Engel Beltre of the Texas Rangers makes a running catch for an out in front of Andres Blanco, who fears that Beltre will throw a trash can at him, during spring training at Peoria Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Obviously a serious knee injury to Machado would be a big blow to the Orioles, but we'll just have to wait and see. He was off to an outstanding start for Low-A Delmarva (.333/.450/.611, plus strong defense) and is a clear Grade A prospect if all is well. He could be in the majors within two years if his knee injury isn't a problem.
**Texas Rangers outfield prospect Engel Beltre was suspended for 15 games last week after getting involved in an "altercation" that involved him throwing a trash can at some fans. Before this, he was hitting .253/.286/.316 in 18 games with a 3/18 BB/K ratio in 79 at-bats for Double-A Frisco.
Beltre is basically in the same position he was in last summer: he's an excellent athlete with terrific tools and is still just 21 years old, but he remains very raw, doesn't control the strike zone, and has a swing that doesn't translate his strength into power. He's strong enough to throw a trashcan at fans though. Beltre is way too young to give up on, but I get questions from Rangers fans asking when Beltre will be ready for the majors, and the answer is still the same: not any time soon, and throwing trash cans doesn't do a lot for your reputation.
**Another tools player of interest is Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Starling Marte, currently hitting .306/.343/.418 in 23 games for Double-A Altoona. He's also stolen seven bases in eight attempts. He has outstanding speed and is already a strong defender, and he's made good strides learning to use his speed more effectively on the bases this year. He has wiry strength and some scouts project solid distance power as he matures, though it hasn't happened yet and most of his offensive value is tied into his batting average right now.
He's a consistent .300+ hitter, but he is also quite impatient and draws few walks. Marte should usually have a high BABIP due to his speed, but obviously he'll have more value at the top of the order if he can draw at least a few more BBs. Scouts like his makeup. He could see Pittsburgh late this year but he strikes me as a one-level-at-a-time guy and might not be ready for full-time play until 2013.