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Manny Machado and the 4 Greatest Career Starts in Baltimore Orioles History

Alex SnyderContributor IIJune 19, 2013

Manny Machado and the 4 Greatest Career Starts in Baltimore Orioles History

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    As every Oriole fan knows, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is off to one of the hottest starts to a career that anyone will ever see.

    The Orioles have a rich history of developing players. From pitchers to fielders, there have been many players that have come through the Orioles system and made an impact not only on the team, but on MLB history.

    Surprisingly, Manny Machado's hot start hasn't been the most impressive one in O's history, as the following slides will demonstrate.

    Let's take a look at some of the hottest career starts in Orioles history.

Jim Palmer, Starting Pitcher

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    Right-hander Jim Palmer is the best starting pitcher in Orioles history. He won 20 or more games eight times in his career. His career ERA stands at 2.86.

    He also never allowed a grand slam in his career, nor did he ever allow back-to-back home runs. Impressive.

    In Palmer's first full season as a starting pitcher, he went 15-10 with a 3.46 ERA in 30 games, all starts. He threw 208.1 innings and struck out 147 batters.

    A fine season for almost any pitcher, but for a young pitcher's first shot at the rotation, that's quite impressive.

Nick Markakis, Right Fielder

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    The O's right fielder started his career off a little slow at the beginning of the 2006 season, but picked it up in the latter half and didn't slow down the following season.

    His rookie season included a .291 batting average with 16 homers and 62 RBI with a very strong .351 OBP. He quickly became one of the faces of the Orioles franchise as well as a fan favorite.

    In his sophomore season, he followed up with an even stronger .300 batting average and .362 OBP while setting career highs in homers (23), RBI (112) and stolen bases (18).

    While Markakis' power has since diminished, his ability to hit for average, draw walks, get on base and smack doubles is still there, and he's arguably one of the better all-around hitters in baseball because of his keen batting eye. He also has one of the top right field gloves and arms in all of baseball.

Cal Ripken, Jr., Shortstop

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    Everyone knows Cal Ripken, Jr. The Iron Man with the 2,632 consecutive games streak is arguably the best all-around shortstop in baseball history.

    Ripken's first full year was in 1982, and the infielder hit 28 homers and drove in 93 RBI with a .264 batting average.

    I say infielder because even though Ripken spent the majority of his career at shortstop, he started and ended it at third base.

    In his second full season, 1983, the O's won the World Series and Ripken won the AL MVP during a season which he hit .318 with 27 homers, 102 RBI and a .371 OBP.

    Ripken went on the become the greatest Orioles ever, so the hot start to his career was obviously no fluke.

Manny Machado, Third Baseman

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    Like Ripken, Manny Machado is a shortstop who started his career at third base.

    While Manny is no longer considered a rookie due to the amount of at-bats he had last season, 2013 is his first full season, and so far, he's been on fire.

    While he's not only playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at a position he didn't go through the minors playing, he's quickly become one of the best hitters in baseball as he's leading the league in hits (101) and doubles (33) heading into Wednesday's action.

    The young third baseman is batting .324 with a .355 OBP, five homers, 37 RBI and five stolen bases to go along with all those doubles.

    If Machado keeps this pace up, he'll set a single-season MLB record for doubles. While that may not happen, it's entirely possible for him to reach 50 or 60 two-bag hits, a ridiculous number for anyone, let alone a player his age.

    Machado has a very bright future ahead of him.

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