Baltimore’s Future Dynamic Duo: Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy
August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
by Kevin Harrington
180 seconds. That’s the amount of time that stood between the MLB’s newest young star and his current team two years ago. When the Baltimore Orioles selected the top high school prospect in the 2010 MLB draft, they managed to agree on a $5.2 million contract bonus just three minutes before the midnight rookie signing deadline. If they had failed to agree to terms, the Scott Boras client would have been forced to re-enter the draft in 2011. This would have proven difficult for Manny Machado, as he had already missed the fall deadline to register for classes at Florida International University, his school of choice. However, the Orioles bit the bullet and agreed to give their new shortstop prospect the second-largest rookie signing bonus in team history with just moments to spare. After witnessing his debut week in the majors, I can only imagine the team was ecstatic with their decision as baseball’s premier infield prospect belted three home runs in his first four major league games
It was largely a surprise to see the 20 year-old Machado called up before he had even sniffed his first action in AAA, but he hasn’t disappointed. Due to the success of Orioles’ shortstop J.J. Hardy this season, Machado has seen all of his major league action so far at third base. Through his first seven games, he has three home runs, seven RBI’s, and has a hit in every game but one. If he can maintain the plate discipline and consistency that he is demonstrating in his debut, he should help Baltimore significantly during their pursuit of the Wild Card playoff spot in the AL. He has already shown that even if isn’t consistently hitting home runs, he is at the very least capable of periodical power surges in a short period of time.
While he is making plenty of Baltimore fans very happy, Machado isn’t the only elite prospect in Baltimore that could be making an impact during the team’s attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy may see his first major league action this September. Like Machado in 2010, Bundy was the first high school prospect drafted in the 2011 draft when the Orioles selected him fourth overall. As only a 19 year-old, Bundy simply dominated single A ball, throwing essentially a no-hitter over his first 13 innings pitched. He just won his first game in AA with the Bowie Baysox on August 14th and figures to continue pitching for them until MLB rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1st. If he can maintain his stellar strikeout to walk ratio and Baltimore remains in contention, the Orioles management has already shown with Machado that they don’t mind calling up young talent earlier than expected. Bundy projects as an eventual top of the rotation starter, so it is safe to assume that he has the potential to make a David Price-like rookie impression during a playoff pursuit and even the playoffs if the Orioles manage to clinch a spot.
Regardless of what happens this season, Baltimore’s two blue-chip prospects are rapidly making a name for themselves while letting Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper know that they won’t be the only dynamic duo in town for years to come.