Manny Machado plays the hot corner like no other player in the league.
The former shortstop continues to impress at third base for the Baltimore Orioles, and on Sunday afternoon, he made a spectacular throw against the New York Yankees to reaffirm his defensive prowess.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Yankees holding a 1-0 lead over the O’s, new Yankees infielder Luis Cruz hit a ball down the third-base line, daring Machado to make a great play. The ball kicked off Machado’s glove into foul territory, but he corralled it and heaved a dart across the diamond to nail the sprinting Cruz.
MASN broadcaster Gary Thorne called it the top defensive play of 2013 for the second-place Orioles. Here’s what Buster Olney of ESPN thought of the play:
Somewhere, Brooks Robinson is saying: I can't believe Manny Machado got to that ball.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 7, 2013
Jon Heyman was impressed to say the least that Machado was able to throw out Cruz from where the ball was when he picked it up:
Never seen that before: manny machado throws hitter out on grounder w/ momentum taking him practically into dugout. #unreal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 7, 2013
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports recounts the third basemen Baltimore featured before Machado emerged onto the scene for the Orioles in 2012:
Easy to forget that before Manny Machado arrived last year, O's started Steve Tolleson, Robert Andino, Wilson Betemit, Ryan Flaherty at 3B.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 7, 2013
While Machado has been an outstanding defensive third baseman, he’s been remarkable this season at the plate as well. Through 88 games on the year, Machado is hitting .315/.344/.476 with six home runs and 42 RBI. He also is leading the league with 39 doubles.
Machado was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game on Saturday as the American League’s backup third baseman. Even without the offensive production, Machado would’ve been a strong candidate to make the squad just based off of his defense alone.
While Machado hasn’t been truly recognized for his glove yet, there are sure to be many Gold Gloves in the 21-year-old’s future.