Manny Machado has certainly brought excitement to the Orioles that hasn’t been there in awhile. He has produced in his first series with the club and has every Orioles fan thinking that he is the missing link. It is a small sample size and it was against the Royals, but make no mistake about it, the kid can play.
It is kind of weird talking about a professional player that is younger than me, but “Manny is being Manny” in a different way. He brings his bright smile to the ballpark each day and with everything he does. Whether it is batting practice, taking ground balls or just playing the game he loves, Manny just wants to be out there. The fans and especially the team have to appreciate that.
Even though Manny was facing a Royals team that had a team ERA of 4.41, the success he exhibited was impressive for a guy making the jump from Bowie. Even though the Royals were throwing out the who’s who of pitchers, like former Oriole Bruce Chen, Machado still exceeded immediate expectations of most people that follow the team. Being the number three overall prospect in our system, it was expected that he would develop into a star, or at least a good player at some point in his career.
An immediate impact? Highly doubtful.
Machado in the series went 6-for-16, with a double, triple, three homers and seven RBI. Seeing that the offense is there is great, but he was still playing the Royals.
I hate to downplay situations like this, but look at his statistics in Bowie: .266 batting average, 11 home runs and 59 RBI. In 402 at-bats, he struck out 70 times. The 70 strikeouts worry me because the Orioles already have enough players that do not put the ball play and these were his numbers in Bowie. The real test will come when he faces more seasoned and better pitchers to see if he can hit at the big-league-level at this preliminary stage of his career.
I’m not expecting Machado to be Mike Trout immediately, but is he what the team needed at this point in the playoff race? Absolutely.
Machado could stink up the joint in half of his games, but he will always put on 100% effort, something Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds can say every day. Betemit and Reynolds sometimes look disinterested when they go out to field, Machado has shown the excitement and enthusiasm to just be out there.
Like all young players, he will go through growing pains. However, if he can contribute to the team both offensively and defensively, especially hitting toward the bottom of the lineup, Buck Showalter cannot ask for much more than that.
So far, he has taken advantage of an opportunity to showcase his skills, albeit against the Royals, and he has delivered.
Will it continue along with the unexplained success of the Orioles? Hopefully.
This team needs an “Energizer bunny.” Manny Machado is that spark that can ignite this team to places it has not been since 1997. His contributions and mishaps may show up in the paper the next day, but the pure excitement he brings to a club that has been in the doldrums of Major League Baseball for so long will not.
Yes, I sound like Tim Tebow with all of the usage of “excitement” and “enthusiasm” in this write-up, but Manny has earned it. He has turned a city upside-down that was all-purple once the calendar turned to August and has brought some Orioles magic and excitement about the Birds back to Charm City.
See there I go again, here’s a picture of Tim Tebow ladies.
Follow me on Twitter @Jeff_Kryglik