Jared was nice enough to showcase Manny with his wakeup blog yesterday, but it’s time you hear it from the your boy. Manny Machado is arguably the best player in baseball today. That isn’t a hot take or anything, it’s the truth. Ask anyone with a brain and a set of eyes, and they will tell you the same exact thing. You don’t realize what a special player he is until you get to watch him play every single day. He’s so young, and so good, it’s scary to think what the next step is for him. Before the conversation was all Trout and Harper, we have to include Manny in this conversation, because there is a good chance he belongs at the top of that list.
I’d be okay with someone saying Bryce Harper is better, I can swallow that pill. But I think the conversation is a lot closer than people think. Especially with teams now pitching around Harper and taking the bat out of his hand, you can do that against the Nats and guys like Ryan Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy. If you pitch around Manny you get to face Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Mark Trumbo, not very smart. Harper obviously has all the talent in the world, and then some, but I believe Manny edges him with the glove, Bryce is about equal, maybe a little scarier with the bat.
I’m not saying Mike Trout isn’t great either, because he is. But if you give me a choice between Trout or Machado, I’m taking Machado. We’ve seen what Trout can do, the highlight catches, the visits to #DongCity, AL MVP, All Star Game MVP, but his game does have flaws. He covers ground as well as I’ve ever seen, but his throwing arm isn’t that great, and he strikes out a ton. He’s an absolute stud, don’t get me wrong, but right now, Manny is a better player than Mike Trout. If we’re being honest, Trout playing on the west coast on a crappy team doesn’t help him either.
The only knock against Manny is what, the genetic issue in his knees? We all know the injuries he suffered, I’ve replayed them over and over again. But he’s proved that he is healthy by playing all 162 last year, and all 30 this season. That’s right, Manny Machado has the longest active game streak in the MLB, only 2,440 behind Cal’s.
But seriously, what can’t Manny do? His throwing arm is the absolute best in the game, as is his glove (Arenado is second). We’ve seen the plays at third that won him a Platinum Glove, and now due to the injury to J.J. Hardy at short, he’s making some great plays there. The best third baseman in the league is now the best shortstop in the league. He can make every play from the hot corner, deep in the hole, barehanded in front of the mound, there rarely is a ball he can’t grab, or a throw he can’t make. Literally, he flicks his wrist from foul ground, and the ball is on a frozen rope to Davis.
Last year Manny put on a show at the plate, putting up career highs in HR, Runs, RBIs, Walks, Stolen Bases, AVG, OBP, Slugging, and OPS, he was on another planet last year after coming off the knee injury. There is a good chance he has better numbers in all of these categories this season, he’s just playing on another level. It’s almost mid-May and he’s batting .425 with 7 bombs and 19 driven in at home. He’s also slugging .863 and has a OPS of 1.338 at home. These numbers are insane. Guys in scoring position? He’s batting .360 with 3 homers and 12 driven in. And if the bags are full, he’s 2-4 with 2 grand slams. Decent numbers. Overall, Manny is second in the A.L. in average (.350), tied for second in HR (9), tied for 8th in RBI (22), tied for fourth in runs (24), third in OBP (.403), first in slugging (.691), first in OPS (1.094), and first in hits (43).
If he stays at this pace, his numbers at the end of the season will be 232 hits, 130 runs, 81 doubles (!!!!!), 49 bombs, and 119 RBI. Obviously he won’t put up those numbers, but he will be close to some of those. He is the early front runner to win the MVP award, along with another Gold Glove.
As you can see in the chart at the top, Manny, Bryce, and Trout are pretty close in the categories. Manny leads in runs, hits, doubles, least amount of strikeouts, XBHs, average, slugging, OPS, and WAR. Harper leads in HR, RBI, BB, stolen bases, and OBP. Trout leads in triples. It’s insane to think that there are 3 guys with this amount of talent, all could be once in a generation players for their franchises, and we have them all playing baseball, entering their primes at the same time. Get him signed now Peter, empty the checkbook.
Tweet me your argument for who the best player is in baseball right now. I swear to god I’m blocking any moron who says Ortiz.