Recently named Baseball America’s #5 top prospect, Manny Machado has the skills to become a cornerstone, franchise player that plays one of the most crucial positions in baseball: shortstop.
This season Machado has been tested at higher levels and is currently playing in the Carolina League where he’s four years younger than the average player. Before injuring his knee in May he was showing all the tools you would expect, hitting for both contact and power.
The knee injury healed and when he returned to game action he began to struggle. Despite his struggles at Delmarva after returning from the injury, he was promoted to Frederick where he has yet to get back on track. There is no reason to run for the hills because he simply needs to repetitions to adjust in the increase quality of pitching.
As you can see in the video he is swinging at pitchers’ pitches. Once he allows the game to come to him and presses less at the plate, he should go back to playing like the prospect that will make fans think another cornerstone piece is on his way to Baltimore.
He has a solid, balanced stance with good knee flexion and is in an athletic position to generate power. He starts his swing by drawing his body back only slightly, but notice that his hands do not trail with the body. He moves his hands up slightly, keeping a nice rhythm that doesn’t pose timing concerns — something special to see out of someone so young.
He shows very little wasted motion out of the loading phase and his swing starts out on the right foot. He keeps his arms in tight and inline to form proper foundation for power; this helps create a compact swing that will allow him to control the bat head and the zone.
He shows great bat speed and combined with the compact swing and patient approach, will give him the ability to sit on pitches a split second longer. He will only improve his strike zone discipline as he continues to adjust to better pitching.
His swing is solid, uplifting and that of a typical dual threat hitter. There is a tiny bit of lag between the upper half and lower half, but that torque is something you want to see at this stage. He clearly has line drive/gap power, but the improved strength and torque generated in his swing suggest that he could be a special player with power to all fields.
His lower half starts out on solid foundation as he rocks back ever so slightly with a little height in the leg kick. The leg kick provides a tremendous amount of force forward with surprisingly little effort. Machado shows solid weight transfer at extension, getting everything out of his body into the swing.
He has an exaggerated rolled ankle with the front foot, and drag with the back foot — all within a solid lower frame. His swing showcases a solid turn attacking at and through the ball, extending into a tremendous follow through.
I have no doubt that Machado has the skills to be a high average hitter with good power numbers. Once he masters pitch recognition and learns to adjust to pitchers, he will become a player that brings fear when he steps up into the batter’s box.