Exclusive Q&A with Marcos Vechionacci

Marcos Vechionacci burst onto the scene in 2004 and people were instantly awed by his performance as an 18 year old. "Nacci" speaks little English, but we conducted an exclusive interview in Spanish and translated it to give our readers a look at one of the system's most exciting teenage stars.

PinstripesPlus: When were you signed by the Yankees?

Marcos Vechionacci: The Yankees signed me on August 23 of 2002 before the word championship semi-finals that were carried out in Venezuela.

PP: You were a catcher in Venezuela before the Yankees signed you. Why did the Yankees elect to switch you to the infield?

Vechionacci: Yes, before I signed, I was a catcher yes. I think my time behind the plate produced good results too. But, when the Yankees came around and signed me, they wanted to try me at infield. They decided to start testing me at the infield positions and I started to think also that I was probably a better infielder than a catcher. Things worked out well.

PP: Before the Yankees signed you, were there any other teams interested in your services?

Vechionacci: Well, yes. The Seattle Mariners were interested in me, also. But, they were interested in me as a catcher and didn't want to move me to the infield.

PP: How did the organization first discover you?

Vechionacci: They first came represented by one of their Venezuelan scouts. His name was Hector Rincones. Then, he invited me to come to a training session with the Yankees. When I got there, that was the first time they really got to see me.

PP: When you were first signed, you were still incredibly young. What has helped you make the adjustments necessary to play at this high level?

Vechionacci: In reality, when I signed, I was still so young, 16 years old to be exact. I had barely begun to play a true competitive game in baseball yet. I had so many things to learn and helping me was the advice of my parents and friends that were always by my side.

PP: What would you say is your best quality as a player?

Vechionacci: Best quality? Well, I have two best qualities. I believe that I am a very good batter and a very good fielder as well. But, I am not satisfied with that at all. The only way I can keep getting better is to keep learning and keep practicing. I am just thankful I have the talent to start me off.

PP: We spoke to some of your 2004 teammates and the first thing they spoke of about you was how mature you are. What do you say to this?

Vechionacci: Well, as mature as I may be, I believe at this moment that I am learning something new everyday in baseball. But, I always remember occasions that happen on the baseball diamond that could happen to me at a later time. I am always thinking about the plays that are going on during the game and what I would do with the same situation.

PP: Tell us a little about your approach to hitting.

Vechionacci: My approach is really very simple. I just put my absolute focus on the point of contact. All my concentration is on making hard contact and driving the ball. I try to stay balanced and relaxed and let everything happen. I can't pick and choose where I want the ball to go in the field. I just go with every pitch and hit it where it should go. It is a simple approach but just concentrating on the ball and making the best contact is what it all comes down to.

PP: How well is your fielding progressing since making the switch from behind the plate?

Vechionacci: I learned to play the infield very well since the transition, but I am never going to stop learning. Through every training session I've been through, I've seen that there is always a way for me to get better. The more I improve in this and every other part of my game, the better chance I will have to get my shot in the big leagues someday.

PP: What were some things you learned while playing in the Dominican Summer League?

Vechionacci: I definitely learned a lot while playing there. The most important thing the coaches helped me with was my left handed batting. I had only been a switch hitter for three years before that and I am a natural righty. So, we just improved my left handed hitting while I was there. That helped a lot. I also learned a lot about how to carry myself on the field and during every play. Now, I know how to stay calm on the field and think through several different situations that might come my way.

PP: You were so young to be able to make it all the way up to Staten Island in 2004. What kind of experience was it for you to play at such a high level at such a young age?

Vechionacci: When I got to Staten Island, I knew why I was there. They brought me there because I was playing very well in the Gulf Coast League. So, when I started playing there, I didn't change anything that I was doing. It is true that I was very young but my individual role on that team was to do my work and help the team because they gave me an opportunity to play.

PP: Are you satisfied with the season you had in 2004?

Vechionacci: In 2004, I had a good year and it was a very nice start in the United States. But, every day of life, there is something new to learn. And, the way I look at it is that you can't just be comfortable with what you have done and settle for that. I know I can do more and even bigger and better things. I am always going to seek something better and higher with my life and the eventual goal will be to do something others might not. I'm going to do something better in my life, something great.

