Stats & Info: Manny Machado

Machado stays hot, hits walk-off HR

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
1:13
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ESPN Stats & InformationManny Machado's walk-off home run Tuesday came on a curveball down in the zone.
Manny Machado
Machado
Manny Machado's first career walk-off home run helped the Baltimore Orioles outlast the Los Angeles Angels in extra innings in Tuesday's 7-6 win.

Facing the Angels’ Cory Rasmus, Machado faced three straight sliders – a ball and two called strikes.

Behind in the count, Machado sent the next pitch -- a curveball down in the zone -- 397 feet to left field for the game-winning run and his second career walk-off hit.

Machado's batted only slightly better than league average on pitches down in the zone this season (.252; MLB average entering Tuesday, .242), but seven of his 11 home runs this season have come on pitches in that location.

That continued a recent trend for Machado as this was his third home run off an off-speed pitch this month. He had just one before July.

Against off-speed pitches, Machado has batted .333 with a 1.074 OPS this month. Entering July, Machado batted just .212 with a .500 OPS against off-speed pitches.

Overall, Machado has returned to form since returning from a five-game suspension on July 5. Since then he's batting .373 with four home runs, including Tuesday's walk-off winner. In 54 games prior to the suspension Machado was hitting just .239.

Machado joined Matt Wieters (May 1) and Chris Davis (June 23) as Orioles with walk-off home runs this season.

The walk-off win was the Orioles’ eighth of the season; only the Pittsburgh Pirates have more (nine).

Manny happy returns: Machado gets results

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
12:17
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Manny Machado owned the inner half of the plate Monday night.
Though Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is perceived to be struggling this season, he is still hitting the ball as hard as he did in 2013.

The hits are now starting to come for him.

The 22-year-old Machado had a career-high five hits in the Orioles' extra-innings win over the Washington Nationals on Monday night. Machado is the youngest Orioles player with five hits in a game since 21-year-old Cal Ripken Jr. had five against the Texas Rangers in 1982.

Machado had one of three home runs in the 11th inning for the Orioles, giving him four home runs in his last seven games. He totaled four home runs in his first 50 games this season.

His batting average dipped to .218 on June 11 after five straight hitless games (and an incident in which he threw a bat, resulting in a suspension). Since then, he is hitting .337 to raise his season batting average to its current .261.

Machado has hit the ball hard in 19 percent of his at-bats this season. (Hard-hit balls are determined by a video-review service, used by major league teams, that rates batted balls as hard-hit, medium-hit or soft-hit, based on specific criteria such as velocity and sweet-spot contact.) Last season, he finished with a 14 percent hard-hit rate.

But Machado’s batting average on balls in play is .289, down from .322 last season, indicating that he may be the victim of some bad batted-ball luck, as his ground-ball rate has remained the same and his line-drive rate has risen.

How he has hit
On Monday, Machado saw 12 pitches on the inner half of the plate (or off the inside corner) and pounded four of his five hits against them, including the home run.

Machado’s .283/.322/.496 slashline against pitches on the inner half in 2014 is a near match for his .281/.317/.481 slashline against those pitches a season ago.

The difference in his performance comes in his numbers against pitches on the outer half (or off the outside corner), and here might be where some of the bad luck comes into play.

Machado had 55 line drives against outer-half pitches last season and had 44 base hits. This season, he has had 29 line drives against pitches to that area but netted only 14 base hits.

Elias Sports Bureau: Did You Know?
This marked the first time in Orioles history that they hit three home runs in a single extra inning.

The loss by the Nationals was their ninth straight extra-inning home loss. The only franchise with a longer home extra-inning losing streak in the past 35 seasons is the Atlanta Braves, who lost 10 straight such games from 1989 to 1990.

Top stats to know: 2013 Gold Glove Awards

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
9:03
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USA TODAY Sports/Getty ImagesYadier Molina and Dustin Pedroia have Gold Gloves to go along with a World Series appearance.

The Gold Glove Awards were announced on Tuesday, with this year’s field featuring a nearly even mix of first-time honorees and repeat winners.

For the first time, a statistical component factored into the voting -- the SABR Defensive Index accounted for 25 percent of the vote. The remaining votes came from major league managers and coaches.

Royals, Orioles take home the most Gold
The Royals and Orioles each won three Gold Glove Awards. First-time winners Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer joined Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who won his third straight.

Manny Machado, who led the majors in Web Gems at third base, joined repeat winners J.J. Hardy at shortstop and Adam Jones at center field for the Orioles.

With a statistical component comprising part of this year’s vote, Jones wasn’t necessarily expected to win this year. He was the only Gold Glove winner with a negative defensive runs saved total for the season, but he passed the eye test, garnering enough votes to beat out Lorenzo Cain of the Royals and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox.

