Baltimore Orioles: How Manny Machado Can Change the Franchise

Freddy WanderContributor IIISeptember 17, 2011

Can Machado save this losing franchise?
Can Machado save this losing franchise?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If the almighty Bryce Harper were not in the 2010 draft, there is a good chance that Manny Machado would have been the top position player picked.

Machado has an impressive swing that projects to give the Orioles a high-average, big-power player at a premium position. Many have compared Machado to Alex Rodriguez.

It is easy to see why they would compare the two, but I do not believe Machado will ever touch the numbers A-Rod put up (even if Rodriguez had a little help).

In a short minor league sample between A and A-plus ball, Machado showed his ability to hit for power with 36 extra base hits, 11 of those going yard.

His average was a bit low at .257 but as he matures and moves up the ladder, that number should improve as he starts recognizing pitches better.

All signs point to Machado being a middle of the lineup hitter with average defense at either shortstop or third base.


How Will He Change the Franchise?

If Machado can come anywhere near the comparisons of Alex Rodriguez, there is no doubt he will help turn this franchise around.

It is not easy to say this about a team that has not had a winning record since 1997, but it is hard to see this trend continuing.

Even before Machado makes his first appearance in Baltimore, the team should have improved through their system with young, projectable starting pitchers and a core of high-ceiling, talented position players.

Machado should be able to join the club toward the end of 2013. As long as the Orioles have locked up a few of their young players they currently have on their roster, they will have a very nice offense with which to work.

Machado would lead the likes of Markakis, Wieters and Jones against some of the toughest competition in baseball in the AL East.

Backed by a rotation of young starters such as Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman, the Orioles should be able to put together a few winning seasons before the end of the decade.

Machado could be the face of the Orioles' new winning ways as the next great shortstop in the majors. 


Best Outcome

 Machado wins the 2014 Rookie of the Year after making his MLB debut in September of the previous year.

He goes on to be a perennial all-star and is a vote-getter for MVP on a yearly basis. The Orioles have a few winning seasons, but still struggle against the tough AL East.


Worst Outcome

Machado does not improve on his average from his early sample size. He becomes a player who hits around .275 with 15 to 20 home runs a year. He makes a few all-star games but is never considered one of the game’s best.