Machado MadnessThursday, August 09, 2012
And boom goes the dynamite.
Nevermind the ominous run differential, patchwork rotation or general existence of Wilson Betemit — the Orioles are going for this thing, and as well they should.
But recalling Manny Machado? That’s a power move, one with long-term ramifications, and questionable short-term benefits.
There’s no debating the heart of the matter — Machado is an elite prospect. The fifth best in baseball by Rotoworld’s estimation, third by Keith Law’s and ninth by Baseball America’s.
But he’s also extremely raw. Hitting .266/.350/.431 as a 19 (now 20) year old in Double-A isn’t easy, but it’s not tantamount to major-league readiness. The Orioles are also tinkering with one of the most fundamental aspects of Machado’s eliteness — his position. A shortstop by development, he’ll play third base down the stretch.
.266/.350/.431 hitting 19-year-old third basemen are impressive — .266/.350/.431 hitting 19-year-old shortstops are special. Machado will now lose over a month’s worth of defensive development at baseball’s toughest position, and will run the “risk” of getting entrenched at third in the bigs.
That is not to say Machado can’t/won’t be shifted back to shortstop with relatively little fuss in 2013, or that his 6-foot-3 frame won’t eventually become too big for short, anyways. But it’s still a potentially fateful decision for an organization that’s done extremely little winning in the 21st century.
And all that ignores the fact that Machado has handled all of seven career chances at third base. It’s unlikely he’ll be worse than the horror show Wilson Betemit has proven to be at the hot corner, but Machado’s glove certainly won’t be a slam dunk as he learns to handle smashes from the likes of Jose Bautista and Dustin Pedroia.
Nevertheless, the Orioles are going for it. Whether you, they, or most importantly, their 20-year-old meal ticket is ready, they’re going for it.
Jose Bautista’s MRI Reveals Only Inflammation
Alarm bells went off Tuesday when Bautista revealed he was still dealing with pain from the wrist injury he suffered on July 16, but an MRI revealed only inflammation.
It’s obviously not ideal that Bautista is still feeling soreness, but it’s soreness he should be able to rehab through. He has been cleared to resume hitting off a tee, and could begin taking dry swings as early as Monday.
Wrist injuries tend to be tricky, and the 53-57 Blue Jays have little incentive to rush their superstar third baseman, but it would be surprising if Bautista isn’t back before the end of the month to help with your fantasy playoff push.
Paul Konerko Has “Mild” Concussion
It’s not clear when Konerko suffered the “mild” injury (ask a football player about “mild” concussions), but it’s not a given the 36-year-old first baseman is headed to the seven-day disabled list. With the Sox off this afternoon, a final decision likely won’t be made until Friday morning.
If Konerko does indeed head to the shelf, he could return as early as next Wednesday in Toronto. A revelation in the first half, Konerko is hitting “just” .275/.337/.429 in 24 games since the All-Star break.
O’s Promote Dylan Bundy To Double-A
Manny Machado wasn’t the only Orioles prospect getting a promotion Wednesday. Bundy didn’t quite pillage High-A the way he did Standard-A (this isn’t a real term), but he dominated nonetheless, turning in a 2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 56/15 K/BB ratio over 49 innings.
On the record as wanting to reach the major leagues before his 20th birthday, Bundy will have an outside shot at doing so as a September call-up if he impresses in Double-A the way he did in his first two minor-league stops. But unlike Machado, Bundy is one Orioles prospect who’s unlikely to be rashly promoted. He’s trending toward next season’s Opening Day rotation, however.
Game Notes: In his second game back from the disabled list, Giancarlo Stanton took Chris Young deep for a pair of two-run homers. … Ryan Howard homered for the second straight game. … Dan Uggla had just his second three-hit night since June 6, driving in three runs in the process. He’s doubled in four of his seven August games. … Marco Scutaro went 3-for-6 with his third career grand slam and seven RBI as the Giants rained down justice upon the Cardinals. He now has 13 RBI in 12 games as a Giant. … Gio Gonzalez tossed his second career complete game, and also launched his first career home run. Yes, both still count even though they came against the Astros. … Matt Wieters and Neil Walker both drove in five runs. … Clayton Richard shut out the Cubs. … Zack Greinke got lit up for the second time in three starts as an Angel. … Josh Hamilton hit his 30th home run. … Ryan Vogelsong was quality for the 19th time in 21 starts.
Short Hops: Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) will make his first start since June 19 — and just his third start since May 17 — on Friday. The risk of a setback is high, but the reward of getting him back into your lineup is higher. … Brett Lawrie (oblique) sat out his fourth straight game Wednesday, and will miss his fifth straight this afternoon. He’s questionable for Friday. … Travis Hafner (back) could land on the disabled list this afternoon. … David Ortiz (Achilles) could return Sunday. … The owner of a 0.00 ERA in nine innings since the All-Star break, Heath Bell may soon resume closing games for the Marlins. … With only four starts to his name since July 27, Rafael Furcal received a pain-injection in his ailing back. It’s possible he won’t return before next week. … Furcal’s teammate Allen Craig is day-to-day with chest discomfort. He’s 50-50 to play this afternoon.