Another one for Molina
Yadier Molina became the fourth catcher to win six straight Gold Gloves, joining Ivan Rodriguez (13), Johnny Bench (10), Bob Boone (7) and Jim Sundberg (6).

Molina’s current streak is the best for an NL catcher since Bench won 10 in a row from 1968 to 1977.

Molina’s teammate, pitcher Adam Wainwright, won his second Gold Glove. They are the second pitcher-catcher combo to win the Gold Glove together more than once. The other is Kenny Rogers and Rodriguez, who won as teammates in 2000 and 2006.

Victorino, Phillips win again
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino and Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips each won their fourth Gold Gloves.

Victorino, who had won three previous times with the Phillies as a center fielder, joined second baseman Dustin Pedroia as Red Sox winners. Victorino finished with a major league-best 23 defensive runs saved in right field, the highest total in any season in his career.

Phillips has won the award four times in six seasons. His four wins are one shy of Hall of Famer Joe Morgan for the most by a Reds second baseman.

New winners becoming a tradition
The corner infield spots in the National League were won by a pair of first-timers: Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Goldschmidt is the NL’s fifth different winner in the last five years at first base. Arenado is the sixth different winner in six years at the hot corner.

It’s been a long time
Some notable droughts were broken with Tuesday’s awards. Among them:

Perez became the first Royals catcher to win a Gold Glove since Bob Boone in 1989.

Hosmer became the first Royals first baseman to win a Gold Glove. Hosmer beat out a field that in past years would have been led by Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez. With Teixeira and Pujols injured and Gonzalez now in the National League, the field was wide open at that position.

Machado became the first Orioles third baseman to win a Gold Glove since Brooks Robinson in 1975.

Andrelton Simmons became the first Braves shortstop to win a Gold Glove and the first Braves infielder to win one since Terry Pendleton in 1992.

Carlos Gomez became the first Brewer to win a Gold Glove since Robin Yount in 1982 and the first Brewers outfielder to win one since Sixto Lezcano in 1979. Gomez led the majors with five home run robberies. No other player had more than two.

Kernels: 2B ... or not 2B (lots of doubles!)

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
9:41
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Back in June we did a whole post on triples. So it's only fitting that we also devote one to interesting and unusual stats about the week in doubles before the season's out.

• In a week with several more high-scoring games, two teams-- the Houston Astros on Tuesday and the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday-- each hit eight doubles in a game to tie the big-league season high. It was the first time Houston had eight two-baggers in a game in a decade (September 12, 2003 versus Atlanta), and just the second time any team had done it at Safeco Field (the Twins on April 17, 2007).

• In addition to hitting two of those doubles, Jose Altuve also stole three bases, including two swipes of third. Only 10 players in the past 50 years have had two doubles and three steals in a game; the others include Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Joe Carter, Tim Raines and Lou Brock.

• That Wednesday game for the Athletics was a lopsided 18-3 win over the Minnesota Twins that saw Oakland's first double-digit inning since June 18, 2000. (It was also the first score of exactly 18 this season, filling in every number from 0 to 20.) The Athletics became the first team to hit eight doubles in Target Field's four-season history. The Orioles, earlier this season, had been the only team to hit seven.

• Robinson Cano of the Yankees, on Friday, was one of three players this week to have three doubles in one game. Cano has had four three-double games for the Yankees, the first being May 30, 2007. Since then only two other Yankees have even done it once: Jorge Posada in 2008 and Mark Teixeira in 2011.

• Twins catcher Josmil Pinto has made the most of his September callup; he had seven hits in his first 10 at-bats and is still hitting ,405 over his 11-game major-league career. In Monday's win over the Angels, Pinto became the first Minnesota hitter with three doubles since another catcher, Joe Mauer, in August 2009.

Pinto also became the first player with a three-double game in his first 10 career appearances since Nick Evans of the Mets did it in his debut on May 24, 2008. The only other catcher in the live-ball era with that distinction is Tim Spehr of the Royals (July 28, 1991).

• Mark Trumbo of the Angels also hit three doubles in Tuesday's win over Toronto. He added a homer and a single for his first career five-hit game. He's just the second batter in Angels history with a homer and three doubles in a game. Juan Rivera in September 2008 was the other.

Behind cleanup hitter Trumbo, Josh Hamilton and Chris Iannetta also each had three hits with at least one homer and two RBI in that game. They're the first 4-5-6 hitters to do that in the same game since Brian Jordan, John Mabry, and Gary Gaetti teamed up for the Cardinals against the Cubs on July 12, 1996.

Thanks to hits behind him, Trumbo also scored on all five trips around the bases. Only two other players in the live-ball era have posted a homer, three doubles, and five runs scored in one game. They are Dodger great Steve Garvey (1977) and HOF'er Willie Stargell for the Pirates in a 20-10 outburst against the Braves on August 1, 1970.

