Yesterday I wrote about how I felt that spring training was more important for Baltimore Orioles’ hitters than it is for pitchers. Just to review (in a nutshell), pitchers are always a bit ahead of hitters once spring training games begin. So those 30+ games are pretty key for hitters like Adam Jones and Nick Markakis to get their regular timing up to par. The likes of Jones, Markakis, and even Brian Roberts (who hasn’t played a full season since 2009) will be fine in due course. They may have a few moments in Grapefruit League play where they look pretty rough, but I think you’ll see once the middle of spring training rolls around they’ll be in good shape.

In my opinion each and every one of these Grapefruit League games will be huge for third baseman Manny Machado. Let’s not forget that Machado came up from double-A Bowie only last August, but was an instant star in the clubhouse and on the field. In 51 at-bats Machado hit .262/.294/.445, with 7 homers, 9 walks, and 28 K’s. Machado also got to participate in the MLB post season, which the Orioles hope is an experience that serves both him and the club in years to come.

Machado is in an interesting position in that he’s already thought of as a “regular” in the lineup, yet he only has two months of experience under his belt. However how will Machado react to being off for six months? As I said yesterday, hitters can’t really simulate their skill in the off season short of hitting off the tee or even working out on a field. However there are very few substitutes for real live pitching at the big league level. Being so young and having so little major league experience, there’s always a chance that Machado will start off a bit behind the eight ball.