Manny Machado: The Orioles Shortstop of the Future

Michael WatersContributor IJune 8, 2010

By now Orioles fans are aware of the comparisons between Machado and division rival Alex Rodriguez: the size, speed, power, and arm at shortstop along with a similar upbringing in Miami.

But Machado has the opportunity to become the next great shortstop in Baltimore, and be the next among a lineage that includes Miguel Tejada and, of course, Cal Ripken Jr.

Machado, the standout position player available in the 2010 draft, stands at 6'2" and weighs around 180 pounds. Scouts project him to grow into his somewhat lanky frame and eventually hit for power.

At Brito High School in Florida, Machado hit .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs in his senior season where his draft stock grew dramatically. Machado is considered a five tool player, and although speed isn’t a big part of his game he swiped 17 bags as well.

Critics who find flaw in Machado question his ability to remain at shortstop, and some foresee a switch to third base in the future.

Although Machado has average range at best, he has exhibited the mechanics, baseball acumen, footwork, and arm to remain at shortstop. 

Provided Machado does eventually move to third, he has the hands and reaction time necessary to become an above average defender at the position. Machado has an open stance in the batter’s box and excellent bat speed that allows him to hit a ton of line drives. 

While most scouts agree he will have an uptick in extra base hits and home runs, there has been some disagreement about his ceiling in the power department. 

Machado will probably have a plateau of roughly 25-30 homers when he reaches his full potential. Only time will tell if Machado can drive the ball out of the park at the major league level, but there is little doubt that he will hit for average and display patience at the plate.

Machado has a commitment to Florida International, but after being drafted third overall and employing Scott Boras as an agent Machado is most likely heading to pro ball.

As a 17-year-old prospect, Machado is likely at least three years away for making his debut with the Orioles, but Machado will become the Orioles top middle infield prospect the day he signs. 

The Orioles aren’t loaded with bats on the minor league level, but nevertheless have enough talent in front of Machado to give him time to develop.

As with many Scott Boras represented clients, Machado and the Orioles may have a long negotiation process before them, but depending on when Machado signs his first assignment could be in the Gulf Coast League South.

There he will take the first step towards becoming “The Orioles Shortstop of the Future”.