• Two players on Saturday reached the 50-double plateau for the season. Manny Machado of the Orioles now stands six shy of the team record of 56, set by Brian Roberts in 2009. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter won't approach Joe Medwick's mark of 64 in 1936, but he has joined some elite company. Since the team joined the NL in 1892, the only other Cardinals with 50 doubles in a season are Medwick, Enos Slaughter, Albert Pujols, and Stan Musial.

And Machado's teammate, Chris Davis, hit his 50th home run on Friday night to tie franchise record owned by Brady Anderson. But Davis also hit his 40th and 41st doubles this week, becoming just the third hitter ever to have a season with 50 homers and 40 doubles. The others are Albert Belle (1995) and Babe Ruth (1921).

Records in play as second half starts

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
9:44
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AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyChris Davis had a prodigious first half, and he isn't the only player looking to rewrite the record book.
After four days off, all 30 MLB teams are back on the diamond on Friday. We get you ready for the key statistical storylines for the season’s second half.

WILL DAVIS CONTINUE TO CRUSH?
Chris Davis has had a career year –- and the season isn’t even 100 games old yet. Davis begins his unofficial second half with 37 home runs, 93 RBI and a .315 batting average.

Who else has hit those thresholds in their team’s first 96 games? The list is short -- only Babe Ruth (1921 and 1928) and Jimmie Foxx (1932).

He is on pace to hit 62 home runs, which would break the American League record of 61 by Roger Maris in 1961. And with 64 extra-base hits so far he could threaten Babe Ruth’s record of 119 in 1921.

CAN CABRERA TRIPLE HIS PLEASURE AGAIN?
Davis isn’t the only player tearing things up in the AL. Miguel Cabrera is first in the league with a .365 average and 95 RBI and trails only Davis with 30 home runs.

Entering this season, the only player to finish in the top five in each Triple Crown category a year after winning the Triple Crown was Frank Robinson in 1967. Only four players have led the league in any triple-crown category while defending the Triple Crown, and none have led more than one the following year.

WHAT OTHER SINGLE-SEASON MARKS ARE WITHIN REACH?
•  Manny Machado has 39 doubles at the break, the most since Edgar Martinez had 42 in 1996. On his current pace, he’ll threaten Earl Webb’s record of 67 two-baggers in 1931. No player has hit 60 doubles in a season since 1936.

•  Raul Ibanez has discovered the fountain of youth. Ibanez has hit 24 home runs this season and only needs six more to pass the 29 that Ted Williams hit in 1960 for the most by a player aged 41 or over.

•  Clayton Kershaw entered the break with a 1.98 ERA. The last pitcher to post an ERA below 2.00 for a full season was Roger Clemens in 2005. The only Dodgers pitcher to do so since the club moved to Los Angeles was Sandy Koufax, who did so three times.

•  So far this season, 19.75 percent of plate appearances have ended in a strikeout. That’s the most ever before the All-Star break, and just a fraction below last year’s full-season record of 19.78 percent.

MILESTONE WATCH
•  Derek Jeter is 10th on the all-time hit list with 3,305 career hits, but should surpass Eddie Collins (3,313) and Paul Molitor (3,319) to move into eighth place before the season ends.

Jeter could also move into the Top 10 all-time in runs scored. He has touched home 1,869 times in his career, 19 behind Lou Gehrig for 10th all-time and 29 behind teammate Alex Rodriguez for ninth.

•  His power hasn’t been as prodigious since joining the Los Angeles Angels, but Albert Pujols is still climbing up the all-time home run list. He needs 10 home runs in the second half to become the 26th player in major-league history with 500 home runs.

Inside the at-bat: Jones vs  Rivera

July, 7, 2013
7/07/13
9:13
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The New York Yankees were two outs away from winning their seventh straight game and sweeping the Baltimore Orioles.

But Adam Jones, who has had a penchant for hitting big home runs the last two seasons, hit one of his team's most notable homer in 2013, a two-run game-winner off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Let's take a closer look at the home run.

The rarity of the home run
The home run marked the sixth time in his career that Rivera allowed a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later with his team winning at the time.

But it’s only the second time that a player hit such a home run in Yankee Stadium. The other was hit by Bengie Molina of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2004.

Rivera had his streak of 41 straight save conversions at Yankee Stadium snapped. That’s an impressive run, though it’s not his longest save-conversion streak at Yankee Stadium.

His longest is tied with Eric Gagne for the longest of all-time, a 51-save streak from 2007 to 2010.

Breaking down the matchup
Jones’ go-ahead HR off Mariano Rivera came on a 93 mph fastball.

It was only the third homer that Rivera has allowed on a pitch of 93 mph or faster over the last five seasons, the first since one by Reed Johnson of the Chicago Cubs on June 18, 2011.

The homer came on an inside pitch, Jones' eighth homer homer this season on a pitch on the inner third of the plate or further inside. Only two AL players have hit more homers on inside pitches: Mark Trumbo (11) and Miguel Cabrera (10).

