Detroit Tigers: Five Breakout Candidates to Watch in 2017

4 of 6
Detroit Tigers
Aug 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Dixon Machado (49) makes a throw to first to get Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (not pictured) out in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Dixon Machado

Age: 24

Position: Shortstop

Dixon Machado’s potential to break out next season solely depends on where Jose Iglesias plays next season.

Should Iglesias stay, Machado would likely be confined to backup duties. However, if the former Red Sox infielder is dealt, Dixon Machado has a chance to shine with the Tigers.

Similar to Iglesias, the 24-year-old is an excellent fielder, with similar defensive upside.

While Machado hasn’t shown the offensive acumen that his fellow shortstop, the prospect has shown upside at the plate at the minors’ highest level.

In 131 games for Triple-A Toledo last season, the player hit .266 with a .349 on-base percentage. What’s more, Detroit potential shortstop of the future also added 59 runs scored, 48 RBI, 28 doubles, 17 stolen bases, four home runs and two triples.

The 2016 season also saw Machado cut his strikeout rate while also improving on his walk percentage.

Iglesias’ Best Replacement

Should Iglesias be dealt, the shortstop position would be Dixon Machado’s to lose.

Prospect-wise, Daniel Pinero and A.J. Simcox may be Detroit’s next-best prospects at the position. However, Pinero recently wrapped up his first professional while Simcox logged just a .298 on-base percentage for Lakeland in 2016.

In terms of options capable of contributing at the Major League level, the Tigers other options include Andrew Romine, Omar Infante and Brendan Ryan.

Romine’s defensive versatility is likely better suited for bench duties, while Ryan’s bat could limit him.

Another strong defender, Ryan hasn’t posted a wRC+ over 65 since the 2011 season. Since then, he’s notably turned in a -70 number (in 17 games with Anaheim last season) and a 14 number (in 49 contests with the Yankees in 2014). Rounding out the list is Infante, who last played the position in 2010.