In 2013, we saw the rise of Manny Machado who as a 20 year old led the American League in Doubles with 51. He was an outstanding player back then with a .283 Batting Average, 14 Home Runs, and 71 RBI's. As time goes on though, it seems that he's been playing less, which is true, but during the time he is playing, is he getting better?
I think he is, sure his batting average has been dropping and so has his doubles, but overall he's slightly better than a few years ago because not only is he more patient and getting on base more, but he also has more power. That's right, it's not that Machado is losing doubles, it's actually that some of those doubles are now being hit harder and are being converted into Home Runs.
In 2013, he hit 51 doubles in 667 at bats, which is roughly one double every 13 at bats, which is quite remarkable. In 2014, he only had 327 at bats, less than half of what he had in 2013 but his doubles were cut by more than two thirds to 14 doubles, which is a double every 23 at bats. So far in 2015, Machado has 8 doubles in 127 at bats. That's nowhere near what he hit in 2013, but a double every 16 at bats is better than what he produced in 2014.
The Orioles have played 35 games so far, meaning Machado could finish 2015 with 37 doubles. Now to look at the Home Run side of things, how many of his doubles were really converted? Well, in 2013 he hit 14 which equates to one ever 47 at bats. That's nowhere near what a good slugger can produce in that many at bats, but in 2014, he had less than half the at bats but 12 Home Runs. That many home runs in that many at bats equates to one every 27 at bats.
2015 is even better because in his 127 at bats, he already has 6 home runs, meaning he could match up to last years Home Run output in about 70 to 100 fewer at bats and is averaging one Home Run every 21 at bats. Let's put it this way, in 2013, he hit 51 doubles and 14 Home Runs, but this year if he plays the entire season he could have 14 fewer doubles and exactly 14 more home runs at 28.
Due to his increased Home Run output, his slugging and OPS only goes up, even though his batting average dipped from .283 in 2013 to .276 this year. His Slugging went from .432 in 2013 to .482 this year while his OPS went from .746 to .821. Power isn't the only way that Machado has been getting better because he has been walking a lot more.
Machado's OBP in 2013 was .314 and had 29 walks in 710 plate appearances. That's really not that much, especially when you see Bryce Harper and Carlos Santana with 30 already, but it gets better. Machado walked once every 25 trips to the plate. In 2014 he had almost 400 fewer plate appearances but only 9 fewer walks and with his 20 walks averaged one every 16 appearances. Because of this, his OBP went up by 10 points to .324. Then in 2015, in 145 appearances, Machado already has 14 walks which is one in every 10 appearances which brings his OBP up to .340 and is on pace for 60 walks.
The only thing Machado isn't doing is getting triples, he has 0 in his last two seasons and 6 in the two before that, but really, he's been doing so much better compared to his 2013 season, and can probably get even better as he gets older, heck, Machado is still only 22 years old and won't turn 23 for more than a month. Let's take a look at the 3 best double hitters of all time.
Tris Speaker played a full season of baseball when he was 23 years old, and after that he had 82 doubles. Machado hasn't even hit 23 and has 81. Pete Rose didn't even make his debut until just before he turned 22 years old, meaning by the time he was Machado's age he only had about one full season and less than 30 doubles, and by the time Stan Musial had a full season under his belt, he was the same age Machado was after playing 2-3 seasons.