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Manny Machado

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Manuel Arturo Machado

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[edit] Biographical Information

Manny Machado was the third pick of the 2010 amateur draft, following Bryce Harper and Jameson Taillon. His cousin Albert Almora was drafted almost as highly in 2012. Machado hit .639 as a high school senior with 56 RBI and 12 homers in 86 AB, 44 of his 55 hits going for extra bases. In the 2009 Junior Pan American Games, he hit two home runs to help give the USA its first Gold ever in the event.

Machado had a commitment to Florida International University in case he did not sign, but he was signed by scout John Martin for $5.25 million. He played nine games in 2010, hitting .306/.359/.472 between the GCL Orioles and Aberdeen Ironbirds. Baseball America rated him as the #14 prospect in baseball going into 2011. In his first game of 2011, he went 2 for 3 with a triple for the Delmarva Shorebirds. On a fast track to the majors, he played only 38 games at Delmarva, hitting .276 with 8 doubles and 6 homers, then finished the season with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League. Between the two stops, his batting line was .257/.335/.421 in 101 games, with 20 doubles, 5 triples and 11 homers, scoring 48 runs and driving in 50. At 18, he was one of the youngest players in high A ball that year, and Baseball America took that into account in moving him up to #11 in its ranking of prospects heading into 2012.

Manny began 2012 in AA with the Bowie BaySox of the Eastern League where he was again among the youngest players in the league. In the 2012 Futures Game, he was a backup for the US in their 17-5 romp over the World. He replaced Billy Hamilton at shortstop in the 5th. He doubled off Ariel Pena his first time up, scoring Rob Brantly and Christian Yelich, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Wil Myers. He ended their 9-run inning by popping up versus Julio Rodriguez his second trip up in the 6th. His last time to the plate, he flew out against Bruce Rondon in the 8th.

He had played 108 games, hitting .266/.350/.431 when the Orioles announced on August 8th that he was being called up to The Show. He was expected to play mainly third base in the big leagues, after being almost exclusively a shortstop in the minors, since J.J. Hardy was manning the shortstop position for the O's and playing very well, with the team in unexpected contention for a postseason berth. Team Vice-president Dan Duquette described Machado thus: "Manny should be a plus-defender, wherever we play him. He's a five-tool player, and he can help our team. I think he improves our team, and it's important here [for this club] to be strong." Wearing number 13, he made his debut on August 9th, playing third base and batting 9th in an 8-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. He was one of his team's lone bright spots as he went 2 for 4 with a triple and a run scored. The triple was his first big league hit, achieved off Will Smith in the 5th inning; he then scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis. He made his presence even more felt in his second game on August 10th, when he hit a pair of homers and driving in four runs in a 7-1 win over the Royals. Both shots were off Luke Hochevar and landed n the left field seats at Camden Yards - in fact, both were caught by the same fan! He was the youngest player in Orioles history to have a two-homer day, beating slugger Boog Powell in 1962, and the 12th youngest major leaguer to do so. He made it three homers in his first 16 at-bats with another long ball on August 12th, although that one needed a video review before being allowed. He also had a double the previous day, and was hitting .375 with a 1.286 slugging percentage after four games. He came to Earth after that and finished his first MLB campaign at .262/.294/.445 with 7 homers in 191 AB. On October 10, he became the second-youngest player ever to homer in the postseason (following Andruw Jones); he only held the mark for two days, before Bryce Harper passed him. It was a rare bright spot in the playoffs, as he was 3 for 19 with two walks, a double and the homer overall.

In the spring of 2013, he announced his engagement to Yannie Alonso, sister of San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso. He began the season on a record-setting pace for doubles: at the end of May, he had hit 25 doubles, the most in the major leagues, which projected to 73 over a season if he were to keep this torrid pace. The all-time single-season record was only 67, by Earl Webb. Manny was not only hitting doubles, however. He also led the majors in hits with 79, and was batting .336, confirming his place as one of the top hitters in the major leagues while still only 20. Not surprisingly, he was named to the All-Star team for the first time, the nomination coming on his 21st birthday. On September 14th, while his doubles pace had fallen considerably since his tremendous start, he still became the youngest player in major league history to record 50 two-base hits in a season. Unfortunately, his season ended a week early, when he badly twisted his knee after stepping awkwardly on first base in the 7th inning of a key game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 23rd. He ended the year with a batting line of .283/.314/.432, with 51 doubles, 88 runs scored, 14 homers and 71 RBIs. At first, it looked as though he may have ruptured some ligaments in his knee, putting his availability for the next season in question, but it turned out that the operation he required came with a rehabilitation period of four to six months.

Machado returned in spring training in 2014, but was slowed down by problems with scar tissue in his knee, forcing him to miss opening day and the entire month of April. He made his debut on May 1st, starting the second game of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates after playing a few rehabilitation games with the Frederick Keys. He hit his first career grand slam on June 1st, in the 6th inning off Scott Feldman of the Houston Astros in a 9-4 win. On June 8th, he was ejected from a game against the Oakland Athletics when he apparently threw his bat at Oakland 3B Josh Donaldson on a swing in the 8th inning. He had had a confrontation with Donaldson over a tag play earlier in the series, and had been brushed back from the plate by Fernando Abad on the pitch before, prompting a stare down with the pitcher. The bat landed a ways away from Donaldson, and after the game, Machado denied any aggressive intentions, claiming the bat had simply escaped from his hands. He apologized for the incident the next day, but still received a five-game suspension, although it took three weeks for the appeal process to be completed in order for Manny to begin serving the suspension. He hit the first walk-off homer of his career on July 29th against Cory Rasmus of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, connecting in the bottom of the 12th inning for a 7-6 win. On August 13th, however, he returned to the DL, this time with a sprained ligament in his right knee, the result of taking an awkward swing two nights earlier. More bad news followed on August 22nd, when it was announced he would require season-ending surgery. He ended the year with a .278 average in 82 games, with 12 homers and 32 RBIs.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (2013)
  • AL Gold Glove Winner (2013)
  • AL At-Bats Leader (2013)
  • AL Doubles Leader (2013)

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