The Orioles have called up top prospect Manny Machado and my first and only reaction is “why?” Machado is just 19 and getting his first taste of AA this season. And with just a .358 wOBA at the level, it isn’t as if Machado is forcing Baltimore’s hand. Presumably the O’s think they can make a run at the playoffs. They’re currently tied for a wild card spot and trail the Yankees by just 4.5 games in the East. But Baltimore is seriously delusional if they think they’re going to be able to keep pace with their competitors. Their -47 run differential foretells an inevitable slide down the standings. Everyone one else in the running is well on the positive side of things in that department.
And it’s not any sort of guarantee that Machado will make the Orioles better right now. Word is that he’ll be playing 3B and there is speculation he could take ABs away from J.J. Hardy at short. At either position, he’ll likely be taking away ABs from a better player.
As @Ben_Duronio pointed out on Twitter, Wilson Betemit is pounding righties this year with a triple slash of .305/.359/.508 and a 133 wRC+ against them. If Machado takes any ABs against right handed pitchers away from Betemit at 3B, the Orioles have hurt their playoff chances.
And wouldn’t it be a better idea for Baltimore to hope Hardy’s BABIP luck bounces back for a couple of months rather than count on the absence of an adjustment period for Machado? Hardy’s batted ball profile and plate discipline numbers are very similar to what they were last year when he hit 30 homers and was an above average shortstop at the plate. But his BABIP is .236 and his HR/FB rate is 10.2% which is 5% lower than last year and a percentage point lower than his career average. There is certainly room for Hardy to bounce back and it seems more likely than Machado catching fire from the get-go.
If the plan was to use him at 2B where a combination of Omar Quintanilla and Robert Andino has been decidedly below average this year, it might make more sense. But that doesn’t appear to be the plan. So this move probably doesn’t help Baltimore’s playoff chances and could affect the development of their star prospect. Really a head scratcher of a move.
So if Baltimore is wrong to be calling up Machado, it would probably be wrong to add him in your fantasy league. Obviously if you’re in a dynasty league he should be owned, but if you’re in a dynasty league, he’s been owned for months. Even in keeper leagues Machado probably isn’t worth an add unless you play in a single league format. I assume there are very few mixed league keeper leagues where Machado will be worth keeping this year.
Maybe in the deepest of mixed leagues Machado is worth a flyer. In a 14 or 16-team league where someone like Mark Ellis or Jeff Keppinger might be the best middle infield options on the wire Machado is ownable. And obviously he’s worth an add in AL-only leagues. But for the lion’s share of people playing in 10 and 12 team mixed leagues, Machado probably isn’t going to make your team better. Middle infield guys like Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar, Kyle Seager, Alexi Amarista, and Jemile Weeks are all guys who should be able to help you pick up more roto points in the final two months.
Written by Brett Talley exclusively for thefantasyfix.com. Brett is a soon-to-be attorney in Dallas who says Mach-ay-do but assumes other fantasy analysts will say Mach-ah-do. You can follow him and/or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @therealTAL.