Infielder David MacKinnon is signing with the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the 2023 campaign, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (Twitter link). The 28-year-old had been non-tendered by the A’s at the end of this past season.
MacKinnon entered the professional ranks with little fanfare, a 32nd-round draftee of the Angels in 2017. A University of Hartford product, he eventually played his way to the highest level with a .294/.412/.464 showing in parts of five minor league seasons. That included a massive .324/.429/.631 mark with 14 home runs through 273 plate appearances in his first crack with Triple-A Salt Lake this year. The Angels selected his contract in mid-June, and he broke into MLB with 16 games for the Halos.
On the day of the trade deadline, Anaheim lost MacKinnon to the A’s via waiver claim. He spent the rest of the season in a depth role, appearing six times in MLB and in 16 Triple-A games in the Oakland organization. MacKinnon hit .297/.370/.422 with their top affiliate in Las Vegas but didn’t make much of an impact in his brief big league look at either stop. Between the Angels and Athletics, he hit .140/.228/.140 in 57 trips to the plate.
While the Massachusetts native didn’t get much of a chance to establish himself in the majors, his very impressive Triple-A work caught the attention of evaluators in Japan. He’ll head to the Lions for at least one season, bringing a high-OBP bat to the mix. MacKinnon walked in an excellent 14.2% of his Triple-A plate appearances while striking out just 18.2% of the time. He’s a bat-first player who has spent the majority of his professional career at first base, although he also started 10 Triple-A games at the hot corner this year.