Following a 3-for-3 day at the plate for Manny Machado, which included two walks and a home run to help the Baltimore Orioles edge one out over the Minnesota Twins, it is about time to throw the young man’s hat into the MVP discussion. The Orioles’ soon-to-be 24-year-old shortstop turned 3rd baseman turned shortstop is off to a start that can be described as nothing less than incredible.
Machado, the only Oriole to play all 162 games last season, has been moved to the second spot in the lineup and has found success batting behind future Mayor of Baltimore, Joey Rickard. Through 31 games and 139 plate appearances, Machado has posted a slash line of .365/.424/.722. Manny leads the team in hits with 46, including 15 doubles and 10 home runs. With his consistency and power Machado ranks second on the roster with 23 RBI.
Machado brings out his bat in timely situations; he has already bombed two grand slams out of Camden Yards this season. With runners on base (51 at-bats), the shortstop is hitting for an eye-popping average of .373 and has amassed 17 RBI. When Manny has been at the plate with runners in scoring position (25 at-bats), he has hit at a .360 clip and has picked up 12 RBI. The young man has simply been getting it done for the Orioles this season. Whether the bases are empty, fully loaded, or somewhere in between Manny’s approach at the plate has been phenomenal and the homer-happy Orioles faithful couldn’t be happier with their star.
In the field, Manny has transitioned from his major-league home at third base to his natural position of shortstop to fill in for the injured J.J. Hardy. The platinum glove 3rd baseman hasn’t missed a beat in his transition to shortstop. In his 77 total innings played at short this year he has played error-less baseball. In his short time at the position he has shown great range and defensive ability. While many O’s fans likely miss ol’ reliable Hardy out in the field, they can take comfort in the fact that Machado is more than capable of captaining the infield.
The kid is a genuine superstar who has seemingly been overshadowed in his first couple seasons by the outstanding performances by other players of his generation, such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. This start has been a coming out party for the Orioles’ infielder, and it is impossible not to gawk at the numbers he has posted. While Machado can’t be expected to keep this pace up (currently projected for 52 homers and 120 RBI), he has certainly put himself in a position to have a career year. If his ball club keeps stringing wins together, Manny Machado will certainly be in the MVP conversation come the end of the season.