The Baltimore Orioles have put on quite the offensive show during 2013, with a strong lineup up and down.
Guys like center fielder Adam Jones, shortstop J.J. Hardy, right fielder Nick Markakis and left fielder Nate McLouth are key factors to the Orioles outscoring their opponents.
However, it can be argued that the two most important cogs in the O's offensive machine are two guys that wouldn't have been expected to be most important before the season started.
Third baseman Manny Machado and first baseman Chris Davis are having incredible seasons.
Machado, who turned 21 this past Saturday, has become one of the best No. 2 hitters in the game. He bats over .300, gets on base, lays down key bunts and hits doubles. And boy, does he hit doubles. Through 92 games this season, Machado has roped 39 two-baggers. The youngster is currently on pace to break the single-season doubles record of 67, a record that is 82 years old.
While Machado is having fun hitting balls to the fence, Davis enjoys hitting balls over the fence. "Crush" hit his major league-leading 34th homer Thursday night. That solo long ball set new career highs in both homers and RBI (86) for the lefty hitter, and it's not even the All-Star break.
The fun debates center around two questions: "Will Machado reach 68 doubles?" and "If Davis hits 62 homers, will he be the rightful single-season home run king?"
However, I have yet to see anyone ask the question of "Will Machado hit more doubles than Davis hits homers?"
It's a fair question to ask, considering that both players have been on a tear the entire season in their respective categories as well as their numbers being relatively close to each other (39 doubles to 34 homers).
Common sense and the law of averages tell you that both Machado and Davis are going to slow down come the second half. Any player who has put up the kind of numbers they have through the season's first half-plus throughout history usually does.
But they also could keep it up, and while it's not likely, it's still entirely possible.
This is baseball, after all.
In the end, I think that Machado will edge out Davis with their respective power numbers. Citing an earlier article I posted in which I predicted these exact numbers for these two players, I think Machado will hit 69 doubles in 2013, while Davis finishes the season with 60 long balls. A consistent doubles pace is easier to maintain than a consistent home run pace, and in my mind, it's easier for a younger player to do something extraordinary than a veteran player.
Young players, such as Machado, obviously have less experience and therefore aren't as aware of the amazing things they're accomplishing. Ignorance can be a good thing, as Machado won't overthink what he's doing and just continue to do it.
So, that's my take. Now it's time to hear yours. Let me know what you think of this question in the comments section, and let's get to debating!
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