20-year-old infielder Manny Machado made his Major League debut for the Baltimore Orioles just a month after his 20th birthday last season. This was no September call up. The Orioles needed help to fill a big hole at third base after manager Buck Showalter moved Mark Reynolds to first base.
Machado stepped in and made an immediate impact for Baltimore, hitting seven home runs and racking up 50 hits in 51 games at the end of last season. His .967 fielding percentage was a huge improvement from third baseman the O’s used prior to his arrival in August.
These are decent numbers for a first-timer in the bigs. The question is how good will this kid get? One has to believe he will get to a very high level of play. Machado’s natural position is shortstop and has handled the hot corner very well. A full season at third could make him even better with the glove. Machado also has an opportunity to see more pitching at this level and learn how to make necessary adjustments at the plate in order to be a good Major League hitter.
Pitchers will have some scouting information about his tendencies to use when facing him this season. However, it won’t be much considering he had less than 200 at bats last season against big league pitchers. It seems as though that aspect falls more in his favor.
This is a huge opportunity for the young infielder to show his team that he can and will continue to steadily produce at the plate and in the field this season, starting on Opening Day.