Right-handed hitters have a .695 OPS against Rivera this season, 168 points higher than what they had against him from 2009 to 2012 (albeit in a much smaller sample).

The other big AB
Right before Jones homered, Nick Markakis reached by singling on an 0-2 pitch.

Rivera tried to freeze Markakis with a fastball on the outside corner of the knees, but got too much plate with it and Markakis whacked it into center field.

Markakis is 7-for-20 (.350 batting average) for his career against Rivera. That's 10th-best among those hitters with at least 15 at-bats against the Yankees' closer (combining regular season and postseason).

Edgar Martinez has the best batting average against Rivera-- .579.

Other notables from the game
There were a couple of other notable things to happen in this game.

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda returned from injury and allowed no runs in seven innings.

Kuroda is tied with Clayton Kershaw and Justin Masterson for the major-league lead in starts of seven innings or more with no runs allowed with five.

And Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made one of the strongest throws of the season, from way out on the grass in foul territory to throw out Luis Cruz.

It netted Machado his 10th "Baseball Tonight" Web Gem of the season. That's the most in the major leagues, two ahead of Brandon Phillips and Alcides Escobar.

The Orioles are tied for the major-league lead in Web Gems with the Kansas City Royals with 24.

Did You Know?
Rivera blew a save against the Orioles for the ninth time in his career, the most by any pitcher against Baltimore. But keep in mind that his 76 saves against the Orioles are 40 more than any other pitcher and his most versus any opponent.

Jones is the third Orioles player to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later against the Yankees with his team trailing at the time. The others to do so since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954 are Don Buford (1968) and Brady Anderson (1995).

Jones also leads the majors in go-ahead homers in the ninth inning or later over the last two seasons with five.

Top stats to know: Selection storylines

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
9:41
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Let’s take a look at some of the notable storylines from All-Star Selection Saturday as both leagues announced their rosters for the Midsummer Classic.

Youngsters take center stage
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was elected as an NL starter and will be the youngest player to start for the National League. Harper will be the first position player to play in two All-Star Games before turning 21.

In the American League, Mike Trout will be the youngest player in Angels history to start an All-Star Game.

His AL teammate, Manny Machado, would be the second-youngest infielder to play in an All-Star Game (a mark currently held by Alex Rodriguez) and the youngest third baseman (a distinction currently held by none other than Albert Pujols)

On Saturday, Machado hit his 39th double of the season. He’s one away from becoming the second player to hit at least 40 doubles before the All-Star Break, joining Edgar Martinez, who hit 42 for the Seattle Mariners in 1996.

There will also be a considerable amount of youth (and inexperience) on the pitching staffs. The two rosters have 19 pitchers who were selected to either their first or second All-Star Game.

There are 30 first-time All-Stars with the potential for a few more based on the Final Vote and injury replacements. The most in any season was the 35 in 2011.

Mariano’s final bow
Mariano Rivera was named to his 13th All-Star Game, the second-most of any pitcher in major-league history, trailing only Warren Spahn’s 17.

Rivera is tied with Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio for the third-most selections in Yankees history. Only Mickey Mantle (20) and Yogi Berra (18) have more.

Rivera earned his 29th save on Saturday. That’s tied for his second-most before the All-Star Break, his most since he had 32 in 2004.

Puig’s potential appearance
The NL Final Man vote figures to be a major story the next few days, with Yasiel Puig on the ballot.
Yasiel Puig
Puig
Though some such as Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon scoff at Puig’s candidacy, it should be noted that entering Saturday he was tied with Freddie Freeman for the second-most Wins Above Replacment (2.3) of the Final Vote candidates. The only one higher was slightly so—Ian Desmond with 2.7.

Who won’t be there
The All-Star Game will have a veteran presence, but among those who won’t be there …

The top five active leaders in home runs- Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Jason Giambi, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko. In fact, the only player in the top 10 among active players in homers who will be at the game is David Ortiz.

Nor will any of the top 10 active players in hits. Carlos Beltran will be the hits leader among current All-Stars. He’ll be the only one there with at least 2,000.

And only one pitcher with more than 135 career wins will be at Citi Field—Bartolo Colon, who entered Saturday with 182, 47 more than the NL’s top winner, Cliff Lee.

5 stats to know: Yankees at Orioles

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
2:51
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m McIsaac/Getty Images
Chris Tillman looks to be just the sixth AL pitcher since 1990 to go 6-0 in June.

The Baltimore Orioles host the New York Yankees at Camden Yards Sunday at 8 ET on ESPN2/WatchESPN. Here are five stats to keep an eye on during the game.

1 - Chris Davis (HR) and Manny Machado (2B) are on track to be the second pair of teammates to lead the MLB outright in home runs and doubles. In 1927, Lou Gehrig led in doubles, while Babe Ruth led in home runs.

