So I just spent the past three months obsessing over Jameson Taillon, and in an effort to get myself over Big-J (that's my nickname for him :), I've decided to immerse myself in Manny Machado.
First things first. Machado goes by the nickname "A-Rod light" among certain scouts.
And if that sounds like a lofty title, one unworthy of a 17-year old, well you haven't been paying attention to young Manny, who looks, talks, and even positions himself at the plate like a baby A-Rod.
Machado burst onto the draft scene in early 2009.
He used the momentum from a fantastic junior season to catapult himself into consideration for the summer showcase series. He eventually helped lead the 18-under USA team to a gold medal in the Pan-Am Junior Championships in Venezuela.
Defensively, there is tons to love about Machado, starting with the fact that he looks, right now, like he'll be able to stay at shortstop long-term. He has a great arm, solid footwork and outstanding range. Simply put, he can make all the plays.
At the plate, he's a solid hitter. He projects as a future .300 hitter (very exciting) with some decent pop. Right now his game isn't real big on power, but scouts see the frame conducive to some down the road.
His baseball makeup seems to be off the charts as well. He eats, drinks and sleeps baseball, and it's no wonder his idol is none other than A-Rod himself, right down the the number 3 uniform he started donning this season.
Clearly, the O's need some help at shortstop. They added some depth in second-round pick Mychal Givens last year, and he's still getting his feet wet at low-A Delmarva.
Given Machado's advanced defense, I wonder if they'll try to move Givens off short, or do they play both at the same position at the same level. Thank goodness for the DH in minor league baseball.
There was a reason Machado was considered a top-five talent in this year's draft, and I just need to get over the fact that Taillon won't be anchoring any rotation within 100 miles of Camden Yards.
Machado will do just fine.