The Orioles are promoting Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie, but that news is fairly small compared to the announcement the Orioles made tonight that they plan to promote shortstop Manny Machado to the major leagues tomorrow.
Machado, who turned 20 last month, was the third overall pick in the draft out of high school two years ago and has hit .266/.352/.438 in 109 games this season for Double-A Bowie. Machado has hit especially well lately. Since the all-star break, he's posted a .275/.365/.505 line with four homers, 11 walks and 15 strikeouts in 104 plate appearances.
There's plenty to be excited about with Machado, the No. 9 prospect in baseball. He's a potential all-star who earns future plus grades for both his hit tool and his power from scouts. He has a knack for putting the barrel to the ball, with the hand-eye coordination to make contact even if he gets caught out front against offspeed stuff. He may end up outgrowing shortstop as he continues to fill out, but he has the tools to handle the position for now.
Still, the decision to bring Machado to Baltimore is surprising. With 51 games left in the season, it's a small enough sample size that the range of outcomes for Machado the rest of the way is extremely wide. Machado has shown a tendency to get pull-conscious at times, but if he can maintain the approach he's shown recently hitting the ball to all fields, he may be able to hold his own. If not, he probably won't swing and miss too much, but it's fair to wonder what kind of immediate impact he can have considering he hasn't dominated the Eastern League for more than a brief stretch.
Machado's debut will be exciting, especially with the Orioles still in contention. The ceiling here is still a future star, but the immediate expectations just have to be tempered.
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