Manny Machado (3B-BAL)
After establishing himself as one of the best young third basemen in baseball, Manny Machado’s 2013 season ended gruesomely when he tore his medial patellofemoral ligament running to first base in a game against Tampa Bay in late September. He had surgery in October 2013 after which his recovery was estimated to be around four to six months. This places his status for spring training and Opening Day in jeopardy,
Machado impressively led the league with 51 doubles to go along with a solid .283 batting average, 14 home runs, and 71 RBI. The 21-year old All Star recently indicated that he has been cleared for some baseball activities including running, taking groundballs, and hitting against live pitching. But with his status for Opening Day unknown, he may slip a bit in fantasy drafts. This is especially true because he has sustained this knee injury twice in the past three years. Do not let that deter you from taking Machado in the midst of the second-tier third basemen.
The good news is that Machado has recognized a flaw in his stride which made his susceptible to this knee injury, so he is working on fixing the problem to avoid another recurrence. It bodes well for Machado's future being such a young player with the mental wherewithal to make adjustments like this. Of course we don't know how his hitting will be affected by such changes to his stride, but he has enough natural talent to overcome some initial adjustments. As he gets older, he will also become stronger which can turn some of those doubles into home runs. Also look for an improvement in his BB/K ratio (29/113) which was one of the only glaring holes in his game.