- Full name Dixon Javier Machado
- Born 02/22/1992 in San Cristobal-Tachira, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 05/25/2015
Organization Prospect Rankings
After spending three seasons at Rookie-level or short-season ball after signing out of Venezuela in 2008, Machado finally moved to low Class A West Michigan in 2011. He has progressively shortened his swing and gotten more physical since that year, when he managed just three extra-base hits in 124 games, but he is still not big or strong enough to make much of an impact with the bat. Even so, Machado's glove has helped him earn cameos in the big leagues in each of the past two seasons. He is the system's best defensive infielder by a wide margin. He has the arm strength and the chops to stick at shortstop, but he saw time at second base in 2016 and could be most useful in Detroit in a utility role. He is an average runner but not a burner. With Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler in Detroit, Machado's likely role will continue to be as an extra infielder who provides depth in the majors and upper minors.
Machado was once so frail that he managed just three extra-base hits in 124 games when he was in low Class A West Michigan in 2012. The next year, he struggled with leg injuries and didn't perform well at the plate, so the Tigers removed him from the 40-man roster. Since then, he's remained healthy and followed up a strong 2014 campaign at Double-A with a steady 2015 season in Triple-A, making his major league debut in May for a few games before returning as a September callup. When Machado was in Double-A Erie in 2014, hitting coach Larry Herndon helped him simplify his swing and his approach, which provided the springboard for his offensive turnaround. He's still unlikely to ever hit higher than the bottom of the order, but he uses his hands well at the plate, recognizes balls and strikes and puts the ball in play with a line-drive approach. He can sneak a ball over the fence to his pull side but is mostly a singles hitter who's unlikely to ever crack 10 home runs. Where Machado shines is in the field. Once a plus runner, he's filed out, battled leg injuries and now has average speed, but he has a quick first step, good range, smooth hands and a plus arm. Machado won't supplant Jose Iglesias in Detroit, but he's knocking on the door to get back to the big leagues and performed well in winter ball in Venezuela. His bat looks a touch short to be an everyday player, but he could fill in that role in case of an injury with a chance to stick around at least as a reserve because of his defense.
Machado had just three extra-base hits in 124 games at low Class A West Michigan in 2012, but he got stronger for the 2013 season. Regardless, he struggled on the field and was often sidelined with leg injuries, prompting the Tigers to remove him from the 40-man roster after adding him the year before. Machado switched up his offseason routine, focusing more on flexibility and agility, and his ability to stay on the field helped fuel a breakout season in 2014. Machado worked with high Class A Lakeland hitting coach Larry Herndon to tweak his setup and his load, both with his hands and his lower half. Machado has always used his hands well in his swing and has a steady, disciplined hitting approach to make frequent contact and draw walks. His power is mostly to the gaps with a focus on hitting line drives and getting on base. Defense is where Machado has always shined. He's smooth and sure-handed, with slightly above-average speed but plus range thanks to his quickness and instincts, making flashy plays with a plus arm. Machado could be a defensive-oriented backup, but the offensive outburst got him back on the 40-man after the 2014 season and gives him an outside shot to be an everyday player.
The report hasn't changed on Machado, whom the Tigers signed as soon as he became eligible on July 2, 2008. He was 16 at the time and looked much younger because of his 130-pound build. He has added about 30 pounds since then, but his frame is still slight. He remained at the team's training base in Lakeland, Fla., in the offseason to work with strength coaches and try to add a little more punch to his all-Judy approach. Machado had the lowest OPS (.534) of any Florida State League regular last year, and his .252 slugging percentage actually represented a five-point increase from 2011. He makes contact and draws walks, but that's the extent of his offensive contributions. Defense is Machado's calling card. He has graceful agility and excellent athleticism in the field. He's a treat to watch with his soft hands, above-average arm strength and acrobatic play. He has three plus tools in his fielding, arm and speed, but his bat will have to evolve for him to have any chance at being an everyday player in the big leagues. He has 20 power on the 20-80 scouting scale, so a utility player in the mold of Wilson Valdez is Machado's most likely ceiling. Detroit added him to the 40-man roster in November even though he may need to repeat high Class A.
The Tigers signed Machado as soon as he became eligible on July 2, 2008. He was 16 at the time and looked much younger because of his 130-pound build. While he's still a slight-framed teenager, his defense has developed as Detroit hoped. Managers rated him the best defensive shortstop and best infield arm in the Midwest League in 2011, his first year in full-season ball. Machado has good body control, smooth hands and excellent defensive instincts. He shows fine range to both sides and a plus arm with accuracy. He reads hops well and has better decision-making skills in the field than many young shortstops. Machado isn't a burner on the basepaths, but he's an intelligent baserunner with average speed. Whether he'll ever hit is the bigger question. He has 20 power on the 20-80 scouting scale and registered just three extra-base hits in 429 at-bats last season. He added two more in the Arizona Fall League but went just 8-for-68 (.118) there. Machado's swing path is solid and he uses his hands well at the plate, staying inside the ball and using the opposite field. He doesn't strike out much and walks at a surprising clip given his present inability to hurt pitchers. Additional strength will be crucial for Machado, who will advance to high Class A in 2012.
The Tigers are one of the few teams that still has an academy in Venezuela, and it's no coincidence that seven Venezuelans made this Top 30 Prospects list. Machado gives Detroit another slick-fielding shortstop in the system, though like Cale Iorg and Gustavo Nunez he has yet to prove he can be a factor at the plate. In his U.S. debut in 2010, Machado stood out as the top shortstop in the Gulf Coast League. He's an acrobatic defender with fantastic range, smooth hands and a strong arm. At the plate, Machado has a short swing and a contact oriented approach. He lacks power and knows his limitations, but could have some pop as his wiry frame fills out. He's a slightly above-average runner who should steal a few bases. He'll likely start 2011 in extended spring training before heading to short-season Connecticut in June.
Minor League Top Prospects
Machado was the best defensive shortstop in the league. His actions, range to both sides and arm strength all grade out as above-average. Not only did he make acrobatic plays but he also made the routine ones, committing just six errors in 43 games. At 6 feet and 140 pounds, Machado will have to get much stronger to be a factor at the plate. He understands his limitations, using a short swing and focusing on making contact. He's a slightly above-average runner.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Detroit Tigers in 2014
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Detroit Tigers in 2014
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Detroit Tigers in 2013
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Detroit Tigers in 2013
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Detroit Tigers in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Detroit Tigers in 2012
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Midwest League in 2011
- Rated Best Defensive SS in the Midwest League in 2011