Manny Machado Fantasy Baseball 2018 Outlook

Orioles star Manny Machado had a bit of a down year at the plate. He is still a top player at his position. What should we expect from him in 2018?

The Baltimore Orioles offense could not replicate the power numbers it put up in 2016. A lot of players saw a drop in power numbers. Though, third baseman Manny Machado greatly struggled at the plate. Now that he lost shortstop eligibility, what is his value for next season?

Machado was the seventh player drafted in ESPN leagues this season. With both shortstop and third base eligibility, he had a boost in fantasy value. For me, specifically, I drafted Machado and Kyle Seager. Two top-10 third basemen or a top shortstop and a top third baseman. It gave me roster flexibility.

Unfortunately for me and many other fantasy owners, Machado’s 2017 did not pan out the way we expected.

In 156 games, Machado hit 33 home runs and 95 RBI. He hit four fewer home runs and one fewer RBI in one fewer game. Not that bad of a dropoff between 2016 and 2017. The big disappointment came with his batting average. Machado hit .294 last season but just .259 this year.

He had 25 fewer hits. His on-base percentage also dropped a great deal, .343 to .310. The strikeout to walk ratio wasn’t, though. It was 115:50 compared to 120:48 in 2016.

There was some good in Machado’s game this season. He stole nine bases in 13 attempts. If you remember, he just made three attempts last season and was not successful once.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Machado does not qualify at shortstop in standard leagues. The requirement in ESPN leagues is 20 games played in a season to be eligible for the following season. He did not play a single game at shortstop. The Orioles had JJ Hardy at shortstop but acquired Tim Beckham at the trade deadline, so Baltimore had no need to play Machado there.

With the big drop in his ratios, Machado finished 95th overall on the Player Rater. He was still a top-100 player but you don’t expect that from a first-round pick (unless an injury occurred).

In my early rankings, Machado is still a top-20 pick. However, instead of being in the top-10, I have him at No. 14, as a mid-second round pick. After Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant, Machado is the next best third baseman. There is some space between him and Jose Ramirez, my No. 4 third baseman.

I expect another 30-home run, 90 RBI season from Machado. I also expect his batting average to get back to the .280 level and not stay around .260. He will be back in the top-25 at the end of next season. If you can draft Machado in the second round, you’ll have a first-round player on your roster.