From the time he could pick up a bat and ball, Manny Machado was taught the fundamentals of baseball. To this day, he continues to apply those teachings to his every day game.
The game of baseball was implemented into Manny Machado’s life at such a young age. Despite Machado’s father not being around, father figures such as Manny’s grandfather and uncle were always there for him. When it comes to baseball, not only his uncle and grandfather, but Manny’s mother loved baseball just as much as he did.
Manny’s grandfather, Francisco, was very persistent about bunting when teaching his grandson how to play baseball the right way. After his games, Manny would come home and tell his grandfather about his performance. Manny tells us in his Players Tribune article:
“Psst … Abuelo … I went 2 for 4 tonight and I made a nice play in the field.”
“That’s great, Manny” he’d say. “Did you bunt? Did you practice your bunting today?”
“If you want to be a great baseball player and a professional one day, you have to know how to bunt. If you don’t know how to bunt, you’ll never make it to the major leagues.”
Entering his senior year baseball season in high school, Machado’s grandfather passed away. Manny was looking forward to seeing his grandfather up in the stands cheering him on. The two of them were as close as possible, and Manny played every single game in honor of him, and still does to this day.
To this day, before every game I play, when I take the field for the first time I bend down and draw the initials FN in the dirt.
Manny Machado was born in Miami, Florida July 7, 1992. Manny’s grandfather grew up in the Dominican Republic, in the city of La Vega. When Manny was young, his grandfather lived with him and his family in Hialeah, Florida. Manny’s grandfather, Francisco Nunez, had longed for his grandson to play baseball in the Dominican Republic, Francisco’s home country.
At the age of eighteen, Machado was given the opportunity to play for the United States U18 team in the Pan-Am games. The stars and stripes were a perfect 8-0 and won Gold. In his Players Tribune article, Machado tells us how excited he was to play for the Dominican national team. Not only was he able to represent the country, but his late grandfather as well.
Some of the best to ever play the game of baseball were born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Guys like Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Robinson Cano are just a few of the greats from the Dominican Republic. When I think about the country of the Dominican Republic, I think athletic and flashy. Not only are these guys having fun, but they’re damn good at what they do.
Flashy is the best way to describe these baseball players from the Dominican. Pedro Martinez was one of the best exciting guys in game in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. His powerful arm lead him to three Cy Young awards. Manny Machado is just one of the young stars that wears the pride of the Dominican Republic on his sleeve game in and game out.
After just a few years in the minors, Manny Machado first broke into the league in 2012 with the Orioles at the age of nineteen. During that first year of his, Machado slashed .262/.294/.445 in just 51 games. He returned for the following season with the Orioles and did not disappoint. At the age of twenty years old, the young rising star had a stellar season.
Machado appeared in 156 games, having his first All-Star worthy season. Manny finished 9th in the AL MVP voting and won his first Gold Glove at third base. In just his first full season, everyone knew that this was just the beginning of the best to come for this young star.
After seven strong seasons with Baltimore, Machado was the talk of baseball as trade deadline season approached. When the best players in the game met up for the mid-summer classic, there was more talk about Machado than there was about the other All-Stars.
As the All-Star festivities rolled on, there were reports coming out that Machado was heading to Los Angeles. During the All-Star game Ken Rosenthal tweeted this out, and it was a big one:
Can report with more certainty: Machado to #Dodgers happening. Among remaining questions, in addition to specifics of return beyond OF Yusniel Diaz: How much money, if any, #Orioles will send #Dodgers to secure a better package and help ease LAD’s luxury-tax concerns.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 18, 2018
The deal became official the following day, and Machado was a Dodger.
Machado notified. Deal is official.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 18, 2018
Heading into the 2010 MLB draft, there were other big names, such as Jameson Taillon and Bryce Harper. Both of those future young stars were chosen before Machado, who was picked 3rd overall by the Orioles. According to major league scouting bureau, this was the report they gave Machado:
The scouting report scales from 2-8. A two obviously being the lowest, and an eight being the highest of all praises as far as scouting reports go. Machado received nothing lower than a five and nothing higher than a seven. Not a bad report if you ask me. There are a total of ten different categories, ranging from power all the way to aggressiveness. Each category represents a grade for both past and future ability.
The two categories that stood out the most for me was Baseball Instinct and Hitting Ability.
Given a grade of a six in both the present and future for baseball instinct, Manny Machado deserves every single point of that. The scout describes him as “Smart player, knows the game”. As cliche as that may sound, that is a spot on description of Machado. The left side of the infield might be the busiest of all of the positions. Whether you’re playing the hot corner or deep at shortstop, the ball is going to find you.
Machado has played both shortstop and third baseball in his career, with the majority of his time spent at third base. Machado likes to play shortstop, but is stellar at both positions. In his seven seasons, he has totaled 717 games at third, and 152 at shortstop
While arm strength and range play a huge part in Machado’s game, his attentiveness and instinct are important as well. Knowing where to play and positioning yourself correctly plays a huge factor in the game of baseball. Baseball is a game of inches, to a certain extent, and Machado owns every inch of his area as a fielder.
Errors have come at a minimum in Machado’s career. Yes, obviously, it is impossible to be perfect in a game like this, but if anyone is near perfect, it is Manny Machado. In 102 appearances this season, Machado has only booted the ball eight times. His fielding percentage is .980.
When Manny Machado steps to the plate, you stop what you doing and you watch. His presence is not only intriguing but very, for a lack of better word, cocky. Not by any means am I going after Machado for being cocky, it’s just his style. Now he may not be Javy Baez when it comes to “swagger”, but he’ll sink the line, and as a baseball fan, you’re all over that hook.
The scouting bureau gave Machado a grade of five in present and a seven in future. The future grade pretty much nailed in right on the head. In his seven seasons as a major leaguer, he’s averaging .283 BA, .335 OBP, and .486 SLG. He has also slugged 162 home runs alongside 472 RBI’s.
My favorite Machado at-bat of all time came against the Dodgers last summer. With a 2-2 count, Maeda serves up a hanging curveball to the power-hitting Machado, at he takes advantage big time. The home run was measured at 453 feet.
Alongside hitters such as Matt Kemp and Max Muncy, Manny Machado will join the hot-hitting lineup. Dodger fans are very excited to welcome this young star to Los Angeles with open arms. Machado is just another reason why this Dodgers team can make another run at the World Series.
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