Date of Birth: 2/22/1992 (2014 Opening Day Age: 23)
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2008
Ranking History: #75 (2009), #36 (2010), #26 (2011), #29 (2012), #27 (2013), #26 (2014), #14 (2015)
Background: Signed as a skinny teenager, Machado debuted with a .205/.310/.278 line in the VSL in 2009 before coming stateside for a 43 game trial in the GCL in 2010. With the GCL Tigers that year he hit an improved .261 with just seven extra-base hits and 12 steals. He was pushed to Low-A West Michigan in 2011 where he was the primary shortstop and hit .235 with a solid approach in 124 games. Machado made the natural progression to High-A Lakeland in 2012 and he hit an anemic .195 with 16 doubles and two home runs in 119 games, though he did amass nearly as many walks (51) as strikeouts (61). During an injury-marred 2013 season, Machado hit a combined .232 between the GCL (while on rehab) and High-A Lakeland. Machado split his time between Lakeland and Erie in 2014 and enjoyed a breakout campaign over 90 games at Double-A.
|2014 Stats - Hitting|
Body: Still lanky and thin; has added muscle definition and strength to frame but still very, very thin; athletic player; excellent coordination; minimal physical projection remaining.
Hit: Improved dramatically as a hitter in 2014; ability to drive the ball came a long way and allowed player to keep pitchers honest; exceptional ability to recognize spin; knows the zone very well; will always walk; rarely strikes out; knack for getting the barrel of the bat on the ball; with improved strength, contact is more forceful; likely below-average hitter long term, but improved over past projections. Grade – Present 3/Future 4
Power: Still bottom of the scale power but discovered ability to drive ball to OF gaps with some regularity last summer; bat speed improved and allowed line drives to carry further into OF as 2014 season progressed; will offer 15-20 doubles, and maybe a touch more; no power projection. Grade – 2/2
Speed: Above-average runner; not overly aggressive on the bases; instincts have never caught up with raw speed and jumps from first base are still a touch slow; gets out of the box well; runs well down the line with good strides; can pick up some infield hits and has enough speed to turn some outfield shots into extra bases; athletic and likely to maintain speed long term. Grade – 5+/5+
Defense: Highlight reel waiting to happen at SS; very good range thanks to above-average speed, exceptional instincts, and quick first step; moves well to both sides and has a knack for making plays deep in the hole; very soft hands allow him to corral a variety of balls and handle bat hops with ease; easy plus defender that could max out as near double-plus long term; true SS glove. Grade – 6/6+
Arm: Fantastic arm strength; loves to show it off; lightning quick release leads to strong velocity and easy carry; very good accuracy on throws allows raw arm strength to play in games; can unleash strong throws from off-balance positions; elite arm. Grade – 8/8
Other: Injury marred career; needs improved durability that may come with added muscle that was evident in 2014; quiet confidence on the field; works hard and has a good head for the game.
Summary: Excellent glove that can hold down SS at an extremely high level; arm strength is elite and rounds out the defensive package; glove should give him MLB opportunities; above-average runner but has yet to truly figure out how to use speed in games; not an aggressive player; bat is light but has improved over last 12 months; has some strength and bat speed that allows line drives to carry to the outfield more; projects as below-average hitter with minimal power; glove first player.
Risk: Moderate risk; Bat still projects light; upper level track record is brief; has to prove game has more to it than just defense.
Projection: Should see consistent time as regular shortstop at Triple-A Toledo in 2015; has a chance to cement himself as a legitimate MLB prospect if the bat continues to come around and he hits for average and gets on base; could help defensively at MLB level immediately but more likely on 2016 MLB radar.
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