There is no rule that would keep the Orioles from sending top draft pick Manny Machado to play in the Arizona Fall League.
But they are not going to do it.
Club sources indicate the O’s are not considering sending Machado to play in the AFL, even with the minor league seasons winding down as he is about to start up. It’s just too soon for that for an 18-year-old about to begin his pro career.
Machado is expected to wrap up with his physical in Baltimore this week and then head for Sarasota where he will join the O’s club in the Gulf Coast League. O’s scouting director Joe Jordan and director of player development John Stockstill are expected to be in Sarasota when Machado begins workouts with that team next week.
If and when Machado will get into any GCL games has not been determined yet.
Machado, and O’s fifth-round pick Conner Narron, who is currently playing in the Gulf League, are expected to join Aberdeen after the GCL season ends on August 28th. Aberdeen’s season runs through September 5th.
Meanwhile, UCLA pitcher Dan Klein, the Orioles third-round pick, has been activated by Aberdeen and could pitch in a game any day now.
Earlier there was some talk that Klein could join Frederick or Bowie in September for the playoffs. Now that seems unlikely.
The O’s seem to feel that would just not be a smart move. Klein hasn’t pitched in a game since the College World Series and they don’t want him to get into a playoff game and try to do too much too soon. He could feel the pressure to win for teammates who are out for a championship and try to overthrow or do too much and risk injury.
The club seems content to let Klein get in a few games and work a few innings out of the bullpen over the final weeks and then come back next year as a starting pitcher.
The O’s have not announced the final dollar figure they spent on signing bonuses for the draft this year, but estimates put their spending on 39 draft picks right around 9.2 million, perhaps just short of that. That would put the O’s about $500,000 over the 8.7 million spent on last year’s picks.