Tigers prospect scouting report: Dixon Machado

By James Chipman, Special to The Detroit News
Dixon Machado

As part of his regular series of scouting reports on Tigers prospects, James Chipman profiles shortstop Dixon Machado, a non-drafted, priority free-agent signing out of Venezuela in July 2008. This past offseason, MLB.com tabbed Machado the Tigers' 10th best prospect, while The Detroit News ranked him fifth.

Last weekend, Machado was promoted to Detroit as support when Jose Iglesias was injured and Kyle Lobstein was placed on the disabled list. Machado returned Friday to Triple A Toledo.

Editor's note: All numerical grades are determined on the standard scouting scale of 20-80, where 50 is big-league average. A score of 80 is extremely rare, except in the case of speed, or raw power. An OFP (overall future potential) of 50 is a solid-average big-leaguer and is considered an asset to most organizations.

DIXON MACHADO

Date of birth: Feb. 22, 1992

Bats/throws: Right/right

2015 minor league stats: 157 at-bats, 19 runs, 6 doubles, 1 home run, 16 RBI, 5 steals, 15 walks, 30 strikeouts, .274 batting average, .339 on-base percentage, .670 OPS

Body: Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Machado's height and weight appear fairly accurate. He works hard on strength and conditioning. Results, however, have yielded minimal growth on a shortstop with a wiry frame. Machado is an exceptional athlete and although injuries were an early problem, durability should not be an issue moving forward. There is minimal projection for added growth as he appears to be physically maxed-out.

Hitting: Machado has made great strides the past two seasons refining his hitting. He features a solid approach and strong knowledge of the strike zone that yields solid-average strikeout and walk ratios. Machado starts from a well-balanced stance and set-up. He has a short, simple swing with bat speed that is a tick below average. There's a bit of pre-swing noise before he quickly loads up and swings, but Machado's swing is fairly simple and quiet. Machado has finally learned to play within his game, shortening his swing, looking to make contact in a bid to simply put the ball in play. Contact yields mostly ground balls and soft line drives. Over-the-fence power is almost non-existent. Although a great deal of progress has been made the past two seasons, Machado still projects to have a below-average bat moving forward. Grade: 40

Power: Machado lacks the necessary strength to adequately drive the ball with authority. Although it has improved, his bat-speed is still a tick below average and premium velocity is often a challenge for him. His legs should help him yield the occasional extra-base hit. There is bottom-of-the-scale, over-the-fence power in his profile. Grade: 25

Speed: Machado is an average runner, routinely registering 4.30-to-4.35 times down the line. He gets out of the box well and features an average but impactful second gear. Machado isn't the base-stealing threat he once was. He will, however, swipe the occasional bag thanks to solid instincts and exceptional reads off the pitcher. Grade: 50

Defense: Machado is a near plus-plus defender currently, with easy plus-plus potential moving forward. He has great reactions off the bat, thanks to a quick first step and impressive instincts. Machado handles routine plays almost effortlessly with ease. Extremely difficult highlight-reel plays are fairly common from the gifted defender. He has excellent body control with smooth athletic actions. Machado positions himself well and ranges well to both sides. He can handle with ease balls hit deep in the hole, and he reads hops well regardless of their difficulty. Machado has clean footwork and extra-soft hands with lightning-quick transfers from glove to hand. He undoubtedly is an impact talent, defensively. Grade: 65

Arm: Machado features an impressive plus-plus arm that is a legit weapon on the diamond. He easily makes all throws both short and deep on a line. The ball comes out accurately with carry and impressive velocity. Machado does not require having his feet under him or his weight behind him to make jaw-dropping accurate throws on difficult plays. Grade: 70

Additional points: Machado is highly regarded by his teammates and coaching staff as a hard worker and a great teammate. He is intelligent, quiet, confident, a fierce competitor and is dedicated to the game. There are no off-the-field issues, or potential red flags.

Projection: Machado features an attractive defensive skill-set that should give him numerous opportunities to stick in the big leagues. The profile is nothing to scoff at, but it's essentially a low-ceiling/high-floor profile with very little projection remaining. Machado has second-division regular big-league future potential if he continues to walk at an average clip and if the bat plays at or slightly above a 40 on the 80-grade scale. Worst case scenario: Machado's glove alone gives him a strong shot to have a solid career as a big-league utility infielder. Overall future potential: Potential 50 / Realistic 45

James Chipman scouts the minor leagues for The Detroit News and is based in Orlando, Florida. Twitter: @J__Chipman.