Just in case you forgot, the Baltimore Orioles will welcome back third baseman Manny Machado this afternoon when he’s activated from the DL prior the doubleheader today. I would suspect that Machado will sit one of the two games, although only Buck Showalter truly knows the answer to that. We all know Manny for the flashy plays at third with his glove, and for the stablizing force he is throughout the lineup. However in terms of numbers, what have the Baltimore Orioles been without since late last September, and what will they in effect be getting back as of just after 4 PM this afternoon?
At the big league level, Machado is a career .279 hitter with an OBP of .309. Some would argue that OBP needs to improve, and I might be the first one to agree with that. However let’s not forget that Machado is still a young kid, and in reality he’s played most of one season and a part of another in the big leagues. While he only homered six times in 2013, he drove in 59 doubles – which became his mojo in a sense at the plate. He also drew 29 walks last year, however let’s not forget that he was often hitting in the two-hole with Chris Davis behind him.
On defense, Machado is only a .972 career fielder. However the fact is that Machado’s range is not something that’s numerically measurable, and that’s really the biggest benefit of having him on the field. He’s able to get to balls that other players are not, which has earned him praise from both Orioles and “third base” royalty in that even Brooks Robinson is impressed by Machado’s prowess in the field.
So the question is whether or not he’ll be the same player that Orioles fans expect to see once he returns this afternoon. And the answer to that remains to be seen. Knock on wood, I’ve never had a serious knee injury so I can’t tell you what it does to overall mobility once it’s fully healed. However knowing how good modern medicine can be, I suspect that he should have full use of all of his “tools” when he gets back on the field. The other issue is whether or not he’s mentally ready, and again that’s something that remains to be seen. One has to hope that he doesn’t hesitate or turn his hustle down a knotch, and I suspect that Buck Showalter and his teammates will ensure that he’s in the right place when he takes the field for the first time.
Getting Manny Machado back is a big step in this Baltimore Orioles team being whole once again today. Unfortunately they did not anticipate Chris Davis being out, and of course the second base position is still a little unsettled. However the O’s are getting a big piece of their gold glove caliber infield back today, which one hopes will stablize things just a bit.