Breakout or Bust: Will Dixon Machado Seize His Opportunity In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Tigers are clearly a team in transition and that is going to open opportunities for players who may not normally have gotten them.  One of those will be Dixon Machado, who appears primed to step into the second base job after Ian Kinsler was sent to the Angels.  Obviously a player who, coming off the bench, hit .259 with 1 HR and 1 SB over 181 PA in the Majors isn’t going to garner much attention, but should that be viewed as a short-sighted take?

Machado was always seen as a glove first shortstop, and he’s done little to change that as he’s developed and advanced throughout the minors.  Over his minor league career he owns a .246/.323/.317 slash, and while things were better at Triple-A (.264/.331/.344) it’s not enough of a jump to get you excited.

He has never shown much power, with 8 HR over 1,136 PA at Triple-A between 2015 & 2016.  There appears to be little upside as well, with a 24.7% fly ball rate in 272 PA in the Majors over the past three seasons (55.2% groundball rate).  In this day where power is so prevalent around the game you had better hope that he brings enough speed to offset the lack of pop…

Sure he’s stolen as many as 25 bases in a season, though that came back in 2011.  At Triple-A in ’16 he managed 17 SB in 22 attempts (and in ’15 it was 16 SB in 19 attempts), so is there any reason to believe that he’ll suddenly morph into a 30+ SB threat?

The answer is no, and this scouting report from Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 prior to the 2016 season sums it all up very well:

Offensively, he has developed into a good hitter with a short, compact swing and line drive power.  He can get aggressive at the plate and good breaking pitches can get him to chase.  His body type is one that will not allow him to put on a lot of weight so there will never be much over-the-fence power.  He’s an average runner with a chance to steal 12 to 15 stolen bases annually.

The fact is that nothing has changed and the outlook remains the same.  On a good team he’s a utility player and while he could provide a little bit of cheap speed there simply isn’t enough upside to make him valuable.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Prospect 361

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

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