Thoughts on O’s selection of Machado
With the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the O’s have selected HS SS Manny Machado.
Probably unfairly, there are instantaneously positive and negative reviews of the selection to be found.
Critiquing draft-selections within the moment is basically a fruitless endeavor, especially in Baseball. Obviously the selections are all about potential future production, and multiple years and professional experience is required before a draft can be legitimately reviewed.
That said, the selection of Machado over College SS Christian Colon (who went 4th overall to Kansas City) is something that will be watched intently in the years to follow.
The O’s had their choice of the two, and clearly decided they projected-out Machado as the better talent. I think the likely argument that existed within the O’s Scouting Department was encapsulated by Harold Reynolds, and John Hart of the MLB Network.
Reynolds stated on the air that he had reviewed extensive tape of Machado, and graded him as the best talent overall in the draft, throwing out the seemingly inevitable Alex Rodriguez comparison. Hart talked about the polish of Colon, and compared him to Placido Polanco. To me the most interesting comment came from Hart as he said that Kansas City had selected a player that would play, and perform in the Majors.
Similar to last-year, I respect Joe Jordan and the O’s for selecting the player they identified as the best talent. Unlike last-year with Hobgood, Machado was a selection that surprised nobody, and his supporters are numerous. Still, I think that the comments from Hart were important to make.
As the O’s are at a financial disadvantage against the Yankees, and Red Sox, I am of the opinion that the O’s logically have less room for misses in the draft (also true with FA selections). If you come from that starting point, you should also believe in taking the player best likely to reach their potential. I think Colon (who had already shown an ability to exceed at a higher-level) is a better bet to reach his potential vs. Machado; even if Machado potentially has the higher overall ceiling.
The decision the O’s have made is that for them to beat their division foes, they need the best overall talent – and they graded Machado as the better player. It is easy to understand their rationale, now it is up to the O’s to get him signed as quickly as possible and added to the system. Once added to the system, their Player Development staff has to get him acclimated and primed to produce.
For an idea of how Machado might advance through the O’s system, I would look at the 1st overall selection of the 2008 Draft – SS Tim Beckham. Tampa was able to get Beckham signed quick enough after the 2008 Draft, that Beckham received a total of 183 professional at-bats that Summer in the Appalachian League (same as Bluefield with the O’s).
In 2009 Beckham started in the South Atlantic League (same as Delmarva with the O’s). In 491 at-bats at that level, Beckham had a .717 OPS. This included 116 K’s vs 34 walks.
In 2010, Beckham has advanced to the Florida State League (High A, same as Frederick with the O’s). The 20-year old is scuffling a bit with a .210 average in 167 at-bats. He is showing some power with 13 extra-base hits.
It would be foolish to say that Machado will follow the exact same path as Beckham, but I do believe it provides a certain level of expectation. If the O’s can get him signed quick enough, he can end this Summer gaining valuable experience with Bluefield or Aberdeen. To start 2011, he will likely be heading to Delmarva, with the hope of promotion to Frederick in 2012. If Machado advances to Bowie the following-year, he would likely be a 1/2 season of production away from possible promotion to Baltimore. If everything goes great, you are looking at a mid-2013 arrival for Machado. If there are any snags, you could be looking at some-time in 2014.
In comparison, you would expect Colon to follow a path more similar to the best College SS from the 2009 Draft – Grant Green. Green was selected 13th overall last year with Oakland and signed in-time to just play 5 games with Stockton (Class A, same as Frederick). Returning to Stockton this year, Green has a .772 OPS, with a .308 average, 20 extra-base hits in 240 at-bats.
With a .489 average in his last 10 games, Green is seemingly on the verge of a promotion to AA. If he tore-up AA in the 2nd-half, who knows he could even be a ML September call-up, or in position to make the A’s by next Spring. At a minimum, it is not hard to picture Green reaching the Majors by this time next-season.
Similarly, I could see Colon splitting 2011 at the High A, and AA levels and being positioned to make his big-league debut in late 2011 or by mid-season 2012.
When you lay it out like that, you see some of the decisions and choices the O’s were forced with tonight. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the years to come.
Below are links to some Scouting Reports on Machado:
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.
You can reach him via email at [email protected].