PP: Marcos, please briefly describe your overall style of play.

Vechionacci: My style of play is that when I arrive at the field, I immediately start focusing on what I have to do in the game. I never think about anything else. Then, once I step on the field at game time, I just try to give the best I have to offer on every play. But, the most important thing is that I do my part, being a part of something I can't do alone. It is my job to do my part that will help the team play good baseball as a whole.

PP: You are obviously a very patient hitter. How do you think you were able to develop this skill?

Vechionacci: I learned to be patient a few years ago when I was younger. I began to realize that it wouldn't hurt to start looking for a pitch to make even better contact with. I knew I made good contact so I could afford to let more pitches go by. Then, I realized how much more successful just seeing more pitches made me so I stayed with it.

PP: The organization has said that you will likely be the Opening Day shortstop in low A Charleston in 2005. What is your response to this?

Vechionacci: Right now, I am working out at shortstop and third base. They want me to be prepared to play either position once the season starts. It doesn't really matter to me because I am comfortable playing both positions. But, wherever they give me a chance to play, I will play. I am just happy they give me a chance.

PP: Do you think there is a difference in your hitting from the right and left hand side of the plate?

Vechionacci: In all honestly, no I don't think there is any difference. There might have been a couple years ago, but I am very balanced from each side now.

PP: What improvements are you looking to make heading into 2005?

Vechionacci: I want to keep learning how to be a better and better shortstop. I'm just going to continue training and working on my defense the same way I do with my offense.

PP: What MLB player would you best compare yourself to?

Vechionacci: Right now, I don't think there is anyone like me. I really couldn't compare myself to anyone. But, the one thing I would like to be associated with is me, for who I am, as the future of the New York Yankees. Then, I will be myself, a star player for a great team.

PP: Last thing, Marcos. What is something that Yankee fans should know about you?

Vechionacci: I think everyone should know that I truly count on the support of my family, my friends and my girlfriend. And, for that, I love them very much. I wouldn't be where I am without them.

PinstripesPlus.com would like to thank Marcos Vechionacci for his time and efforts in answering these questions.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus: When were you signed by the Yankees?\r\n

\r\nMarcos Vechionacci: The Yankees signed me on August 23 of 2002 before the word championship semi-finals that were carried out in Venezuela.\r\n

\r\nPP: You were a catcher in Venezuela before the Yankees signed you. Why did the Yankees elect to switch you to the infield?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Yes, before I signed, I was a catcher yes. I think my time behind the plate produced good results too. But, when the Yankees came around and signed me, they wanted to try me at infield. They decided to start testing me at the infield positions and I started to think also that I was probably a better infielder than a catcher. Things worked out well.\r\n

\r\nPP: Before the Yankees signed you, were there any other teams interested in your services?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Well, yes. The Seattle Mariners were interested in me, also. But, they were interested in me as a catcher and didn't want to move me to the infield.\r\n

\r\nPP: How did the organization first discover you?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: They first came represented by one of their Venezuelan scouts. His name was Hector Rincones. Then, he invited me to come to a training session with the Yankees. When I got there, that was the first time they really got to see me.\r\n

\r\nPP: When you were first signed, you were still incredibly young. What has helped you make the adjustments necessary to play at this high level?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: In reality, when I signed, I was still so young, 16 years old to be exact. I had barely begun to play a true competitive game in baseball yet. I had so many things to learn and helping me was the advice of my parents and friends that were always by my side.\r\n

\r\nPP: What would you say is your best quality as a player?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Best quality? Well, I have two best qualities. I believe that I am a very good batter and a very good fielder as well. But, I am not satisfied with that at all. The only way I can keep getting better is to keep learning and keep practicing. I am just thankful I have the talent to start me off.\r\n

\r\nPP: We spoke to some of your 2004 teammates and the first thing they spoke of about you was how mature you are. What do you say to this?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Well, as mature as I may be, I believe at this moment that I am learning something new everyday in baseball. But, I always remember occasions that happen on the baseball diamond that could happen to me at a later time. I am always thinking about the plays that are going on during the game and what I would do with the same situation.\r\n