With his two homers Saturday, Davis matched Brady Anderson club record for HR in the first half with 30 -- and the Orioles still have 14 games left before the All-Star break.

Machado is on an incredible doubles pace at a young age.

His 37 doubles before the All-Star break are the most for a player in his age-20 season or younger in MLB history. He is on pace for 73 doubles, which would break Earl Webb’s major-league record of 67 in 1931.

2 - Chris Tillman takes the mound looking to close out a successful month for the Orioles.

Tillman is 5-0 in June. He could be the franchise’s first pitcher to win six games in June since Urban Shocker went 6-1 for the St. Louis Browns in 1923.

He’d also have the ninth month with a record of 6-0 or better by an Orioles pitcher in the live-ball era.

3 - Tillman has struggled against the Yankees. He is 2-3 with an 8.16 ERA against the Bronx Bombers. Only Jeremy Affeldt has a higher ERA among active pitchers with 25+ career innings against the Yankees.

For Tillman’s winning streak to continue, he will have to get past Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano.

Ichiro holds the highest career batting average at Camden Yards (min. 150 PA),.382.

Cano could also pose a threat to Tillman at the plate. Cano’s .338 BA is the highest for a Yankees player against the Orioles since Joe DiMaggio, who hit .363 in his career against Baltimore (min. 500 PA).

4 - Barring a surge tonight, this will go down as the Yankees’ worst offensive June in years.

The Yankees are averaging 3.3 runs this month. It would be their lowest in June since 1967 (3.0).

One reason for the offensive struggles could be that the Yankees have more payroll on the disabled list (more than $97M) than the entire Opening Day payroll of 16 teams, including the Orioles.

5 – Hiroki Kuroda’s 2.77 ERA would be among the lowest by an AL pitcher his age in the past 50 years. It would be the lowest for a qualifying Yankees starter 38 or older since Spud Chandler’s 2.10 in 1946.

He’s been tough on right-handed hitters…

Kuroda is tied with Justin Masterson with a .514 Opp OPS against right-handed batters, the lowest among AL starting pitchers.

…and with runners in scoring position.

He has held opponents to a .182 BA with runners in position, the fifth-lowest among AL starters.

Indians surge back into AL Central race

June, 27, 2013
6/27/13
12:08
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Just two weeks ago the Cleveland Indians appeared headed for another collapse after a strong start to the season.

They had fallen to 30-33 following a loss to the Rangers on June 10, extending their season-high losing streak to eight games as Scott Kazmir was rocked for four runs in six innings pitched.

But the Windians have turned it around since then, winning 10 of their last 14 games after a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. They are 40-37 and have closed the gap on the Detroit Tigers to 2 games in the AL Central race.

It’s fitting that Kazmir was on the mound for tonight’s win, throwing his best start of the season as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

He finished with seven strong innings of one-hit, one-run ball for his first career start with at least seven innings pitched and one hit or fewer allowed.

Kazmir did a great job finishing off the Orioles batters, retiring all 10 that went to a two-strike count. Prior to this start, he had allowed a .250 batting average with two strikes, which was the third-highest mark in the majors.

He kept the ball away from the Orioles potent lineup, throwing a season-high 59 percent of his pitches on the outer third of the strike zone or just off the outside corner. Those 46 pitches netted him 14 outs with zero baserunners allowed.

The player who broke up Kazmir’s no-no was Manny Machado, with his MLB-best 36th double of the season.

The double came off a fastball from the southpaw on the inner third of the plate. Machado was just 2-for-17 (.118) in at-bats ending in an inside fastball from lefties prior to that hit.

Machado’s 36 doubles are already the most for an Orioles player before the All-Star break and the most by any AL player in the first half of the season since Edgar Martinez had 42 in 1996.

If Machado plays in every game the rest of the season he would finish with 73 doubles, which would shatter the major-league record of 67 doubles set by Earl Webb in the 1931 season.

Machado is chasing a record that has appeared to be unbreakable in recent years. The last players to even reach 60 doubles in a season were Joe Medwick and Charlie Gehringer in 1936.

Fernandez, Machado impressing at age 20

June, 15, 2013
6/15/13
2:29
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AP Photo/Al BehrmanJose Fernandez has been one of just a few bright spots for the Marlins this season




Last season, we saw Bryce Harper and Mike Trout represent the small segment of Major League players unable to legally purchase alcoholic beverages as the only two All-Stars under the age of 21.

This year, we could very well be in line to see a new pair of bright young stars represent that same demographic at the All-Star game.

Fernandez coming into his own
20-year old Jose Fernandez broke camp with the Miami Marlins without any Minor League experience beyond A-ball, but the first 13 starts of his MLB career have been nothing less than stellar.

He's posted a 3.11 ERA to go along with 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, fourth-most in the NL.

