It’s Manny (Machado) time in Baltimore

Manny Machado is making the jump from double-A Bowie to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Baltimore Orioles have selected the contract of their top prospect, 20-year-old Manny Machado, and will start him against the Kansas City Royals in Baltimore on Thursday. The third overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft out of Brito Miami Private HS in Florida, Machado was hitting .266 with 26 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 58 RBI and 13 stolen bases for double-A Bowie. He was the third-ranked prospect in baseball by ESPN entering the season, and Baseball America had him ranked ninth in their mid-season rankings.

Considered to have the best high school bat in the 2010 draft, the 6’-3”, 190-pound shortstop drew comparisons to Alex Rodriguez for his offensive prowess, size and position. Machado has committed 22 errors this season but most feel he has the defensive tools to stick at short, and despite his size, won’t need to transition over to third base.

The move came out of left field, so to speak, as Machado wasn’t exactly tearing up the minors this season. However, with the O’s in a pennant race in the AL East, an injection of youth could spark the team much like Mike Trout did with the Angels when he was re-called back in May. The talent is off the charts with Machado. He already has plus power to go along with enough speed to be a threat on the base paths. His approach at the plate projects him to be a high-average hitter. Whether he can be that guy or not this season, the O’s have decided to be aggressive with their top prospects as Dylan Bundy, the fourth overall pick in 2011, was promoted to double-A Bowie to take the roster spot of Machado. The 19-year-old flame thrower is 7-3 this season with a 1.92 ERA and 103 K/19 BB over 84.1 innings split between two levels.

The Orioles entered Wednesday 4.5 game behind the first-place Yankees with 51 games remaining.

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