PP Scouting Report: SS, Marcos Vechionacci

The question is asked very frequently. That question is just how good is Marcos Vechionacci? Is what he showed us, this season, for real? It is hard to tell but, right now, all signs point to greatness for Marcos Vechionacci.

Vital Statistics
Name: Marcos Vechionacci
Position: Shortstop
DOB: August 7, 1986
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 170
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
How Acquired: The New York Yankees signed Marcos Vechionacci as a non drafted free agent out of Venezuela prior to the 2003 season.

It is difficult to remember, at times, that Marcos Vechionacci is still only 18 years of age. That's right, barely 18 years old. To put it in perspective, he is the equivalent of a high school senior in the United States, playing professional baseball. Thinking of it in that way makes it all the more impressive. Scouts were amazed by Vechionacci as he exploded onto the scene of professional baseball in the United States. The question was, how could a player so young and inexperienced seem so in control of his game at all times? Most of the season, Marcos was a 17 year old that was blowing guys away that were, on average, at least a few years older than he was. How is that for impressive? But, "Nacci" hasn't exactly been a forgotten man. If anything, he has gotten bogged down with praise in only his first partial season. We can only imagine the kind of praise he will get next year if he continues his torrid hitting.

"Sometimes you forget just how young he is," said Yankees roaming infield instructor, Andy Stankiewicz. "He is so smooth at the plate and is always relaxed. It is hard to find that in such a young guy. He is just barely 18 years old. He also has the frame to fill into so that should help him as well. Once he gets bigger and stronger, filling out, he could be something very special." Stankiewicz did a lot of work with Vechionacci this season and last season and there is no one better to critique Marcos than him. For an incredibly young player, Vechionacci defies the general consensus of how young players should perform in the field. He committed 10 errors between Staten Island and the Gulf Coast League in 55 games but the number of errors is not the critical matter here. The comfort level that Vechionacci had in each position he played at was amazing. He split time between shortstop, third base and even some second base. Each position he played at, he showed he could make a transition and that he had the raw tools to play there. However, the organization now believes that they are going to play him at shortstop next year until he "outgrows it." "I can say that it looks like Marcos Vechionacci will be our starting shortstop [in Charleston next year]. He impresses me and everyone else as much as anybody," said Battle Creek Yankees manager, Bill Mosiello. "Nacci" will play there until he outgrows the position. He is too good to be playing second base and his range is good enough to play shortstop." As a shortstop, and with his rock solid defensive ability, Marcos has a chance to flourish as a top prospect at a very glamorous position.

Well, we now have heard the story on Marcos Vechionacci and everyone seems to say the same general thing. He is in control and he is as steady as they come. The maturity he has is second to none right now to any player of his age. Over and over again, scouts have said that he is a young player that can flat out hit. It was very impressive what he put up statistically in the Gulf Coast League this year but perhaps even more impressive was that he was just as outstanding when he was promoted to short season Staten Island. You have to remember that the average age for players in that league is around 22 years old. And at the time Vechionacci played there, he was only 17 years of age. To put it in perspective, when one of the most dominating pitchers in the NY-Penn League this year and teammate of Vechionacci's, Jesse Hoover, was asked which one of his mates he would least like to face, he quickly answered "Marcos Vechionacci". "Nacci is tough because he's so smooth, you never catch him over swinging." Oddly enough, another Staten Island Yankee pitcher, Mike Martinez answered in the same fashion.

After a superb first professional season, there is not one member of the Yankee organization that isn't chomping at the bit to see this kid play in his first full season. That will likely occur as he is likely to be the opening day shortstop for Charleston in 2005. One has to remember that it is not too often that this Yankee organization is so aggressive in their promotional process. It was a very bold move to put the 17 year old Vechionacci in Staten Island this year to face pitchers that were, in many cases, 4 years older than he was. But, a .393 OBP with Staten Island soon put any worries to rest. Granted, he was sent back to the Gulf Coast League after his stint with Staten Island but it was not due to poor performance. "We definitely missed him after he left [Staten Island]," said teammate, Mike Martinez. I think they felt he could help the GCL team win since they were in the hunt for the playoffs, and our team in Staten Island was struggling and had little chance to make the playoffs." Basically, that is all there is to it. Maybe it was a test to see if he really needed to play at that level in 2005 or not. Well, they got their answer. There will be no need for a pit stop in Staten Island next year. "Nacci" will be rolling on to Charleston next year and no matter who you are, a player with the talent of Marcos Vechionacci brings the excitement that only a special type of player can bring.


Year

Team

AVG

AB

2b

HR

RBI

R

SB BB SO OBP

SLG

2004

GCL

.336

131

9

4

22

24

0 12 19 .392

.511

2004

Staten Island

.292

72

5

0

8

13

0 11 13 .393

.361


Batting and Power. There really can't be enough said about the pure offensive capabilities of Marcos Vechionacci. He makes contact, he has big power potential, he controls the bat phenomenally and his patience is out of this world for a teenage hitter. The amazing thing is that he has so much room to fill out. Right now, he only weighs in at 170 pounds. One can only imagine what an offensive force he could be when he puts 20 pounds of strength on his wiry frame. His natural loft and pop on his swing will only increase into big time power. "Nacci" appears to be the type of player to hit over .300 and also hit 30 home runs. There is no doubt that his offensive capabilities are through the roof. He is also equally dangerous from both sides of the plate.

Base running and Speed. It appears that Vechionacci has slightly above average wheels but not outstanding speed. Even so, he has not mastered the art of base stealing by any stretch of the imagination. This 2005 season will be key though. If he can show that he is a run producing type of hitter, the idea of base stealing will be put on the back burner. But, if he proves to be more of a top of the lineup sparkplug, he will have to improve his base stealing ability. However, for a young player, he has good instincts on the base paths. Again, he always seems in control and never panics when he is on base. Also, he has very solid range in the infield.

Defense. Although it looks like Vechionacci could play 2b, 3b or shortstop, the organization is taking the idea of him playing shortstop and running with it. Vechionacci certainly has the soft hands for it, that is for sure. To go along with his solid range, Vechionacci makes for an excellent defender. His arm is slightly above which is most of the reason he will probably never play second base. There is no doubt that he can hold his own at shortstop but the question is will he outgrow that position as he gets bigger and stronger? Only time will tell.

Projection. With no exaggeration, the sky is the limit for Marcos Vechionacci. 2005 will be a huge season for Marcos. It could be a season that propels him to elite prospect status or the year that he levels off. But, right now, it appears that it should be the former of the two. We know all the tools he has but what type of player will all these tools translate into? It is easy to say that he will someday be an offensive force from the shortstop position but if his bat becomes too big, he may also end up at third base. The possibilities are truly limitless for this potential superstar.

ETA.2008. Yes, it is always difficult to project when a guy could possibly make his major league debut. But, it makes it even harder when that player is only 18 years old. At this point, it appears pretty certain that Vechionacci will play in Charleston this season and will likely remain there for the whole season no matter what. Then, in 2006 he could start in Tampa and quickly bolt to AA. Of course, this is all speculation and anything could happen in this span of time. But, 2007 looks to be Vechionacci's year for AAA ball. Then, in 2008, it might be time to fit him for the pinstripes.


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