If you glance at the A’s squad overall, many of the guys are utility players without the actual term attached to them. The Chad Pinders and Tony Kemps of the world are beneficial despite not having one primary position
Vimael Machin also is one of the players who provides versatility to the team. This tactic is something he has embraced and learned from observing. And he’s on the perfect team to do so.
“Last year I learned a lot from looking at [Matt Chapman], [Matt Olson], and Pinder,” Machin told reporters on Wednesday. “We all know they’re great players, but the way they went with batting practice, it was something that I looked at them and I learned so much that this year, that’s how I’ve been working. I’ve been doing my own thing.”
Machin hit .206 in 24 games with the A’s last season. During his recent time playing in the Dominican Winter League, however, he hit .345/435/.379 with 20 hits and was the walk-off hit in a championship game … in front of nine-time All-Star catcher Yadier Molina.
Machin also finds himself being one of the guys mentioned in the second base position battle along with Pinder, who got the Opening Day nod last season, Kemp and Jed Lowrie, who signed a minor league deal with the A’s in the offseason.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just got to keep working hard and give 100 percent every time,” Machin said.
In all fairness, most of us don’t know what’ll happen either -- Melvin and the A’s will have a tough decision to make.
“This year I feel like I’m a different player and obviously that has to do with my early work, the way I go with my routine and that’s something that’s been helping me so far with spring training games,” Machin said.
He’s also been observing Pinder.
“Most of the days we’re in the same group so I always follow him, I learn from him,” Machin said. “He works hard at every position and that’s something nowadays most if not all the teams in baseball like that versatility of moving around in the infield/outfield, and that’s something that watching him I’ve been learning.”
Machin said it was something he learned from 14-year veteran Ben Zobrist as well during their time with the Chicago Cubs.
Machin was a Rule 5 Draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Cubs and was flipped to the A’s in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2019.
Now he gets to learn from veteran infielder Elvis Andrus.
“He’s a leader for sure,” Machin said. “He’s always ready to go. I’ve been taking a lot of reps at shortstop with him. I’ve learned a lot from him as well. He’s a guy that’s not afraid to tell you if you’re wrong and that’s something that as a player and as a teammate you like to have because that means with him, there’s good chemistry on this team.”
It's too early to tell who's ahead in the position battle, but Machin had a solid game at the plate on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers. That only makes the competition at second base that much more difficult.