The third base position for the Baltimore Orioles is arguably the one with the most promising future heading into the 2013 season. Rookie third baseman, Manny Machado may be the answer to the uncertainty that has hovered over 3B since longtime Oriole, Melvin Mora left the team following the 2009 season. Since Mora went elsewhere, the Orioles have used Miguel Tejada, Josh Bell, Mark Reynolds and currently Oriole Wilson Betemit.
Mid way through 2012 Machado was called up from Double-A Bowie and took control of 3B, moving Betemit to the bench in a backup role. The 20-year-old Florida native was drafted third overall in 2010 and he played in just 219 games in the minor leagues before getting called up in 2012. In those 219 games the former SS did not have what you would consider eye popping numbers, but rather consistently good numbers as he progressed through the minors.
The unique thing about Machado is that during his entire minor league career he only played at SS. It wasn’t until he was called up to the pros, that he started playing third. In the 51 games Machado appeared in for the Orioles he committed just five errors, which equates to an error once every 10 games.
I don’t think it was any question that Machado would return to the Orioles in 2013 considering the amount of success he saw at the big league level at such a young age early on. Hopefully Machado will bat lower in the lineup again in 2013, more specifically in the eighth or ninth spots. While batting from those two spots in the order his average at the plate was .303 (122 AB). At all other spots in the batting order he batted just .188 (69AB.)
Wherever Machado is at in the lineup in 2013, he will no longer be the new guy. Now that teams have a solid scouting report on the youngster it will interesting to see if Machado is able to make the necessary adjustments at the plate.