at third base to go with one of the strongest arms in the game.


“Machado is a magician out there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after that game. “(He) took a couple of hits away from (Albert Pujols).”

Baltimore will be hoping for some more of that magic during his recovery. 

The O’s are in a comfortable position—they entered Monday five games clear of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. But there’s no overstating the significance of this development if Tuesday’s reevaluation reveals a prognosis that is as bad as the injury looked. 

Chris Davis, who was receiving a day off at first, entered the game for Machado. Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty will see more time during the youngster’s absence. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Manny Machado Suspended 5 Games: Latest Details and Reaction

During an All-Star rookie campaign, Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado consistently looked like a seasoned veteran both at the plate and in the field. This past weekend against the Oakland Athletics, though, the 21-year-old finally showed his youth.

His actions have earned him a five-game suspension, the league confirmed:

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports was first to report the news:

The Orioles confirm Machado remains in the lineup:

Dan Connolly and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun provide more from Machado:

Following the news of the suspension, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports weighed in with advice for Machado:

Buster Olney of ESPN also discussed the ban in relation to suspensions for pitchers throwing at batters:

On Friday night, the young third baseman didn’t particularly enjoy an enthusiastic tag applied by Josh Donaldson. Machado slammed his helmet down and got in Donaldson’s face, and benches subsequently cleared:

That was mere child’s play compared to what he did Sunday, though.

With the A’s leading 10-0 in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Fernando Abad brushed Machado off the plate with a pitch around his knees, leading to a lengthy stare-down from the youngster. The very next pitch came inside—intentionally inside, according to home-plate umpire Larry Vanover—and Machado responded by letting his bat fly dangerously towards Alberto Callaspo at the hot corner:

It was an immature, dangerous stunt, and most agreed a suspension was inevitable. The only debate seemed to surround the severity of the punishment.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan didn’t hold back in his interpretation of the incident: 

In an interview Monday with Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, via Sporting News’ Justin McGuire, Machado was apologetic:

I want to apologize to all my teammates, my coaching staff, the Orioles organization and Oakland, and the fans also, for the way I acted and overreacted on that. It was a frustrating weekend, and I just let my emotions get the best of me.

Following Monday’s win over the Boston Red Sox, he explained how this incident was going to help him, via Orioles beat writer Britt Ghiroli:

When things happen like this you’re definitely going to learn. It’s going to make me a better player and it’s going to make me a better man. Looking forward, I hope I learn from it and don’t make the same mistake.

Alas, while he sounds remorseful and doesn’t have a checkered history, Machado’s actions were senseless, and there’s very little question he is deserving of the punishment doled out by MLB.

The only thing he can do from here is use the time off to get his head right. After leading the league with 51 doubles as a rookie, Machado, recovering from offseason knee surgery, is hitting a mediocre .229/.283/.336.

O’s general manager Dan Duquette, via Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci, even suggested a stint in the minors is an option at this point.

Either way, the Orioles, who are currently second in the AL East, will hope this suspension churns out the 2013 version of Machado.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Will Manny Machado Pick Up Where He Left off in Stellar 2013?

Manny Machado is back.

The Baltimore Orioles are expected to activate the 21-year-old third baseman before the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. With Tuesday’s game being postponed because of rain, it’s expected that Machado will make his season debut on Wednesday.

Machado suffered an ugly, season-ending knee injury last September, and the Orioles were understandably cautious with his rehab this spring following offseason surgery. He might have been ready earlier in the season if not for a minor setback experienced while running the bases, but his recent three-game rehab stint with High-A Frederick suggests Machado is ready to pick up where he left off in 2013.


Machado was assigned to Frederick for the team’s weekend series, after playing several games in extended spring training, and made an immediate impact by going 8-for-12 with four doubles and a triple. The 21-year-old convinced the organization he was ready to be activated following Sunday’s game, when he went 4-for-4 with three runs scored, a pair of doubles and RBI, walk and stolen base.

Headed into Baltimore’s contest on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, manager Buck Showalter discussed the timetable for Machado’s activation, via Jeff Seidel of MLB.com. “We’ll see where we are at the end of [Sunday],” said Showalter. “I think the biggest part of that equation is what Manny thinks. We’re a lot closer than we were.”

Well, apparently both Machado and the Orioles believe he’s ready.

In 2013, his first full season in the major leagues, Machado batted .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles and 14 home runs in 710 plate appearances. He also scored 88 runs, stole six bases and collected 71 RBI prior to his injury.

Following the season, Machado was honored with the Rawlings Platinum Glove as the best defensive player in the American League after ranking first in both ultimate zone rating (31.2) and defensive runs saved (35), per FanGraphs. Machado also paced all third basemen with at least 1,000 innings at the position in both categories.

