After trading popular second baseman Ian Kinsler, the Tigers will turn to 25-year-old Dixon Machado to man second base in 2018.
All through the minors Machado was tabbed as a slick-fielding, light-hitting middle infielder. He has lived up to that billing at the major league level.
In 2017, Machado slashed .259/.302/.319 with a 64 wRC+ across 166 at-bats. He started 25 games at shortstop, 11 at second base and four at third base.
While his defense suffered a bit last season, he is still regarded as a strong defensive middle infielder and should be an excellent fielder once he gets acclimated to playing second base full-time.
The defense is not a concern, but the offense is. Throughout his minor league career Machado has posted average offensive numbers. His strongest asset has been his eye. He has frequently posted walk-rates over 10%. However, across 166 at-bats last season Machado only walked 5.5% of the time.
If he cannot learn how to take a walk at the big league level he will struggle. However, if that skill can translate to the show he could be valuable as a speedy nine-hitter who can occasionally swipe a base.
FanGraph’s Steamer projection has Machado slashing .263/.324/.363 with seven home runs and 10 stolen bases next season. That sounds about right, although Machado has yet to hit more than six home runs in any professional season.
Machado’s development will be something to watch closely next year, as it will determine if Detroit needs to go out and get a young second base prospect or if he can take the reigns and be a key part of the team’s rebuild.