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Entries in Manny Machado (2)

Friday
May242013

Manny Machado: a Quick Study

Manny Machado was able to keep his head above water at the plate during his rookie season, posting a 98 OPS+ in 2012 despite barely being out of his teens and getting minimal at-bats above the A-Ball level. This year, Machado is crushing it. He's got a 136 OPS+, putting him in the same neighborhood as Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano and Pablo Sandoval. If he keeps raking like that, he'll hold the best OPS+ by a third-baseman during his age-20 season since Jimmie Foxx, who dabbled at the hot corner before settling in at first base.

How has Machado done it? Here's a closer look at his marked offensive improvement.

  • Machado's going after fewer junk pitches off the plate, lowering his chase rate from 31% as a rookie to 23% in 2013. That's well below the 27% big league average this season. Manny has cut his chase rate against low pitches in half, from 32% to 16%.

Machado's swing rate by pitch location, 2012

 

Machado's swing rate by pitch location, 2013

 

  • Machado hasn't just shortened his strike zone -- he has also connected much more often. As a rookie, his miss rate (25%) was higher than the MLB average (22%). But this season, he has whiffed just 17%. His biggest gain has come on inside pitches, with his miss rate falling from 24% to just 10%.

Machado's contact rate by pitch location, 2012

 

Machado's contact rate by pitch location, 2013

 

  • That extra contact on inside pitches has been loud. Machado has clubbed five homers and slugged .645 against inner-third offerings, which is 230 points above the MLB average (.415). Last year, he hit  two homers and slugged .406.
Friday
Aug102012

Manny Machado's MLB Debut

Manny Machado, the wunderkind recently ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the game by Baseball America, made his MLB debut last night at home against the Royals. Machado finished the night 2-for-4 with a triple, becoming the first 20-year-old to have a multi-hit game in his first big league game since Giancarlo Stanton in 2010. Here's a quick breakdown of how pitchers attacked Machado:

Machado's 1st AB

Royals lefty Will Smith started Machado off with a curveball that Machado took for a strike. After taking a fastball just off the outside corner, Machado grounded out on a middle-of-the-plate curve.

Machado's 2nd AB

Machado showed his youth -- and pure hitting ability -- in this AB.  He took an 88 MPH fastball down the middle for strike one, and then whiffed at curveball at the shoe tops. But Machado adjusted, drilling an outside curve to the right field gap for a sliding triple.

Machado's 3rd AB

Machado took a big hack at a borderline changeup from Smith and came up empty, then fouled off a fastball to fall behind 0-and-2. He took a high-and-tight fastball for a ball, then hit a squibber on an inside slider that rolled away from Smith for an infield single.

Machado's 4th AB

Machado took a 95 MPH from Jeremy Jeffress for strike one, checked his swing on a low-and-away slider to even the count and then flied out on a high-and-inside fastball.

While Machado is awfully young, the O's promoting him might not be as big of a rush job as it first appears.  He showed a mature plate approach at Double-A Bowie with a 48/70 K/BB ratio in 459 plate appearances, and his .266/.352/.438 line looks better once you consider that the Eastern League average is just .260/.331/.391 in 2012. He'll have some rough moments, as any 20-year-old facing a two-rung promotion to the majors would. But itt'l be fun seeing just what type of hitter Machado becomes as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 185 pound frame.