During the course of a 162 game Major League Baseball season, many players, even the greatest, struggle to remain consistent throughout.
As a team, the Baltimore Orioles have seen many inconsistencies during the 2013 season. The Orioles starting rotation has failed to pitch deep into games for the majority of the season, at times the offense would collectively run cold resulting in defeats in one-run games, and their typically steady closer, Jim Johnson, has blown nine games — triple the amount he had in 2012.
But one player has remained consistent throughout and his name is Manny Machado.
Machado, the youngest Oriole on the roster at 21-years-old, is batting .299 —.351 with runners in scoring position — with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs entering Saturday’s games. He’s played in every game this season — only he and Adam Jones are the only two O’s to play in all 133 games.
Glancing at the list of league leaders, Machado won’t be found in the top ten of any of the Triple Crown categories. However, he does lead the majors in at-bats and, more impressively, doubles.
For the season Machado has hit 46 doubles, leading Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals by three.
Machado has shined brightest in the field. When the Orioles called him up last season from Double-A Bowie, a major concern was how the youngster would adjust to third base from his natural shortstop position.
This year it’s common to find Machado flashing the leather at the hot corner on highlight reels. Among third basemen, Machado has had the most total chances (417), nearly 40 more than the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez (379). His .976 fielding percentage is the fifth best among qualifying third basemen.
Though not among the league’s most elite batters, Machado has been dependable at Camden Yards in Baltimore and on the road.
In 67 games at home, Machado is batting .296 with five home runs and 34 RBIs, including 22 of his 46 two-baggers. In 66 games on the road, his average is .302 with seven homers and 31 RBIs.
As the Orioles continue their final push for the postseason, Machado’s consistency, both in the field and at the plate, will be an integral part of the team’s success.