The most exciting thing about the current state of Major League Baseball is the youth movement that is occurring.
I've written about it a lot, but who wouldn't when the sport has the likes of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Carlos Correa, and many other great, young players?
One guy who isn't mentioned as much as those other nine, despite being just as good, if not better, is Orioles' third baseman Manny Machado.
Machado is a dandy. He can run, he can hit, he has power and boy is he a good defender. But, I just don't think he gets the recognition, or is looked at as highly as he deserves.
Since 2013, Manny Machado has 16.7 fWAR, good for sixth-best in the Major Leagues. He has more Wins Above Replacement in that span than Harper, Jason Heyward, Joey Votto, Robinson Cano and many other superstars.
And it's not like Machado is a dimensional player either.
Just 102 days older than Harper, Machado is a two-time All-Star and hit .286/.359/.502 with 35 home runs, 30 doubles, 70 walks, 86 RBI and 20 stolen bases (28 attempts) in 713 plate appearances last season. He was worth a whopping 6.8 fWAR.
Oh and Machado was worth 14 defensive runs saved, and according to FanGraphs, had a 8.4 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR).
So why isn't Machado mentioned--or at least isn't mentioned as often--in the same class as those above?
It might be because his team doesn't even recognize him as their best player. In fact, Machado, despite his phenomenal season, was snuffed the Most Valuable Oriole award in 2015, given in favor to Chris Davis, who had "just" 5.6 Wins Above Replacement.
Yes, I am telling you that Machado wasn't given the Orioles' MVP award by press members who watched him nearly every day, if not every day.
The same thing happened in 2013, too, when Davis beat out Machado. Though the circumstances were a bit different, as Davis was coming off of a 53 home run campaign, setting a club record.
However, the point is that Machado has to be appreciated locally before he can be appreciated nationally. That's because this youth movement in Major League Baseball would not be the same without Manny Machado.