Even though he hit just .219 his last 33 regular-season games with the Frederick Keys, Baseball America today named Manny Machado of the Orioles as the top prospect in the Carolina League.
Earlier Machado was named second-best prospect in the South Atlantic League. He started the 2011 season with Delmarva.
At Frederick, Machado elevated his game in the playoffs and drove in seven runs during Frederick's three games to one win in the league finals. He was named the championship series MVP.
Baseball America wrote this about Machado:
Machado didn't exactly set the Carolina League on fire, showing a little power and making the occasional spectacular play with his glove. That still did little to dissuade many who watched him from thinking that he'll end being quite special. One observer compared him to a puppy with big paws--he may be somewhat skinny and rangy right now, but one look at his massive feet gives a good indication that he'll be an imposing man one day.
When I saw Machado play several times late this season, two things became apparent to me. The hype about his talent is justified. Secondly, this kid can flat-out play shortstop and I don't see any reason he will need to change positions down the road.
When Machado was moved to Frederick on June 23, he was an 18-year-old. He turned 19 July 6. He and 19-year-old Jonathan Schoop formed a young, dynamic and talented double play duo.
Wherever that pair begins next season, whether it's Frederick or Bowie, I see no reason to split them up. Keep them together as a DP duo and let them grow together and push each along the way. They have become close friends.
There are people in the O's organization that think it's not a stretch for Machado and/or Schoop to be good enough to play for the Orioles by late next year.
Here is a listing of where Baseball America has ranked the O's prosepcts so far:
Gulf Coast League
#12 OF Roderick Bernadina
#18 LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
New York-Penn League
#10 RHP Parker Bridwell
#15 OF Glynn Davis
South Atlantic League
#2 SS Manny Machado
#9 2B Jonathan Schoop
#1 SS Manny Machado
#6 2B Jonathan Schoop
#15 RHP Bobby Bundy