Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick just spent three days with first-round pick Manny Machado, though two of them were abbreviated because of the Florida rain.
The weather didn’t dampen Bordick’s enthusiasm for the kid.
“I think the first impressions were great,” Bordick told me in a phone conversation last night. “He’s got a good attitude. He’s excited about being there. I think those first impressions have a big impact on how you approach these guys.
“It looked like he’s anxious to get out there, and that’s exciting for him and the organization.”
Especially when you hand out a $5.25 million signing bonus.
Bordick, the Orioles’ roving minor league offensive instructor, hit ground balls to Machado so he could get a good look at the young shortstop. He also watched Machado take batting practice.
“In the cage, the ball comes off his bat really well,” Bordick said. “He also has nice size. He’s still so young, the potential’s there for him to start filling out and maturing physically. I think that’s something to be really excited about.
“He moves around well in the field. He has a long stride there and covers a lot of ground defensively. And here’s a kid who probably didn’t do a lot over the last couple of months while waiting on the draft. He wasn’t playing.”
The rain finally let up during Bordick’s third day with Machado, “so we were able to get some work in,” he said. That meant a lot of running and ground balls.
“It’s going to be fun,” Bordick said. “You can see the potential there. The size, his body type, he’s just big. He’s one of those new-age shortstops that has good size, like Cal (Ripken) and Alex Rodriguez. I’m not comparing him to those guys, but when you get those body-types that are athletic enough to move around like he does, it’s exciting.
“I would have liked to have seen video of A-Rod when he came out of high school, just to see how tall he was and if he had filled out and stuff. You can tell this kid (Machado) just went through a growth spurt. He’s still a bit knock-kneed. It’s just a matter of physically growing into that body.
“Athletically, he’s got good hands, a good, strong arm and, obviously, good hand-eye coordination. When his body develops fully, geez, he could be something special. I think that’s what we’re all hoping for.”
Bordick said he initially wanted to get a feel for Machado by talking to him and learning more about him.
“He’s got a great personality,” Bordick said. “He wants to get out there and work and start playing. That’s exciting. He doesn’t seem to have any kind of ego problem or anything. He’s just eager to get on the field and play ball.”
Machado will get his first chance today with the Gulf Coast League team. He’s expected to serve as the designated hitter.
Bordick also came away impressed with fifth-round pick Conner Narron, who is starting out his professional career as a shortstop but will eventually change positions, and last year’s second-rounder, shortstop Mychal Givens, who also might have to shift at some point.
“They have real good attitudes and they want to get out there and they work hard,” Bordick said. “That’s one thing you look for. If they at least have a good work ethic and want to make themselves better, they will.”