The Process Versus Manny Machado | The Process Report

The Process Versus Manny Machado

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, not old enough to legally drink alcohol, made the leap last season from Double-A to the big-league playoffs within a span of a few months. The Florida product was not perfect upon promotion—he compiled a slash line of .262/.294/.445—but he flashed all the tools in his box; most notably the impressive right-handed power that landed him in the history books as the second-youngest player to hit a home run in the postseason.

Though he could shift back to his natural position at some point (shortstop), Machado will man the hot corner for the O’s when they invade Tropicana Field to start the 2013 regular season. And for the better part of the next decade—if not longer—he profiles as an impact bat in the middle of Baltimore’s order. Beginning on Tuesday, it will be a task of David Price and the Tampa Bay staff to avoid being burnt by the future superstar.

The first thing you will notice from watching Machado is his bat speed. His bat glides through the zone with an ease and quickness that does not come stock-equipped on most 20-year-olds. His hands are his best asset, and he has the ability to hit 20-plus home runs now. He has additional room on his 6-foot-3 frame to fill out. In addition to power, Machado showed good place coverage going east to west. He split his 50 hits evenly between pitches located on the outer and inner halves. The bulk of his power comes to his pull side, and 12 of his 18 extra-base hits came off inside pitches. Defensively, the Rays may employ an over-shift on the left side of the infield.

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Machado comes advertised as a good fastball hitter. In reality, he hit anything that looked like fastball well in his first taste of big-league action including changeups and cutters. On the other hand, he sometimes struggled on pitches with a hump. A good breaking ball located down in the zone—especially with two strikes—proved to be a problem for him, as he continues to adjust to big-league-caliber secondary stuff.

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As a minor leaguer, Machado showed a good understanding of the strike zone. Upon promotion, however, he walked just nine times in 202 plate appearances. He expanded his zone with two strikes and chased a fair amount of pitches that should have been taken for balls. Until he proves otherwise, the Rays should put a emphasis on breaking balls down and away. But be careful—failed execution could lead to the ball landing deep in section 141.

Stats and visualizations courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info



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