Now, I've talked about Manny on SOTB in the past. So, this may be a slight retread. But, even as he's begun his ascent to the level of Bryce and Trout, this still has to be said. Manny Machado is still somewhat underrated. I've got to ask "how?"
In an opinion piece on ESPN, the stat of Manny being responsible to 60 runs saved between 2012 and 2015 popped out as something astonishingly underreported (and something just straight-up astonishing). Yes, Manny is a third baseman and the players the Orioles had at third before he and, to a lesser extent, J.J. Hardy came onto the scene were, mostly, kind of those bargain bin players you pick up when you need to fill a roster spot. Seriously, why did the O's feel the need to bring in Miguel Tejada, technically, thrice? One time was good enough.
But, I digress. 60 runs saved, to bust out some older Baltimore colloquialisms, ain't no whore. Ain't no whore at all, yo. He out here sonning mufu--alright, lemme reign it in, stop showing my age, and say "That's frigging dope." That's on top of starting EVERY game last year and playing in less games, overall, than Trout and Harper.
Yep. Fanboy-like vibes aside, that's impressive any way you cut it. And that's before we get to the OTHER side of the ball.
Offensively, he's smacking the ball at a rate that, had he been in the 3-4-5 spot in the lineup last year, he'd probably have 100+ RBI and who knows how many home runs (I'd like to think he would've put up 40+, but 35 as a player who played a good chunk of his ABs in the leadoff position is still pretty damn legit). Machado, like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and other "GOATS in the Making," he's got some pretty solid plate discipline, can put the ball into play more often than just strike out, and he's got power to go along with percentage. For instance, through 13 games, Number 13 has hit in every single one of those games to own a .407 BA with five home runs thus far. This goes along with an increasing maturity from the 20-something O's stud.
Will he break The Streak and hit in 60 straight games? Will he end up with more homers than Chris Davis, Trout, or Harper? Could he be "The New Cal Ripken?" Eh, I don't know. It'd be amazing if he did/if he was. However, it's plain to see that Manny Machado is making it known that, if you're smart, you'll keep your eyes on him this season and beyond.
He's, if nothing else, The First Manny Machado (which is definitely nothing to scoff at). And through being such, he's made a niche for himself and has become the dark horse when it comes to debating him, Bryce and Trout. Pretty amazing in his own right, but doesn't have the buzz (for some reason) of some of the more well-known characters. But, like in racing, you don't ever want to count out the dark horse.
...man, this is gonna be a fun season.