2016 Orioles preview: Manny Machado

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With Opening Day only a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland
March 9 – Dariel Alvarez
March 10 – Brian Matusz
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Mychal Givens
March 13 – Ryan Flaherty
March 14 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 15 – Mark Trumbo
March 16 – Darren O’Day
March 18 – Pedro Alvarez
March 19 – Oliver Drake
March 20 – Mike Wright
March 21 – Zach Britton
March 22 – Caleb Joseph
March 23 – Dylan Bundy
March 24 – Christian Walker
March 25 – Chaz Roe

3B Manny Machado

Age: 23

Contract status: Under club control through the 2018 season

2015 stats: .286/.359/.502, 35 HR, 86 RBI, 102 R, 20 SB, 713 PA

Why to be impressed: The 2015 Gold Glove winner was the lone individual in the major leagues to play all 162 games and finished fourth in 2015 AL MVP voting. Machado set career bests in home runs, strikeout rate, walk rate, contact rate, and stolen bases and was 14 defensive runs saved above average at third base, an all-around season that established him as one of the best players in the game.

Why to be concerned: Machado could be asked to serve in the leadoff spot for the second straight year, a job he is more than capable of handling but one that stunts some of his run-producing potential. His durability in 2015 certainly quelled concerns about his two surgically-repaired knees, but that’s a factor that still lingers in the back of your mind for at least another season or two.

2016 outlook: You couldn’t ask for much more than what Machado did last season, but his young age makes you wonder if he’s capable of even better and his .297 batting average on balls in play suggests there wasn’t any luck involved. His home-run production from a year ago might be tough to match, but there’s no reason to think Machado can’t linger in the MVP conversation for years if he stays healthy.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: .294/.360/.487, 30 HR, 87 RBI, 98 R, 14 SB, 688 PA

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