You know the 2000 season Alex Rodriguez had with the Seattle Mariners that led to him signing the biggest deal in baseball history to that point in time, the famous 10 year, 252 million dollar contract with the Texas Rangers? Manny Machado has put up incredibly similar offensive numbers up to this point through 2016 as ARod did in that 2000 season.
Some of Machado's more mainstream stats don't look quite as good as ARod's 2000 season on the surface. Machado's OPS sits at .972 in 2016, while Rodriguez had a 1.026 OPS in 2000, 54 points higher. But 2000 was the steroid era, and offense was much more plentiful league wide then than it is now. Adjusting Machado and Rodriguez's production via wRC+ gives a better look at how they compared to the rest of the league in their respective seasons. Machado's wRC+ is 155 in 2016, while Rodriguez had a 158 wRC+ in 2000, just 3% better than Machado has been to this point in 2016.
Another very similar measure has been Machado and Rodriguez's isolated power (ISO). ISO is a measure of how often a hitter hits for extra base hits. It is calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage. By ISO, Machado is hitting for extra bases in 2016 about as often as ARod did in 2000. Machado's ISO sits at .288, while Rodriguez's ISO from 2000 was .291.
|Manny Machado (2016)||155||.288|
|Alex Rodriguez (2000)||158||.291|
Of course, the difference here is that ARod sustained that high level of production for a full season, where Machado has only done it for just over 2 months. Machado still has two thirds of the season left to go to match it, and maintaining a skill level this elite over a full season is very difficult to do. But we are past the ISO stabilization point of 160 ABs, so there's some indication that Machado's power comparison to ARod is legit.
For fantasy purposes, Machado has now locked up 2017 SS eligibility, as he's started 36 games there already. He's also going to retain 3B eligibility, with 23 starts at 3B so far. Shortstops typically have significantly less offensive production than other positions, so being able to play Machado and his production at the SS slot is an advantage that most other owners won't enjoy.
So if you own Manny Machado in a keeper league, keep this in mind: he's essentially been as good as prime Alex Rodriguez to this point in the season, and he's still just 23 years old. He is as untouchable for me in a keeper league as any other player in the fantasy game.