Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado with a great season
By Frank Pickel
This past week, Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers won Sporting News’ American League Comeback Player of the Year award today, with the Baltimore Orioles third baseman, Manny Machado, coming in fourth place. That is a huge accomplishment for a 23-year-old coming off of two knee surgeries.
The Top five AL comeback players of the year, as voted on by players, looks like this:
- Prince Fielder (112 votes)
- Alex Rodriguez (14 votes)
- Jason Kipnis (12 votes)
- Manny Machado (6 votes)
- Kendrys Morales (2 votes)
Machado became only the ninth Oriole to play 162 games in a single season and the only player in the majors to do so during the 2015 season. He ended the year with a .286 batting average, .359 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .502. He accomplished this while producing 34 homeruns, 86 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 102 runs scored. Machado now joins Brady Anderson as the second Oriole to ever accomplish a 30 homerun 20 stolen base season.
Machado started the season with a goal to play in all 162 games, which he met. Something he has not been able to do over his short time as a pro. His ability to do so resonated with Buck Showalter, the Orioles manager.
After the season was over Buck explained how he spoke with Machado about what it really means to play in 162 games. “I did tell him this: Whatever you do in your career — and it’s got a chance to be a great one — the thing that you’re going to reach back for and really be proud of, talk to your grandkids about, is playing 162 games. Because as we go forward in our game, that’s going to be very rare.”
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
It is easy to see that Showalter holds Machado to a very high esteem. Showalter openly stated that Machado should be considered for the AL MVP. Buck thinks that his all-star third baseman should be mentioned with the likes of Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson.
Even though both of these players have surpassed Machado in every major offensive statistic, besides consecutive games played, and Machado most likely will not be announced as the AL MVP in November, it is very clear how much the O’s manager values Manny.
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Although Machado was unable to obtain these accolades, it is good to know that his above average statistics are reinforced and acknowledged by the team’s manager.
Baseball has seen managers and players butt heads while still being able to succeed in the past. However, it isn’t the healthiest way to go about winning and a great example of this was nationally broadcasted as the World Series favorites choked in D.C.
It is nice to know that even though the O’s missed the playoffs, their manager has high hopes for his star athlete and if Baltimore can fill a few key roster spots, primarily in their starting rotation, they have a real shot to contend in the AL East next season. Especially when you can be positive A-Rod will not produce over 30 homeruns again, Toronto might lose one of their key pitchers in David Price to free agency, and the Red Sox struggles may continue to linger due to an aging Big Papi taking up a DH position and a team full of extremely young players.
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Machado may not have been the comeback player of the year, but he was the third best player in all of the American League, based on FanGraphs wins above replacement stat, with a 6.8 WAR, only trailing Trout (9.0) and Donaldson (8.7). Since Machado is not eligible for free agency until 2019 the O’s and their fans should be excited for 2016.