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Oakland A’s prospect watch: Vimael Machin earns first MLB hit

Hitting Machin!

Oakland Athletics v San Francisco Giants
Hitting Macin!
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It took 10 tries, but Vimael Machin is finally on the board in the majors.

The Oakland A’s rookie recorded his first MLB hit on Saturday, an opposite-field line drive single against the last-place San Francisco Giants.

The A’s acquired Machin last winter after another club picked him in the Rule 5 draft, meaning he’s under those draft guidelines and must remain on the active roster all season. The 26-year-old barely has any experience above Double-A and he doesn’t hit for much power, but he brings the left-handed bat, contact skills, and on-base ability that Oakland was looking for in candidates for their unsettled second base position. Click here for more details.

Machin, 2019 AA: .294/.386/.403, 129 wRC+, 6 HR, 12.7% BB, 11.4% Ks

Despite making the Opening Day roster, playing time has been hard to come by for Machin, amid the A’s crowded and talented contending squad. Entering Saturday he’d only appeared in four games, including one start at each of second base and DH, and at the plate he’d gone 0-for-8 with a walk, a strikeout, and two double plays. Getting the nod against a righty starter over the struggling Khris Davis, Machin was looking to do something about that .000 batting average.

It only took him three pitches to get it done. Leading off the 3rd inning against Giants starter Kevin Gausman, he lined the 0-2 pitch the other way to left field for a clean single.

It was solid contact, registering 94.1 mph, just a hair below “hard hit.” With enough loft to make it a liner over the infielders, that batted ball goes for a hit 71% of the time according to Statcast, so this wasn’t a cheapie. Machin earned a legit single.

It was also meaningful in the game. A couple batters later, Marcus Semien homered to drive home Machin, in a game that was eventually decided by just one run in the final inning.

Given his status as an inexperienced minor leaguer operating under Rule 5 restrictions, the best way to look at Machin is as a future prospect being stashed on the bench while rosters are conveniently expanded. He might not get much playing time, and he might not turn out to be quite MLB-ready when he does take the field in 2020, but that’s OK because the A’s don’t really need the bench spot anyway and Machin is a long-term play. As a bonus on Saturday, though, he got the chance to do something positive and contribute to a winning cause, and mark a personal milestone along the way.

Welcome to the Machin!