The Baltimore Orioles had a rough finish to the regular season, not only missing out on the playoffs, but also seeing their star young player Manny Machado go down with a knee injury. The fantasy baseball star, who finished the season with 14 home runs and 71 RBI while hitting .283/.314/.432, should be back to running in a couple of months. The question is, can Machado take another step forward in 2014?
Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig seem to get most of the attention amongst youngsters in baseball, but Machado is easily on their level. The Orioles third baseman was named an All-Star in 2013, and he led the American League in doubles with 51. While fantasy baseball owners love his consistency and potential value down the road, fans are just as appreciative of his Gold Glove caliber defense.
Initially, the knee injury was feared to be an ACL or MCL tear. Those types of injuries can keep a player out for 8-12 months in some instances. After getting his knee checked out twice, the tear in his medial patellar ligament will require rest. He is expected to be as good as new by the time Spring Training starts.
Machado does not turn 22 until the middle of the season next year, and he is already one of the faces of a franchise. This team will only be able to compete in the loaded American League East if he is able to stay healthy. The knee injury might have been a scare, but the third baseman is still on track to be a perennial All-Star for the next decade.