When I looked at a particular Manny Machado stat, I had to do a double take. But there it was staring back at me on my computer screen.
When he is hitting with runners in scoring position and two outs this year, Machado is batting .750. He is 6-for-8. But he doesn't just deliver clutch singles in those spots. He has a double, a triple and two homers along with 11 RBIs. That is good for an OPS of 2.653.
Turns out this kid is pretty good. Wonder how good he'll be after he turns 21?
In the seventh inning yesterday, Machado came to bat with the Orioles trailing Toronto 5-4. The count went to 0-2 and Nate McLouth stole second base. Another chance to drive in a runner in scoring position with two outs. But the count was already 0-2. Machado was able to work the count full and then ripped a triple - the Orioles' first this year - into right center to tie the game. Key spot, key hit and Camden Yards was rocking.
The night before Machado delivered a clutch two-run single against R.A. Dickey. Yep, that one also came with two outs.
On the year Machado is batting .276 with two homers, 14 RBIs and a .759 OPS. He had just one RBI his first seven games and now has 13 over the last 14 games.
By the way Machado also has strong numbers when batting with RISP overall, meaning not just when there are two down. He is 9-for-22 this year for an average of .409. He batted .367 last season with RISP.
His career average now with RISP is .380 (27-for-71) with an OPS of 1.070. Is there anything this kid can't do? Well he never struck out Adrian Gonzalez like Chris Davis did, but then again he's never gotten the chance. With that arm, he probably could.
I'll end this with a prediction: At some point, and it may be well, well down the road, a year or more, Machado will be the Orioles' shortstop. I hear some say he's so good at third that he should never be moved. With J.J. Hardy here, he won't be. But if, at some point, Hardy is not here and the O's need a shortstop, I see Manny moving back to his natural position. He can play the heck out of shortstop as I've seen him do with Single-A Delmarva, Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.
You can find more players to handle third base than short and Manny is a very strong defensive shortstop. You want to really see that arm in action? Watch the kid throw from the hole at short. Seen it and it's amazing.
Right now some of those batting stats are amazing and Machado is now a big factor for this team both in the field and at-bat. Especially when there are two outs.