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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Manny Machado is on pace to set the MLB doubles record

Manny MachadoManny Machado does not get the same recognition as Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, but he probably deserves to be mentioned in the same conversations.

Machado, who turns 21 next week, is enjoying tremendous success in his first full MLB season. The Baltimore Orioles youngster homered and doubled off New York Yankees ace Hiroki Kuroda on Sunday and is now batting .321 on the season.

Though his six home runs won’t blow you away, his league-leading 38 doubles should.

Through 83 game this year, Machado has 38 doubles, which is 12 more than Yadier Molina, who is second in the majors. Machado is on pace to hit 74 doubles, which would beat the MLB single-season record of 67 set by Earl Webb in 1931. Webb set the record in 151 games played as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Even if you take away the 11 extra games Machado has the opportunity to play, he would still be on pace for 69 doubles, which would also top Webb.

Only six players in MLB history have hit 60-or-more doubles in a season, and all of the seasons were achieved between 1926 and 1936. Todd Helton, with 59 doubles in 2000, has come the closest among recent players to hitting 60 doubles.

Machado was the No. 3 overall pick by the Orioles in 2010. He was taken two picks behind Harper, who went first overall. Machado is three and a half months older than Harper and has been on a similar development schedule as the Nationals phenom. Like Harper, Machado played in the majors last year, though he was called up in August, four months after Harper made his MLB debut. Machado hit .262/.294/.445 in 51 MLB games last year and displayed incredible baseball instinct. A shortstop in the minors, Machado was switched to third base when he was called up because the Orioles already had JJ Hardy at short. He began making incredible plays like this one:

Machado’s defense this season has continued to be tremendous. That should not be a surprise considering he is a shortstop playing the hot corner. His pursuit of the MLB doubles record will be fun to follow.

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