June 30, 2022 - 4:07 pm
As the Aviators near the midway point of their season, infielder Vimael Machin has emerged as one of the top hitters in the Pacific Coast League.
His hitting has helped the Aviators, who return to Las Vegas Ballpark on Friday night for a three-game series against the Round Rock Express, hold onto first place in the PCL West.
Machin’s play has caught the attention of the parent club Oakland Athletics, who called up Machin to their roster Thursday afternoon.
“Ever since I’ve been around (Machin), he’s always been labeled as a natural hitter. And he is,” Aviators hitting coach Brian McArn said.
At the time of his call up, Machin led the PCL in hits (83) and in the month of June has hit safely in 21 of 23 games with a .400 batting average.
“I’ve been getting my pitches to hit, so it’s a great feeling when you’re seeing the ball well and you’re doing damage,” Machin said.
Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Machin was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB draft. In 2019 he was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 draft, and was then traded to the A’s organization that winter.
He appeared in 39 total games between the 2020 and 2021 season, and was optioned outright to the Aviators prior to the 2022 season.
During his stints with the A’s, Machin found it challenging to find his rhythm because he wasn’t playing every day. But it taught him to be ready at any moment he could be called on to play.
The entire Aviators staff has seen Machin apply what he learned in the big leagues to help with his consistency at the plate and is confident he’ll have a quality at-bat.
“Whenever your approach is as good as his, you’re gonna get good results,” Aviators manager Fran Riordan said. And he hasn’t come off his approach and he’s not giving anything away.”
Machin spends most of his off-field preparation reading scouting reports and watching tape on opposing pitchers to get an understanding on how often they throw certain pitches. When he steps to the plate, Machin said he tries not to overthink and taking a pitch-by-pitch approach.
“That mental state helped him have these consistent at-bats,” McArn said. “He’s having major league at-bats day in and day out.”
Machin is the definition of a utility player, in 64 games with the Aviators, he’s played at all four infield positions. Early in his career, Machin found it hard to leave his comfort zone in the middle of the infield.
In his time in the Chicago Cubs organization, Machin drew inspiration from Ben Zobrist’s ability to play multiple positions and it showed him a way he could add value to his game.
“I was comfortable at it,” Machin said. “And most of the teams nowadays like having that utility guy that can play everywhere.”
Machin called his first two stints with the A’s “a great experience.” This time around, he said he’ll draw back on what he learned his first two times in the majors to help the A’s in whatever role he is needed.
“That helps me get better every day, be ready and be in the moment, one day at a time,” Machin said. “When I have that chance, I’ll just give it my all.”