Original article link: EL Notes – Machado enjoys the moment, by David Driver
A former first-round pick out of a Florida high school, Machado has had his share of growing pains during the first two months of the season. He’s hit .143 in his last 10 games entering a home series with Portland on Tuesday, but Machado hasn’t allowed his age to be an excuse.
“Age doesn’t put pressure on me,” Machado said. “Everybody is here for one goal — to make it to the big leagues. I don’t put pressure on myself being 19 years of age.”
Machado, who turns 20 on July 6, was a first-round pick of the Orioles in 2010 and was the first shortstop drafted in the opening round by Baltimore since Rich Dauer was taken out of Southern California in 1974. (Cal Ripken Jr. was a second-round pick in 1978.)
Machado began last year at Delmarva in the South Atlantic League, then was promoted to Class A Advanced Frederick of the Carolina League during the season. Machado began this year as the No. 3 prospect in baseball after hitting 11 homers with 50 RBIs with two teams in 2011.
In his first 59 games with Bowie, Machado is hitting .234 with 15 doubles, two triples, three homers and 18 RBIs. He has an OBP of .331 and OPS of .695.
“Obviously there are much better pitchers here and better prospects,” he said. “They’re at Double-A for a reason. It’s an adjustment I need to make. I’m just going up there and having fun and taking some hacks.”
In the field he has made 15 errors this season and has also made two starts at third base.
“He’s not going to get a hit every day,” said Gary Kendall, the Bowie manager. “I like his play at shortstop. Errors are going to happen. He is doing fine here, and he will get better.”
Machado and Harper were both at the South Atlantic League All-Star game last season at the home of the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Md. Like Harper, Machado has a boyish enthusiasm for the game.
“It’s been really great. I am just enjoying the moment, playing baseball every day and just enjoying it,” he said.
Machado grew up a fan of Alex Rodriguez, another Miami-area product, and has worked out with the Yankees slugger in the past during the winter.
The 6-foot-3 Machado, since being drafted, has played in the Gulf Coast League and in the Maryland towns of Aberdeen, Salisbury, Frederick and now Bowie.
“I love the fans. They give me respect and come out here and cheer,” he said. “They love the sport.”
So what will it take to make the Majors in Baltimore?
“Be consistent with everything that I do: base running, fielding, hitting. That’s what I am trying to do,” he said.
Filed under: 2012: USA Minor League Player Updates