No. 2 – Manny Machado (2012-2018) – 30.9 bWAR
Manny Machado is one of the most purely talented baseball players the Baltimore Orioles have ever had. His hit tool is outstanding, and he was an exceptional defensive third-baseman during his time in Baltimore.
Over Machado’s six and a half years with the Orioles, he posted a .283/.335/.487 slash line with 175 homers. He appeared in four All-Star games, won two Gold Glove awards, and finished top-5 in American League MVP voting twice.
From the time Machado was called up to Baltimore to the day he was traded in 2018, he was a superstar.
Machado hit a triple in his first career at-bat and followed it up with back-to-back home-runs the day after. He was a highlight reel at third-base, which isn’t actually his true defensive position.
Machado was drafted as a shortstop, but the Orioles had J.J. Hardy at the position when Machado broke into the majors. Hardy was a Gold Glove caliber defender up the middle, so the Orioles transitioned Machado to third-base, and he adapted to the new position very well.
Machado was one of the best hitters in the majors in 2015 and 2016. He fell off a bit two years ago, but returned to form in 2018, posting 5.7 bWAR and a 146 OPS+ between Baltimore and Los Angeles. Last year, Statcast had him in the 92nd percentile for average exit velocity, and the 94th percentile for hard-hit rate.
Many baseball fans have a problem with Machado’s attitude and work ethic, but nobody can deny the raw talent that Manny possesses.
He’s a premier free-agent right now and it’s curious why more teams aren’t vying for his services. We recently wrote about why Machado might be having a hard time finding work right now and how if his price drops significantly, how it might benefit the Orioles to bring Machado back.
Chances are that Machado will never return to Baltimore, but he’ll forever be remembered as one of the best Orioles players ever.