Overall, Machado’s 6.2 WAR, according to FanGraphs, ranked 10th among all position players across both leagues. 

Now, with Machado fully healthy and ready to rejoin the Orioles, it’s seemingly only a matter of time until he adds to his already impressive major-league resume.

The PECOTA, Oliver and Steamer projection models all take into account Machado’s missed time this season, but they’re still in agreement that he’ll be roughly a four-win player and bat somewhere in the ballpark of .270 with 15 bombs, a bunch of doubles and 60-70 RBI. ZIPS is the only model that projected Machado’s 2014 performance based on a full season, and, in my opinion, offers a realistic idea of what to expect from the 21-year-old this season should he stay healthy. Basically, each of the models project Machado to be the same caliber of player he was prior to the injury and despite his late start this season.

Meanwhile, the Orioles undoubtedly are thrilled to have Machado back in the lineup, especially in the wake of Chris Davis landing on the disabled list with an oblique strain. Through the first 24 games, the Orioles’ third basemen—Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty—rank 14th in the American League with a .269 wOBA and last in OPS (.597), per FanGraphs. Defensively, the Orioles’ trio of options at the hot corner collectively has cost the team 11 runs.

For all those reasons, Machado’s scheduled season debut couldn’t come at a better time. And so long as he stays healthy, the 21-year-old phenom seems destined to build on his outstanding 2013 campaign to emerge as one of the premier all-around players in the American League.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Why You Should Reach for Manny Machado in Your Draft

The last memory baseball fans have of the Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado is him writhing in pain after twisting his knee running out a play at first base. It appears fantasy experts have that same memory, as well, considering how low they have him ranked heading into 2014. 

ESPN’s Tristan Cockcroft has him ranked 114th, Fox Sports has him ranked 111th and Sports Illustrated has him at 112th.

I can understand trusting the “experts” and assuming Machado will still be around 110 picks into a draft. However, you’d better hope there aren’t any Orioles fans in your league, because anyone who followed Manny’s 2013 season and witnessed the extraordinary talent he possesses will be picking him far earlier than that.

For all you non-O’s fans out there, let me explain why you should reach for Machado in your draft this year.

Did you watch that clip? If not, go ahead and watch it now. I’ll wait. If you did, you probably want to watch it again, so I’ll wait for you guys, too.

While a play like that isn’t going to help you win your fantasy league, it shows how naturally gifted Manny Machado is. He possesses the kind of talent that makes it impossible to predict what he’ll do next. We have no idea what he’s capable of.

Seriously, though, did anyone “project” that Machado would win a Gold Glove in his first full season playing third base? Or that he’d lead the American League in doubles as a 21-year-old?   

When it comes to Manny Machado, projections are meaningless. So instead of looking at those, consider these facts instead.


His home run numbers could explode at any time

Last season, Machado hit just 14 home runs. However, he also hit 51 doubles. As he continues to gain experience and begins to grow into his frame, a lot of those doubles are going to turn into home runs. That could happen as soon as 2014. 

His swing is so long and possesses so much drive that the ball comes off with a lot of backspin, enabling him to hit into the gaps routinely. In the following two clips are two perfect examples of this. With some added strength, those could both very well be homers this season.

The Orioles have arguably the best lineup in baseball

Last season, the Orioles led MLB in home runs by a huge margin. Then they added Nelson Cruz this offseason. Am I crazy to assume they’ll be at the front of the pack again this season? Honestly, I think I’d be crazy if I didn’t.

So, needless to say, Machado will have some solid protection behind him in the lineup again. Machado will presumably hit in the 2-slot yet again, with Chris Davis and Adam Jones behind him. Cruz will probably slide into the 5-slot.

My goodness.


He’s already one of the best players in MLB and on the road to stardom

Don’t let the fantasy ranking fool you. Manny Machado is already one of the best players in baseball. His injury and the fact that he’s young have contributed to his ranking being where it is, but any true baseball fan understands his talent.

They also understand his potential.

If you are in a keeper league and you don’t find a way to draft this kid, you’ll be constantly reminded of your mistake. There is no reason to think he can’t become a .300/35/100 player in the near future. Don’t pass that up.


His injury is not as bad as it looked

When Machado went down last season, it looked terrible. Anyone watching that game immediately thought the worst. 

However, it didn’t end up being nearly as bad as it appeared to be. In fact, some reports are saying he might even be ready for Opening Day.

We should take that with a grain of salt, considering the conflicting reports…

But the fact that it’s even a possibility should clear up any concern you might have about his injury completely derailing his season.

Machado is going to be a stud once again in 2014. Forget the projections, disregard the metrics and simply admire the natural talent. Then draft him.



Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress