Thoughts on Machado, international scouting and Uehara

He may not have posted big stats this year when he played for the Single-A Frederick Keys, but Orioles 2010 top draft pick Manny Machado still made a big impression on his manager, Orlando Gomez, who enjoyed working with the 19-year-old shortstop.

“It’s been fun. You have to teach and be patient and let him know when you don’t like something. Try to keep his mind positive and let him see things he needs to do to keep improving,” Gomez said of Machado.

“He’s very level-headed. He gets along with everybody. Once in a while people think he is flashy but that’s the way he plays. He is very open to conversations and he listens.”

In 63 regular season games at Frederick, he hit .245 with 12 doubles, five homers, 26 RBIs and a .692 OPS after starting the year with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds.

“I think his stats have been fine,” Gomez said. “People can forget he’s only 19 and this is his first full season. He faced quality pitching in this league and he is making his adjustments.

“Defensively, he worked every day and he’s going to get better because he has a strong arm. On offense, his pitch selection once in a while was not the best. But he has good hands and good bat speed. He can sometimes overswing trying to hit home runs. But when he stays within himself and goes gap-to-gap, he is really good. The more he plays, he’ll continue to learn the strike zone and what to look for in different situations,” Gomez added.

Machado stepped up big as Frederick won the Carolina League championship. In nine playoff games, he hit .344 with four doubles, a homer, nine RBIs and a 1.010 OPS.

Baseball America recently ranked Machado as the No. 2 prospect in the South Atlantic League (behind Bryce Harper) and as the No. 1 prospect in the Carolina League.

Here’s a good question: What the heck is going on with Koji Uehara - or, as one national writer referred to him yesterday, “Koji Uehomer”?

In two years as a reliever for the Orioles, he pitched to an ERA of 2.27. Since his trade to Texas, his ERA was 4.00 in the regular season and it is now 6.05 counting the playoffs.

Uehara has allowed five runs and three homers in just 1 1/3 playoff innings for an ERA of 33.75.

In his two seasons in the O’s ‘pen, he did allow some homers, giving up 11 in 91 innings. But with Texas, he has now given up eight homers in just 19 1/3 innings, counting the postseason.

Uehara continues to be an amazing strike thrower. He has a 24-to-3 strikeout to walks ratio with the Rangers. With his struggles there, though, I guess he making the trade that brought Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis to Baltimore look better.

One final thought today. Here’s hoping the new Orioles president of baseball operations upgrades the club’s efforts in international scouting. There seems to be no doubt the team has made some minor upgrades there in the last year or two, but it still needs more in scouting and resources put into the international effort.

Manager Buck Showalter seems to be on board with upgrading here also. Not only does he seem to be a believer in acquiring talent from the Dominican, but also Venezuela.

That nation has produced some young talent on the O’s farm including pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and catcher Gabriel Lino, and that’s a good start in a country where the Orioles were nonexistent for several years.

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