With the third overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, the Baltimore Orioles select high-school shortstop Manny Machado.
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.”
“Manny Machado is an electric shortstop from Brito Private High School in Hialeah, Florida, which is just outside Miami. Machado has been on the prospect scene for a number of years, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that he really started getting noticed as a potential impact player in this draft class.
Seen as part of the pack that included shortstops Yordy Cabrera and Justin O’Conner entering last summer, he had separated himself by the end of the fall tournament season, and he’s only gone on to confirm that placement this spring. He has all the tools and makeup to become a perennial all star shortstop at the next level, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s making headlines across the Major Leagues.
At the plate, he’s a plus hitter with average raw power, and those two tools together means he has some of the best offensive potential for a shortstop in all of baseball at this moment. Though he’s only an average runner, when that is combined with his hitting tools, he’s seen as an elite offensive player for an up-the-middle player.
Defensively, he’s come a long way, and while many thought he’d have to move off the position last summer, he’s made enough strides this spring to consider him a possible above-average defender with a plus arm. One of the major drawbacks about him is his signability, and even though he’s expected to sign without any reservations, his adviser is Scott Boras, and his bonus is expected to be well above slot, even in the first five picks, where he’s expected to go.”
From PNR Scouting:
Machado has a long and lanky build that bears a physical resemblance to Astros 2008 first-round pick Jiovanni Mier. Like Mier, Machado is athletic and graceful, giving him a chance to stay at shortstop as he adds strength and bulk.
Machado has a natural aptitude for hitting, employing an open stance and a controlled weight shift. He begins his swing with a wrap, but has the bat speed, balance through contact and level swing path to consistently produce line drives to all fields. He could hit for above-average power once he fills out his lean frame.
Machado is a solid bet to remain at his position in pro ball because of his fluid actions and sure glove. An average runner who should add weight, Machado projects to have just average range at shortstop, but his long legs, smooth footwork and advanced defensive instincts help him compensate for a lack of lateral quickness. Although he will occasionally field the ball too deeply, he has a strong throwing arm that would play at either position on the left side of the infield should a move to third base be required.
Machado has the tool set to become an offensive-minded shortstop. Even if he adds too much bulk to field his position adequately, he should hit enough to justify a move to third base, where his soft hands and strong throwing arm would make him a well above-average defender. Machado’s bat-to-ball ability and patience at the plate should allow him to hit for the average and power that major-league managers would expect out of their two-hole hitter.
Projected Position: SS/3B”
Machado and high-school right-hander Jameson Taillon were the two picks on the board after Harper, I think, with the former being a safer bet by virtue of not being a pitcher and the latter having the higher ceiling. Personally speaking, I generally favor a strategy of taking position players at the top of the draft and then loading up on arms later, though Taillon has enough potential that I would have chosen him if both were available. And though I think Machado is more likely to provide value, I think Taillon is more likely to reach his absolute ceiling (if that makes sense).
Keith Law thinks Machado will stick at short and that he has a chance to be a plus defender there, which is my main concern. A name I’ve heard as a comparison is Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar, who’s a career .296/.370/.413 hitter in the majors with a little above average defense at short. Machado is probably further away from the big leagues than is ideal for the current make-up of the team, but getting a shortstop who can hit into the system is nice. Then again, they could have drafted someone like Christian Colon who is more advanced (college) and more likely to make it to the majors as a shortstop, even if his bat isn’t doesn’t have the upside of Machado’s. (Not that I would have particularly liked that pick.)
It won’t be a cheap signing, but with the lower payroll this year and no #2 pick, the team has plenty of money to spend and they need to invest it into the draft for the best players available – both in the early rounds, as well as picking up talents who slide later on.