by Ray Kuhn
Once we adjust to the new normal for Manny Machado, it’s easy to feel pretty good about the San Diego third baseman. No longer is he in first or second round discussions, and we can’t think about the contract the Padres gave him last winter, but he can be a solid piece towards building your team.
Entering this season Machado retains his dual eligibility between shortstop (11th off the board) and third base (8th) with an ADP of about 61. At this point in the draft he can give you flexibility in your draft strategy, and there is a good chance he will eclipse 30 HR, 80 RBI and 80 runs scored for the sixth straight season.
Machado’s first campaign in San Diego was up (he hit 11 HR along with 29 RBI in June) and down (.221 with 2 HE in August and .193 with 4 HR in September). He also hit .236 in April, as we can chalk that up to making adjustments to a new home, and he struggled to close out the season after being hit by a pitch.
Presumably he will be entering the 2020 season healthy, and it’s hard to find many better lineup situations. San Diego will kick things off Fernando Tatis and Tommy Pham before getting to Machado, who should be batting quite often with runners on base, and will have Eric Hosmer as protection. Overall Machado hit .256 with 32 HR and 85 RBI last season, and there truly were more bad times than good.
So if we do believe in him a repeat of last season should be easily attainable. His contact rate did drop to 78% last season and his 17% line drive rate is concerning, but the latter is nothing new. Aside from the fact that he no longer runs, just 5 SB last season, for the most part he is the same player he has been throughout his career. With a 91.2 mile per hour exit velocity and 43.7% hard hit rate last season, we can still believe in Machado’s plate skills.
As long as we adjust our expectations and thoughts and it seems the market has, there is value. It just requires a new way of thinking, because even though he is still 27-years old we have a new wave of exciting young players that seem to have surpassed Machado. He’s a solid part of your core, so make sure you are valuing him as such.
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings: