Scouting Report: SS, Vince Conde

The Yankees selected Vince Conde in the ninth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt University. A three year starter for one of the nation's elite college baseball programs, he has always been known for his defense-first approach and solid overall game.

[Photo by Robert Pimpsner]

Vital Statistics:
Name: Vince Conde
Position: Shortstop
DOB: October 13, 1993
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

One of the team leaders at Vanderbilt, he had an inauspicious debut season in Staten Island this past season, hitting just .224 with no home runs after getting a late start due to Vanderbilt's deep College World Series run in 2014.

"It was good," Conde said of his debut season. "It was definitely a good experience to get to see what professional baseball actually looks like and the difference between college and that. It's your job now. You play against the best of the best. It was definitely a good experience.

"I felt like I did okay. I didn't like the way I hit for the most part because I was very up and down and didn't finish too high but I felt like I learned a lot. I know what I need to be ready. I did okay but it was a learning experience."

The biggest thing he learned rather quickly?

"Hitting is going to be different," he admitted. "You're not just going up there swinging the bat, you definitely have to have more of a plan [at the professional level] and strategy."

With just four extra-base hits total in his 38-game introduction to professional baseball, there weren't a whole lot of offensive positives. He did, however, draw 19 walks which was good for fourth on the team despite playing so few games.

"I take pitches and I can walk a lot," he said. "I think that's one of my strengths. I think I have good bat control. I can hit the ball and I don't swing and miss a lot."

Trying to take the positives and learn from the negatives, Conde believes his first taste of pro ball was all about getting his feet wet and trying to figure out what adjustments need to be made.

"I did [have a plan] for the most part but the way they pitch you is a little different, they have scouting reports on you so obviously they're going to throw to your weaknesses.

"I also learned how to stick to a routine. If you do fail a little bit don't get too caught up in having to change things up. It's more about sticking to your routine and doing what you do well. In baseball you're going to have lows and you're going to have highs so you have to stay in the middle."

His limited debut numbers aside, Conde had always been known as more solid and steady than spectacular at the plate. And while he isn't too keen on the numbers he posted in Staten Island, he is sure he can a whole lot better offensively going forward.

"I think a lot [better]," he opined. "I'm playing in this Winter League here [in Puerto Rico] and I think it's helping me a lot because I'm playing with a lot of veterans, guys that are 28 and 30 years old, some even are 34 and 35 and been in professional baseball for a long time.

"I've talked to them and asked them about plans, approaches, and you learn that in baseball you can keep learning. I'm definitely going to be a better hitter with the more that I learn."

Known for his consistent defensive play in the field at shortstop, Conde has some experience playing second base back in high school and realizes he will probably have to work that back into his defensive repertoire to increase his versatility and subsequently his long-term big league chances, not to mention the growing glut of young shortstop prospects currently at the lower minor league levels for the Yankees could potentially take away some immediate playing time as well.

"Obviously I have experience," he listed as his pros in comparison to other shortstop prospects currently in the system. "I'm older than most of those guys so my experience comes into play there. I'm very secure defensively and I know I can hit too so adding in the experience I think it adds up so I can be in the same talks [as those guys]."

He is a realist though and acknowledges that it won't be easy to fend off the likes of Jorge Mateo, Abiatal Avelino, Tyler Wade, and others for playing time in the short-term. It is a main reason why the first-year pro is already playing winter league ball..

Kind of thrown into the proverbial fire already, Conde is excited about seeing his game potentially grow and perhaps force his way into higher prospect discussions after his upcoming first full season in 2015.

"I'm definitely very excited. I've never had an offseason where you can train just for baseball; get stronger, work on hitting, and just focus on baseball. And that's what I've been doing. I think it's helping a lot.

"I'm getting stronger, I'm working on approaches, working on hitting, working on fielding, everything. I'm just focused on baseball and not on school also, and this is the first time. I'm definitely excited to show what I can do and do better for myself too," he concluded.














2014 Staten Island .224 134 4 0 16 17 6 19 31 .323 .254

Batting and Power. For all of his lackluster numbers in his debut season the fact is Conde actually has a consistently solid approach at the plate. He shows advanced patience and pitch recognition, a short and compact swing, and a willingness to use the whole field. He is, and should be, a better hitter than he's shown thus far. More of a line-drive hitter, however, he has below average home run potential without much room to get better so the bat most likely will have little productive impact.

Base Running and Speed. Just like with the bat, Conde's speed is more average than anything. He'll swipe a few bases here and there so pitchers will have to keep him honest but his impact in the running game is limited more to his heady station to station running style.

Defense. It's on the defensive side where Conde excels. While he isn't overly quick he has a knack for setting himself up in proper position, he gets excellent reads off of the bat, and does show good lateral movement. Throw in above average arm strength, even though the actual range may only flash average potential, the totality of his mental and physical package does allow it to play a level higher consistently. He's both steady and reliable in the field, and he'll occasionally make the amazing play look pretty routine.

Projection. Defensively Conde is already a big league shortstop. Offensively, however, and most notably with his lack of any useful power, his chances of realizing that kind of starting potential are long indeed. If he can begin to show a bit more offensive production though and add second base [and perhaps a third position] to his arsenal, he could carve himself a potential middle infield reserve role someday. Possessing more in the lines of a Ramiro Pena/Brendan Ryan-like ceiling, he's basically going to have to hit his way up the minor leagues though to continue to get his chances.

ETA. N/A. First and foremost Conde is going to have to fight his way into the A-ball shortstop mix before any realistic big league ETA can be attempted. His immediate track should have him either in low-A Charleston to begin the 2015 campaign or more likely in high-A Tampa as a reserve middle infielder. Should he begin to hit his way into more playing time he could begin to move a bit quicker but for now it's a wait and see proposition.

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