Manny Machado is playing like a superstar and it's impossible not to watch
After establishing himself as one of the game's premier talents with back-to-back top-5 AL MVP finishes in 2015 and 2016, Manny Machado took a step back in 2017. Despite staying healthy all year, he missed out on the All-Star Game, received 0 MVP votes and posted what for him was a rather pedestrian .259/.310/.471 slash line.
But if there were questions about whether or not he was still one of the best young stars in baseball, they've now been answered: He's one of only six everyday playerrs with an OPS over 1.000 and he's currently tied for third in home runs with 18.
While the Orioles haven't exactly been the most entertaining ballclub in 2018, Machado remains must-see-TV. No matter where he's playing his baseball, the dude is worth your love and affection.
There are two notable types of Machado home runs and this year, we've seen a healthy helping of both. First, there's the backspin beauty, where Machado's swing almost resembles a Tiger Woods golf shot.
He creates so much backspin on the ball that you can envision it plopping down on a green and rolling backward towards the hole.
Secondly, there are the ones where everyone within an 100-mile radius knows it's a home run immediately. These Machado taters usually come on pitches up around the letters, like this one:
In his first full season at shortstop since his Minor League days, Machado acclimated himself quite well in 2018. While his well-built frame may limit his lateral range compared to other, more quick-twitch oriented defenders, Machado's unique talent to make throws from anywhere on the diamond makes him capable of downright jaw-dropping moments.
Next time you're at a park, try and replicate that Machado throw. You'll end up tossing the ball a maximum of like 20 feet.
With so much going on in baseball right now between Shohei Ohtani's one-of-a-kind wizardry, Mookie Betts' artisanal tater-making and Mike Trout's potential greatest MLB season ever, it's easy to overlook a guy on a less starry team. Don't.
Machado's return to the upper echelon of baseball stars after that rocky 2017 has been one of the season's most notable and reassuring developments. And when you consider that come Trade Deadline season he could singlehandedly change the course of a team's season, he's easily one of the important people to watch in the game right now.