The Orioles’ top position prospects, infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, will start the season together at Double-A Bowie because, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said, he believes that’s where they both belong.
"I think that both these kids are qualified major league infielders, and I think they are both ready for Double-A,” Duquette said.
Machado will play shortstop, and Schoop, who also is a shortstop, likely will play primarily second base.
Machado, the club’s first-round pick in 2010, is just 19 and played in 63 games at High-A Frederick last season. There was talk of his staying there to start 2012, but the organization decided to promote him and see what he can do at what may be the most competitive level in the minors.
“First of all, he believes he's a big leaguer and the way he goes about his business, he knows he has talent. He can play shortstop,” Duquette said of Machado. “The way he ranged to his left for ground balls and to his right for pop-ups showed me he can be a really top-quality shortstop and he just needs some at-bats. And Double-A is a key developmental level, so why not now?”
Duquette also talked briefly Wednesday about top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who will begin at Low-A Delmarva. Bundy, 19, was the club’s top pick last year.
“Dylan Bundy's year, I hope, is as a starting pitcher and that he gets into the flow of a routine that a good major league starting pitcher goes through in terms of understanding his delivery, throwing on the side, conditioning himself and staying healthy,” Duquette said. “Where is he going to do it? He's going to do it in Delmarva, and if he pitches well, maybe we'll look at pitching him someplace else. But right now it's more important that he learn the routine.”