When the All-Star Futures Game, featuring some of baseball's best prospects, is played tomorrow, there will be seven players on the U.S. roster that were teenagers when the calender turned to July. Three of those seven are ranked as top ten prospects and two of that trio are from the Orioles.
Pitcher Dylan Bundy, the 19-year-old O's 2011 first-round pick and shortstop Manny Machado, the O's 2010 top pick who turned 20 yesterday, will represent the Orioles in that game tomorrow in Kansas City.
"It's a huge honor and I'm blessed to have it and share it with Manny Machado. It should be pretty fun," Bundy told me this week.
"I expect it to be somewhat like the (Carolina League) All-Star Game I just played in, but now with guys all the way from Low-A to Triple-A. Prospects from all around the minor leagues. There will be a lot of talent there."
Bundy is 5-2 with an ERA of 1.87 in 15 starts this year between Single-A Delmarva and Single-A Frederick. Over 62 2/3 innings, he has walked 13 and fanned 74 batters with a .165 batting average against. This week, he was named baseball's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America in its mid-season top 50 rankings. Machado was No. 9.
Bundy and Machado do know each other and will get to renew that friendship at the game. Bundy remembers that he played against Machado a few years ago.
"I played against him twice when I was 16 years old in the Connie Mack World Series. I was 16 and he was 17 and it was a semifinal game and I think he ended up going 1-for-4 or 2-for-4 off me. We ended up winning 3-1," he said.
I asked Bundy about being ranked No. 1 by Baseball America.
"That is another honor to have and some people think highly of me. Now I have to go out and pitch like it," Bundy said.
Last July, Machado played in the Futures Game and he batted second at shortstop for a U.S. team that posted a 6-4 win. He started in a lineup that included Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Will Middlebrooks and Jason Kipnis. Machado went 0-for-2.
"Oh man, (I was) nervous at first, but once I got in the batter's box, everything went away. It was a good experience and I had fun. I'm excited to go back and really looking forward to it," Machado said.
"You're playing with the top players in the minor leagues and on ESPN so that kind of feels good. It's more fun and excitement than any pressure. You are happy to be part of that."
Machado is batting .264 with 21 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 48 RBIs for Double-A Bowie this year. He has an OPS of .765 in 84 games.
His bat has heated up in recent weeks and, in 32 games since June 1, he is batting .283 with five homers and 31 RBIs.
"Kind of look forward to seeing Nick Castellanos (of the Tigers) again. I played with him in south Florida and on Team USA together. And just meet the new players coming in."
Machado's recent batting tear has led to some rumblings that the Orioles might promote him to Triple-A soon. He said he hadn't heard that.
"No, there has not been any talk (of me moving up). I just play the game and they tell me to just do what I'm doing," he said.