But he reached a new high on Friday, racking up a career-high 10 strikeouts against the best team in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals entered ranked first in the NL in batting and runs per game, and notably, they were the NL's second-hardest team to strike out (behind the San Francisco Giants).

Fernandez became the first pitcher under the age of 21 to record 10 strikeouts since Felix Hernandez did so in 2007.

Known for a blistering fastball (94.7 avg MPH, 4th in MLB), the Cuban defector picked up each of his strikeouts via the breaking ball (highlights here).




To put that into context, Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish are the only other pitchers to have racked up 10 or more strikeouts with breaking pitches in a single start this season.

What makes Fernandez' breaking ball, nicknamed 'The Defector,' good enough to hold batters to a .146 BA in at-bats ending with pitch? Horizontal movement.

The pitch has averaged nearly a full 10 inches of movement from right to left (pitcher's perspective), an amount only exceeded by Clay Buchholz' curveball among ERA qualified starters.

Machado piling up the doubles
In the AL, Manny Machado has not stopping hitting after a hot start. With three more hits on Friday, he increased his MLB-leading total to 95 on the season. And two of those hits were doubles, his 29th and 30th of the year.

He has eight more doubles than Gerardo Parra (22) who ranks second in MLB.

No player in the Live-Ball era (since 1920) has ever knocked more two-baggers through his team's first 68 games under the age of 22 (see chart).

Machado's current rate of double production puts him on pace for 71 this season, a mark that would break Earl Webb's all-time mark for a single season of 67 which he set in 1931.

Yankees have ace up sleeve in Kuroda

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
4:24
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Manny Machado has had a better start to his career than Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.
Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill for the New York Yankees against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday Night Baseball (ESPN, 7 ET).

Kuroda is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles (including the postseason), all coming since he joined the Yankees. He’s pitched at least seven innings in each of those outings and thrown a pitch in the ninth inning in three of them.

In his start this season, he threw a 5-hit shutout, including just two hits over his final 23 batters faced.

Kuroda has done a number on righties this season, holding them to a .399 OPS, which is 55 points lower than the next-closest starter. He’s struck out 21 righties and walked just 3 (18 strikeouts, 11 walks vs LHB).

He’s also been great against the middle of the order this season. He’s allowed a .384 OPS to opposing 4-7 hitters, the lowest among starters in the American League.

One of those righties will be Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. The 20-year-old is hitting .348 against right-handed pitchers this season -- Miguel Cabrera is the only AL righty hitting higher against righties.

Machado was the youngest Opening Day starting 3B since Adrian Beltre in 1999 for the Dodgers. He was the youngest in the AL since Brooks Robinson in 1957.

You can see above how Machado compares to other young stars.

Matchups to Watch
The Yankees bullpen has combined to post a 1.73 ERA (11 ER, 57 1/3 IP) and hold opponents to a .200 (38-for-205) batting average with 60 K and just 13 BB in May. The winning run last night was the first run allowed by the Yankees bullpen on the road this month (in 27 2/3 IP).

Power Up the Middle
Two of the top three middle infielders in home runs since the start of the 2011 season are in this game -- Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (first with 70) and Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (third with 60).

He’s Going Streaking
Ichiro Suzuki has an active 20-game hit streak at Camden Yards dating to April 2008, hitting .391 (34-87) in that span.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a hit tonight would tie him with Joey Votto (at Minute Maid Park) for the longest active hit streak at a single park and put him one behind Jacoby Ellsbury (from August 2008-August 2012) for the longest hit streak at Camden Yards.

Cutting Down on Ks
In a season where strikeouts are at an all-time high, the Orioles have cut down on the strikeouts from last season. They struck out at the third-highest rate in the AL last season (21% of PA). This year, they have the AL’s second-lowest K rate behind Texas (17%).

• Chris Davis cut his K rate from 30% to 25%
• Manny Machado cut his from 19% to 14%
• J.J. Hardy cut his from 15% to 10%
• Nick Markakis cut his from 11% to 8%
• Nate McLouth cut his from 18% (with BAL last year) to 12%
• Mark Reynolds signed with the Indians (30% last season)

Machado's defense has been high caliber

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
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Roy Absalon/USA TODAY SportsBaltimore third baseman Manny Machado has been a terrific defender all season.
Manny Machado made an error of aggressiveness in Sunday’s loss to the Oakland Athletics, throwing away a bunt in which he charged and tried to get the out at third base.

But through the first half-season of Machado’s career, the Orioles third baseman has done more than his share to make up for that mistake.

Defensive Runs Saved is a stat devised by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) that measures a fielder’s ability to turn batted balls into outs and do other defensive things specific to his position. (In the case of a third baseman, defend bunts and convert double plays.)

