Vimael Machin may be on last chance to prove himself

Sep 26, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Vimael Machin (31) lays down a sacrifice bunt against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Vimael Machin (31) lays down a sacrifice bunt against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vimael Machin is the type of player that the Oakland A’s love to have on their roster. He makes contact, can play every position in the infield, and can draw a walk. It was certainly not a surprise that the A’s not only acquired Machin from the Phillies during the Rule V Draft in 2019, but made certain to keep him on the active roster in 2020 to retain his services.

Although he had spent the majority of the 2021 season back in Triple-A, Machin does not have much left to prove in the minors. He has a career .296/.399/.475 batting line in his 449 Triple-A plate appearances, hitting 12 homers and 18 doubles. During that time, he has struck out just 81 times while drawing 62 walks. Machin would seem to be ready for the majors.

Vimael Machin needs to prove himself at major league level

The problem is that his minor league production has yet to translate to the majors. While the contact is there, as he has struck out just 20 times in 108 plate appearances while drawing 11 walks, Machin has a meager .179/.264/.200 batting line with just two doubles. In fact, none of his four hits in 2021 even left the infield.

But Machin has been better than his statistics would indicate. Despite not barreling many balls, his 88.9 MPH average exit velocity is better than league average. He has also hit the ball hard in 37.7% of his plate appearances, another mark that is better than league average.

Based on his metrics, Machin should have a career .240/.289/.324 batting line. Those numbers are not exactly going to set the world afire, but that is similar to what Elvis Andrus produced this year. With more of an opportunity and some better luck with the batted ball, Machin could be a useful piece, even if it is in a utility role.

The issue is that Machin needs to do something with his opportunities. While he has had limited action, he has not forced his way into the lineup with his performance. That needs to change quickly or Machin will be labeled as a Quad-A player, someone who is a good enough depth piece in the minors, but will only get major league action in case of emergency.

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Vimael Machin has done everything he can in the minors. It is now time for him to prove to the Oakland A’s that he can be a major league asset.

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