Manny Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft and the top prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization according to MLB.com, will join the parent club before Thursday’s game against Kansas City.
Rated No. 9 on Baseball America’s 2012 Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects List, the 20-year-old Machado has drawn comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez, who he works out with in the off-season. Baltimore selected Machado out of Brito Miami Private School.
The promotion represents a bold move for general manager Dan Duquette. Machado is in his first season at Double-A Bowie, hitting .266 with 11 home runs, 59 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .789 OPS in 402 at-bats.
J.J. Hardy has 16 home runs but a .229 average and a .660 OPS this season, but he is a defensively solid shortstop, so the Orioles plan to use Machado at third base, which is currently manned by Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds, both of whom are not known for their gloves.
Over three seasons in the minors, Machado has seen action at shortstop in 203 games while playing third base twice and filling the DH role three times.
Featuring plus bat speed, Machado is projected to hit for average and power when he improves his plate discipline. At Bowie, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed hitter has five triples, 26 doubles and a .352 on-base percentage to accompany his .266 average. He has exceptional range as a shortstop, and Duquette believes that Machado is an asset on defense at third base, too.
“Manny should be a plus-defender, wherever we play him. He’s a five-tool player, and he can help our team,” Duquette told MLB.com. “I think he improves our team, and it’s important here [for this club] to be strong.”
After their 9-2 win over Seattle on Wednesday, the Orioles are 60-51 and just 4.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East standings. They are also tied with Detroit and Oakland for the top wild card spot.