According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, No. 3 overall pick Manny Machado is expected to make his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Orioles on Friday.
Machado, an 18-year-old shortstop, was signed to a $5.25 million signing bonus by the Orioles earlier this month. It was the second-largest signing bonus in franchise history, only topped by Matt Wieters’ $6 million signing bonus when he was selected with the No. 5 pick out of Georgia Tech in 2007.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Machado hits from the right side and the plate and hails from the Miami area, so we’ve already heard plenty of Alex Rodriguez comparisons in terms of his projection. We won’t go there quite yet, but he was regarded as the top high school position player available on draft day.
Zrebiec writes that Machado hasn’t played a meaningful game since June, so in an effort to be cautious, the Orioles plan to use him as designated hitter over his first couple of games with the GCL club.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.