With an off day to escape the reality of having the worst record in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles looked to the future Monday evening by selecting prep shortstop Manny Machado with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLB 1st-Year Player Draft. Machado is a 17-year-old product out of Miami Brito High School.
Possessing a 6-foot-3 frame and hailing from Miami, Machado has drawn comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez, though the mere mention of a 17-year-old projecting to be similar to a player with 591 career home runs sounds maniacal at best. Other draft experts have likened Machado to Hanley Ramirez, but more subdued comparisons have been made to Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Machado possesses a level swing and has not shown overwhelming power in his prep career, though scouts believe the potential to develop above-average power is there as his frame fills out.
Questions remain whether Machado will remain at shortstop given his tall, skinny stature as a 17-year-old, but scouts say he has a very strong throwing arm. His lateral movement might come in question as he gains more weight, facilitating a move to third base like his idol Rodriguez.
Machado hit .639 with 12 homers, and 68 runs batted in in 29 high school games in 2010.
The young shortstop played with the first two picks of the draft, Bryce Harper and Jameson Taillon, on the U.S. 18-and-under national squad that won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championships in Venezuela last fall. Taillon—who many thought the Orioles coveted before the Pirates selected the high school pitcher one spot ahead of Baltimore—called Machado the “most fluid player I’ve ever played with.”
Machado is represented by super agent Scott Boras, which will cause concern regarding how easy it will be to sign the high school shortstop. Machado will use his scholarship acceptance to Florida International as a bargaining chip in reaching an agreement with the Orioles.
If the Orioles cannot reach a contract agreement with Machado by August 16th, Machado would re-enter the draft next year while the Orioles would receive the fourth overall pick (a spot later than this year’s position) in the 2011 draft as compensation. However, it is not expected that Machado is very serious about attending Florida International at this point.
Here is what others have to say about Machado:
Keith Law, ESPN.com MLB insider: “He might be A-Rod light. Machado can hit with strong quick wrists, and he should add power as he fills out his lean 6-foot, 3-inch frame.”
Garye LeFevers, U.S. national team coach: “He’s very patient at the plate. He never carries a previous at-bat over to the next one. It’s all for the moment. He’s focused on what’s going on in that at-bat, whether the last one was a home run or a strikeout.”
Here is a more detailed scouting report, courtesy of MLB.com:
Manny Machado – SS
Miami Brito HS, Sr.
- Birthdate: 7/6/92
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 190lbs.
- Bats: Right
- Throws: Right
- Scout’s report filed: 3/18/10
Hitting ability: Machado is swinging the bat very well, with authority. He led Team USA in hitting last summer
Power: He has the chance to have good power.
Running speed: He’s run well in the past, though he might slow down as he matures.
Base running: He’s fine on the basepaths.
Arm strength: He’s got plenty of arm for his position.
Fielding: He makes the plays he can get to.
Range: This is the question, whether he’ll have enough range to stay at shortstop as he gets bigger and stronger.
Physical Description: A big, strong athletic high school shortstop in the Miami area, Machado obviously draws young Alex Rodriguez comparisons.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: Big, strong, looks the part, plenty of tools, especially with the bat.
Weaknesses: Already pretty big, he may not be able to stay at shortstop in the long-term.
Summary: Machado entered the season as the top high school position player and has done nothing to diminish that evaluation. Big and athletic, he can do just about everything on the baseball field, with the ability to hit for plenty of average and some power as he matures. He’s got more than enough arm to play shortstop and is fine there for now, though there is some concern he’ll outgrow the position. Even if he does, he’d be just fine at third, both in terms of handling the position defensively and providing the kind of offense teams look for at the hot corner. Regardless of his position, Machado is primed to be one of the earliest names taken off the board in June.