\r\nPP: Tell us a little about your approach to hitting.\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: My approach is really very simple. I just put my absolute focus on the point of contact. All my concentration is on making hard contact and driving the ball. I try to stay balanced and relaxed and let everything happen. I can't pick and choose where I want the ball to go in the field. I just go with every pitch and hit it where it should go. It is a simple approach but just concentrating on the ball and making the best contact is what it all comes down to.\r\n

\r\nPP: How well is your fielding progressing since making the switch from behind the plate?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: I learned to play the infield very well since the transition, but I am never going to stop learning. Through every training session I've been through, I've seen that there is always a way for me to get better. The more I improve in this and every other part of my game, the better chance I will have to get my shot in the big leagues someday.\r\n

\r\nPP: What were some things you learned while playing in the Dominican Summer League?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: I definitely learned a lot while playing there. The most important thing the coaches helped me with was my left handed batting. I had only been a switch hitter for three years before that and I am a natural righty. So, we just improved my left handed hitting while I was there. That helped a lot. I also learned a lot about how to carry myself on the field and during every play. Now, I know how to stay calm on the field and think through several different situations that might come my way.\r\n

\r\nPP: You were so young to be able to make it all the way up to Staten Island in 2004. What kind of experience was it for you to play at such a high level at such a young age?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: When I got to Staten Island, I knew why I was there. They brought me there because I was playing very well in the Gulf Coast League. So, when I started playing there, I didn't change anything that I was doing. It is true that I was very young but my individual role on that team was to do my work and help the team because they gave me an opportunity to play.\r\n

\r\nPP: Are you satisfied with the season you had in 2004?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: In 2004, I had a good year and it was a very nice start in the United States. But, every day of life, there is something new to learn. And, the way I look at it is that you can't just be comfortable with what you have done and settle for that. I know I can do more and even bigger and better things. I am always going to seek something better and higher with my life and the eventual goal will be to do something others might not. I'm going to do something better in my life, something great.\r\n

\r\nPP: Marcos, please briefly describe your overall style of play.\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: My style of play is that when I arrive at the field, I immediately start focusing on what I have to do in the game. I never think about anything else. Then, once I step on the field at game time, I just try to give the best I have to offer on every play. But, the most important thing is that I do my part, being a part of something I can't do alone. It is my job to do my part that will help the team play good baseball as a whole.\r\n

\r\nPP: You are obviously a very patient hitter. How do you think you were able to develop this skill?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: I learned to be patient a few years ago when I was younger. I began to realize that it wouldn't hurt to start looking for a pitch to make even better contact with. I knew I made good contact so I could afford to let more pitches go by. Then, I realized how much more successful just seeing more pitches made me so I stayed with it.\r\n

\r\nPP: The organization has said that you will likely be the Opening Day shortstop in low A Charleston in 2005. What is your response to this?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Right now, I am working out at shortstop and third base. They want me to be prepared to play either position once the season starts. It doesn't really matter to me because I am comfortable playing both positions. But, wherever they give me a chance to play, I will play. I am just happy they give me a chance.\r\n

\r\nPP: Do you think there is a difference in your hitting from the right and left hand side of the plate?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: In all honestly, no I don't think there is any difference. There might have been a couple years ago, but I am very balanced from each side now.\r\n

\r\nPP: What improvements are you looking to make heading into 2005?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: I want to keep learning how to be a better and better shortstop. I'm just going to continue training and working on my defense the same way I do with my offense.\r\n

\r\nPP: What MLB player would you best compare yourself to?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: Right now, I don't think there is anyone like me. I really couldn't compare myself to anyone. But, the one thing I would like to be associated with is me, for who I am, as the future of the New York Yankees. Then, I will be myself, a star player for a great team.\r\n

\r\nPP: Last thing, Marcos. What is something that Yankee fans should know about you?\r\n

\r\nVechionacci: I think everyone should know that I truly count on the support of my family, my friends and my girlfriend. And, for that, I love them very much. I wouldn't be where I am without them.\r\n

\r\nPinstripesPlus.com would like to thank Marcos Vechionacci for his time and efforts in answering these questions.\r\n","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2005-02-20T16:10:00","authorOverride":"Frankie Piliere","role":"","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:172044]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:172044]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"158","name":"New York 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