It’s a little late in the season to have the same amount of impact, but it looks like the Orioles are trying to catch lightning in a bottle just as the Angels and Nationals have done with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Word came down that on Thursday, the Orioles are promoting uber-prospect Manny Machado straight from Double-A to the majors. While he is a natural shortstop, he’ll be coming up to take over at third base, a veritable black hole for Baltimore right now, both offensively and defensively.
From a reality standpoint, it’s a great move for the team. They sit just 4.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and are currently tied with both Oakland and Detroit for the lead in the wild card race. It shows that they are committed to winning this year and are making a strong push to solidify their place in the playoff race. With Machado in at third, Wilson Betemit moves over to first which pushes the incredibly disappointing Mark Reynolds to the bench and likely part-time DH duty. Defensively, it’s a major upgrade and offensively, it pulls Reynolds’ .212 average out of the lineup. How much of an offensive upgrade will be determined by how Machado hits, but it seems like, at worst, it’s would be a lateral move. It’s pretty tough to hit worse than Reynolds right now.
This also could be a foreshadowing of a Dylan Bundy promotion in September. The Orioles top pitching prospect was promoted from High-A ball to Double-A on Wednesday and he will have time to make at least three starts before rosters expand. If he proves to be as dominant at Double-A as he was at the lower levels, then the O’s just might have themselves another strong arm for the post-season. It’s a move we’ve seen many clubs make, bringing up a highly-regarded pitcher who is a relative unknown to the competition. Remember when the Angels brought up Francisco Rodriguez at the end of the 2002 season?
From a fantasy standpoint, obviously this is big news for a lot of people that have been stashing Machado all season. His eligibility will likely begin at shortstop and after 10 games, will add third base, so roster flexibility is a plus. As hitter though, it would seem like we’re looking at a Starlin Castro type player with less speed. Machado doesn’t have a lot of power, but he’s a spray hitter with good bat speed and makes a ton of contact. He doesn’t strike out too often and has posted a decent walk rate during his time in the minors. But if you’re looking for home runs or stolen bases, you might be barking up the wrong tree here. He’s got 11 home runs in 459 plate appearances at Double-A this season which isn’t terrible for a middle infielder, but how that translates up at the major league level is a different story. We’d probably have a better idea if we saw him up against some Triple-A pitchers, but there have been guys who have made the jump before.
He’s definitely worth checking out though and if you have the opportunity to pick him up, you should at least give him a try. The upside is big and if you’re not cutting some superstar player for him, then the risk is pretty minimal. At worst, he struggles, doesn’t help your team and you bench him. At best, you’ve got yourself a rock solid hitter in the middle infield who can give you a sound two month push and help you win a championship. Low risk for a potentially high reward.
Now let’s hit the highlights from Wednesday….
|Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA||4-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
With a performance like this, just two games removed from an extended stay on the disabled list, there’s no doubt as to why Giancarlo Stanton is one of the more highly coveted players in the fantasy game. Despite missing a full month, Stanton now has 21 home runs and 21 doubles to go with his .290 average in just 283 at-bats. His .287 ISO mark is just ridiculous and at 22-years old, there’s probably still a little more power yet to come. If you’re making a run at your fantasy league’s championship and are just getting back Stanton, your power push should be huge. With a little under two months remaining in the season, you could still be looking at another 15 home runs and 30-40 RBI if he finishes the year strong.
|Marco Scutaro, SS, SF||3-6, R, 2B, HR, 7 RBI|
|Kendrys Morales, 1B, LAA||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Josh Hamilton, OF TEX||3-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI|
|Clayton Richard, SP SD||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 5 K|
|Jeremy Guthrie, SP KC||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 6 K|
I have to lead here with Jeremy Guthrie because if there was ever a time to use the “sun shining on a dog’s ass at least one” metaphor, it would be here. You’ve got to be kidding me. Someone get me Jeff Mans on the phone so I can berate him for his White Sox’ performance. Not only do you get beat by Guthrie, but you make him look like some Cy Young candidate in the process. Fantasy-wise, it’s a total waste as no one….and I mean no one….should have had him active. If you did, it’s because you’re in last right now and checked out about two months ago. You probably don’t even know he’s on your team.
On the flip side, Clayton Richard is one of those guys who makes for great pitcher streaming late in the year. When the match-up is right, this guy can put together one heck of a start. Case in point, these last two outings – both at home and both against struggling offenses. Would I start him next week against the Braves in Atlanta? Not with an 8.31 ERA in his last three starts there. But I’d bench him and use him for his next home appearance probably.
You think Marco Scutaro is enjoying his move to San Francisco? It looks like it. After Wednesday’s near-beast like performance, he is batting .347 with one home run and 13 RBI since coming over from Colorado. We probably shouldn’t expect days like this from him too often, but when they do come your way, how much of a fantasy bonus is that?
As for Kendrys Morales and Josh Hamilton, good job here guys. Now keep doing it for the remainder of the season and maybe….maybe….you’ll be deserving of some praise from me. Given your history and power capabilities, you’ve got a ways to go before you’re out of the doghouse.
|Josh Willingham, OF MIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Dustin Ackley, 2B SEA||0-5, 3K|
|Evan Longoria, 3B TB||0-4, 3 K|
|Anibal Sanchez, SP DET||L, 21.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 2 K|
|Kevin Millwood, SP SEA||L, 15.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 3 K|
What can you do? These things happen. But I do have to say that I’m most disappointed in the performance of Anibal Sanchez. Sure, few players are able to successfully transition to the AL, but with the ballpark dimensions you’d think it wouldn’t have been this bad. A 7.80 ERA with a 2.00 WHIP sonce crossing over is getting him cut in a lot of leagues right now.
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – concussion (questionable, but likely to land on 7-day DL)
Francisco Liriano, SP CHW – quad (questionable)
Alex Rios, OF CHW – back (questionable)
Travis Hafner, DH CLE – back (questionable)
Brendan Ryan, SS SEA – elbow (questionable)
Rafael Furcal, SS STL – back (questionable)
Mike Napoli, C TEX – quad (questionable)
Brett Lawrie, 3B TOR – rib (questionable)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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