Since the start of last season, Machado ranks fourth among third basemen in Defensive Runs Saved -- and that’s despite playing about half as many innings as everyday players like David Wright and Adrian Beltre. The other primary defensive metric (UZR) also has Machado ranked near the top of his position.

Keep in mind that the player Machado was replacing as the primary third baseman, Wilson Betemit, finished 2012 credited with costing the Orioles six runs with his defense (-6 Defensive Runs Saved). The player originally intended for the position in 2012, Mark Reynolds, cost the Orioles seven runs in 142 innings.

In what aspects of third-base defense does Machado excel? A major league scout said of him:

"He is outstanding in all directions, with pop ups, relays, backhands and agility plays. He has a great throwing arm from all angles on the field, great feet, instinct-reactions and body control."

Let’s break down Machado’s skills with some numbers.

Range
How can we put a value on the idea that Machado is “outstanding in all directions"?

Simply put: Machado gets to a lot of the balls he should, and a lot of the ones he shouldn’t.

Revised Zone Rating (RZR) is a defensive stat that looks how often a fielder turns batted balls into outs when the ball is hit into an an area (a zone) at a speed in which players at his position convert more than 50 percent of balls into outs.

Through Monday, Machado’s RZR ranks eighth of the 35 players who have played at least 500 innings at third base since the start of 2012.

Machado has also made 30 ”Out of Zone plays” –- meaning he got an out in an area that no more than half the third basemen turned those batted balls into outs.

Machado’s rate of Innings per Out of Zone play ranks fourth-best among those 35 third basemen.

Let's also note this:

The Orioles left-side defense has performed considerably better overall since Machado’s arrival. Remember, their starting shortstop, J.J. Hardy, won a Gold Glove last season and ranks among the best at that spot.

Since Machado’s recall, the Orioles have converted 77.4 percent of ground balls that on video review were either over or to the left of the second base bag into outs in that span, compared to 72.3 percent prior to his joining the team.

Over a full season, that equates to taking away nearly 60 would-be baserunners, just on ground balls to that part of the field.

Throwing arm
BIS provided a list of the 10 plays that had the most defensive value in impacting his Defensive Runs Saved total.

Almost all of them were ones in which Machado showed off his ability to go to his left and unleashed a cannon-like throw from an awkward position to rob a potential base hit.

The arm that was great from all angles has allowed him to get even the speediest of batters (including Coco Crisp and B.J. Upton) out on those plays.

Instinct -Reactions
The play Machado is best known for happened in an extra-inning win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 12, 2012, when he fielded a slow roller, faked a throw to first, then turned around and trapped the potential go-ahead run in a rundown off third base.

BIS classifies plays into about 30 categories of Good Fielding Plays and 50 categories of Defensive Misplays & Errors and that was one of 28 plays that qualified as “Good Fielding Plays” by video review. Since Aug. 9, 2012 that’s tied with Pablo Sandoval for the second-most of any third baseman in the majors, trailing only Ryan Zimmerman’s 41.

Not bad for someone who played a total of two minor-league games at third base.

As the scout also said. "It's going to be tough to move him off that position."

Machado resurrects bat, Orioles magic

April, 11, 2013
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Manny Machado has hit four of his eight home runs on pitches up and in, including Wednesday's game winner.

On the day the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park sellout streak ended, some of the good vibes from their start to 2013 came to a sudden, surprising halt as well.

The Baltimore Orioles won Wednesday in a manner similar to how they've been winning games since the start of last season (or as Red Sox fans might say, since the final game of the 2011 season).

Here are some quick takes on the notable stats from the Orioles' magical rally from two runs down with two outs in the ninth inning.

Machado comes up big
Perhaps this go-ahead ninth-inning home run is the cure for Manny Machado’s early-season struggles.

Machado became the first player age 20 or younger to hit a go-ahead home run at Fenway Park since Andruw Jones for the 1997 Atlanta Braves.

The pitch against which Machado hit the home run was thrown to what has been a sweet spot for him -- up and in.

Four of Machado’s eight career home runs now have come against pitches that were in the upper half and inner half of the strike zone, as noted in the image above.

The home run was the first hit Machado has had on the dozen fly balls he has hit this season.

Davis’ homer-hitting barrage continues
Chris Davis set up Machado’s big moment with a home run earlier in the ninth inning. The Elias Sports Bureau notes Davis is the first player in franchise history with five home runs in the team’s first eight games of the season.

Not a good day for Joel Hanrahan
It’s only April, but there are some early red flags for Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan. He has faced 12 batters in the past two games and allowed three home runs, including the two in the ninth inning Friday.

Hanrahan allowed only one home run to the 274 batters he faced in 2011. But he now has allowed 11 to the 277 batters he’s faced since the start of the 2012 season.

Bradley luster wearing off
Although Jackie Bradley Jr. impressed Red Sox fans in the first couple of days of the season, he’s hit his first blip.

