When I talked to Orioles 2010 first-round draft pick Manny Machado this week, I asked him his reaction to being named baseball's 14th best prospect by Baseball America.
"It's an honor to be ranked that high, but I really don't look into the rankings. If I'm No. 1 or No. 100, I just want to give 110 percent and be the best at what I do," Machado said.
The 18-year-old shortstop from Miami is about to begin his first full season with the Orioles after playing nine games late last year.
The hype and expectations surrounding Machado are rather high right now. I asked him what expectations he had for himself during the 2011 season.
"My goal right now is maybe to hit over .300 with 15 bombs maybe. You know, mostly though, numbers don't really matter to me," he said. "If I do that, it's great, but in this first full season I just want to get through it with good numbers and have a good season."
Machado, who is expected to begin the year as Single-A Delmarva's shortstop, will face a lot of attention from fans and media just about anywhere he plays this year. But, he said in the clubhouse, he will try to be just another player.
"You just have to be humble with everyone. I'm a humble kid and don't look at the hype. Just stay humble, that's the main thing you have to do. I'm just another baseball player trying to get to the show, like everyone else," he said.
Machado told me he added about 10 pounds this winter to build some strength to help him handle the rigors of a long minor league season.
He has also gotten some advice about what to expect this year from two of his close friends: Miami-area players Steven Baron, a catcher in the Mariners system, and pitcher David Vidal of the Reds organization.
"I played with (David) in high school and we've been best friends since. He gave me something of what I should expect. I'm going in with some advice from these guys," Machado added.
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