ANAHEIM, Calif. — Orioles manager Buck Showalter usually has an answer for most questions thrown his way, but he didn’t have a quick response for one interesting inquiry this weekend in Anaheim.
Before Saturday’s game, Showalter was asked why he believed Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, the team’s phenom 20-year-old third baseman, isn’t mentioned in the same breath as fellow young phenoms like the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Nationals’ Bryce Harper.
Showalter was stumped. He said he’d really have to think about it.
The easy answer is that Machado didn’t arrive in the big leagues until last August, and by that time, Trout and Harper had already established themselves as fixtures on contending teams.
Also, when the Orioles called up Machado last year, it was mainly to fill the team’s defensive need at third. He hit low in the batting order and the Orioles didn’t necessarily need his offense last season.
Obviously this season, his offense is blossoming while hitting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Machado hit his fifth homer of the season in the Orioles’ 8-4 win over the Angels on Sunday. It was his third homer in his past five games. Machado has hit safely in 20 of his last 25 games and has five homers, 20 RBIs and 19 runs over that span. He’s quickly becoming one of those guys you want to see at the plate in a big situation.
At the same time, he seems to impress more and more defensively every day at third base, making the difficult play look remarkably easy.
But on today’s off day -- and while I'll be spending most of the day flying back to the East Coast -- I'm going to throw the same question out to you: Why isn’t Manny Machado mentioned in the same breath as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper?
What do you think?