Bradley was 0-for-2 with a walk and a pair of weak groundouts. Bradley is hitless in his past 12 at-bats, dropping his batting average to .130. The past eight balls he has put into play all have been hit on the ground.

Top stats to know: Baltimore Orioles

February, 27, 2013
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Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsMatt Wieters has made consecutive All-Star teams and won back-to-back Gold Gloves.
With Baseball Tonight visiting Baltimore Orioles spring training camp today, here’s a look at notable “Stats to Know” about the team that was among baseball’s biggest surprises last season.

No Star Power
The Orioles won last year without a superstar everyday player. Their Wins Above Replacement leader among position players was Adam Jones (3.4).

Three other teams had no position players record a 3.5 WAR or higher and they (Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners) combined for a .399 winning percentage.

The Orioles WAR leader among pitchers was Jason Hammel (2.9), making Baltimore one of 10 teams that had no pitchers with a WAR of 3.0 or better. Of those, only the Orioles and Brewers (83-79) had winning records.

Tough to replicate this
The Orioles will be challenged to replicate their success in close games last season.

They went 29-9 (.763) in one-run games, the best winning percentage in baseball history among teams to play at least 30 one-run games. They also went 16-2 in extra-inning games, had 24 last at-bat wins (most in the majors), only five last at-bat losses (fewest in the majors), and went 74-0 in games in which they led after seven innings.

What a relief!
The Orioles got the most out of their bullpen last season. Baltimore was the only team in baseball that ranked in the top five in both innings pitched and lowest ERA by relievers in 2012.

The Wieters effect
Matt Wieters has been very valuable to the Orioles, not just for his offense, but for his work behind the plate.

Wieters has made consecutive All-Star teams and won back-to-back Gold Gloves. His 31 Defensive Runs Saved since 2009 are second-most in the majors among catchers behind Yadier Molina.

Over the last two seasons, Orioles pitchers have a 4.15 ERA with Wieters catching and a 5.33 ERA with others behind the plate.

Player to watch: Manny Machado
Expectations are high for third baseman Manny Machado, who was valued at 1.5 Wins Above Replacement for his 51-game stint late last season.

Perhaps most impressive was the power he displayed at age 19. Since 1920, only three third basemen had a higher slugging percentage than Machado (.445) during their age-20 season or younger and among them are Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Eddie Mathews.

Pitcher to watch: Miguel Gonzalez
Miguel Gonzalez, who didn’t make his debut with the Orioles until late May, was one of the team’s best starting pitchers down the stretch.

Gonzalez was 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his last seven starts of the season (including his playoff start against the Yankees).

Gonzalez significantly improved the areas in which he had the most control, as noted in the chart on the right.

Beltway Bashers match franchise HR mark

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
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AP Photo, Getty ImagesManny Machado and Jim Thome combined to hit three of the Orioles' seven homers on Wednesday.
The Baltimore Orioles kept pace with the victorious New York Yankees in the AL East race by doing what the team from the Bronx is known for – launching baseballs over fences.

The Orioles matched a franchise record with seven home runs in a 12-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Never before had Baltimore fans seen seven home runs hit by their team in a home game.

All 12 of the Orioles runs were scored via homers, the first time they have done that in a game with a dozen runs since May 28, 1996 in a 12-8 win over the Mariners, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Forty-seven percent of their runs have come via the longball this season, a rate that is second in the majors behind the Yankees.

Both the old and the young went deep for the O’s. Jim Thome (42 years, 30 days old) tied the game in the fifth inning and Manny Machado (20, 82) gave the O’s the lead.

Their age disparity is the second-largest for any two teammates homering in the same inning, according to Elias. On June 14, 2005, Julio Franco (46 years, 295 days) and Kelly Johnson (23 years, 112 days) both homered for the Atlanta Braves against the Texas Rangers.

Thome became the oldest player ever to hit a home run for the Orioles franchise. He is 11 days older than Tim Raines, who hit his last home run for Baltimore on October 5, 2001.

His home run came on a chest-high 79-MPH changeup that he drilled over the right-field wall. He is now slugging .636 on pitches in the upper-third of the strike zone or above, the 10th-best mark in the majors among players with at least 150 plate appearances this season.

Machado homered again in the eighth inning for his second career multi-homer game. The last American Leaguer with at least two multi-homer games at the age of 20 or younger was Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

Both of his home runs went to left field, continuing his pull-happy approach this season. Five of his six career homers have gone to left field, and his .733 slugging percentage on pulled balls is nearly 300 points better than his mark to center and right field (.446).

Chris Davis was the other Oriole to hit multiple homers. The Blue Jays threw Davis nine sliders, which seemed like a smart strategy going into the game, as he was hitting just .176 in at-bats ending in sliders this year. That includes a 1-for-17 stretch in his previous 45 games.

Davis clubbed two sliders over the fence Wednesday, a career first for him against that pitch.

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