The Orioles have been a losing team for the last 14 years, and while that is a tough pill to swallow, it has also allowed them to draft near the top every year. That is how they landed two of the top high school talents in the last two drafts and now have some serious stars in the making.
Manny Machado was drafted in 2010 with the third overall pick and many compared him to Alex Rodriguez, due to the similarities in position and hometown. That comparison is a bit grandiose, but Machado proved in his first professional season that he is going to be a future star in Baltimore.
Manny started the year on a tear at Delmarva, but was sidelined with an injury. Despite missing a large chunk of the first half, Machado made the league's All-Star team and played alongside Bryce Harper. That day, Machado was promoted to Single-A Frederick, where he would finish the season.
Machado struggled at Frederick, but showed some flashes of greatness. At 19 years old, it's to be expected that he won't immediately dominate the league.
The Orioles took Dylan Bundy in 2011 with the fourth pick. Bundy was the first high school player taken and many said he had the most upside. Unlike Machado, Bundy was signed to a major league deal, so he is on the 40-man roster.
Blessed with a triple digit fastball, Bundy has the ability to miss bats. He won most of the high school player of the year awards this past year thanks to a dominant year in which he had a 0.25 ERA and over two strikeouts per inning. He has yet to play professionally, so it's hard to predict how that will translate.
The Orioles have two fantastic players that will almost definitely make an impact in the majors. High school players are often very risky, but these two are a different breed.
When it comes down to it, I have to say that Machado is the top prospect right now because he has success in the minor leagues. A lot of players dominate high school, but Bundy needs to show he can beat professional hitters before he overtakes Manny. Either way, the Orioles have a bright future with these two coming up in the system.
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