An argument can be made for outfielder Adam Jones, whose willingness to speak out on issues of race in baseball and whose play for Team USA in their World Baseball Classic championship run raised his profile, but his star isn't the equal of Machado's. Though once in awhile—as in his recent tirade amid the Red Sox-Orioles beanball war—the 24-year-old third baseman winds up in the middle of a mess he helped create, there's no denying that Machado is one of the game's most entertaining and valuable defenders as well as an outstanding slugger. His presence has been a major reason why Baltimore has made the postseason three times in the past five seasons after missing it for 14 straight years.
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