Yankees Prospect #15: Marcos Vechionacci

The New York Yankees signed then 16-year old Marcos Vechionacci as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2002. One of the smoothest defensive players, he struggled mightily in his first taste of the Florida State League but rediscovered his stroke in a return trip to Charleston last season. Here's a scouting report on Marcos Vechionacci.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Marcos Vechionacci
Position: Third Base
DOB: August 7, 1986
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 185
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

"I started off hitting well," Vechionacci explained through the help of Mario Holmann translating. "Then I fell into a slump that I couldn't get out of. [The Florida State League] is a tough league. There are a lot of good pitchers you go up against."

"A lot of the pitchers have been there for a couple seasons," he continued. "[The pitchers in high-A] are a lot more experienced [than the pitchers in low-A]. They don't rely on the pitching coach for a way to pitch, they know how to get you out based on their own knowledge."

When he began the 2006 season collecting multi-hit games in three of his first nine games with the Tampa Yankees, nobody could have predicted the subsequent freefall he would later experience.

He finished the second half of April going hitless in 12 consecutive games, not because he lacked ability, but because the Yankees were changing his swing to get him more balanced at the plate and the adjustments didn't come quick enough for the 19-year old.

"He could try to go out right now with certain mechanical flaws to just to compete in the game, but he's not going to get better," Tampa hitting coach James Rowson told PinstripesPlus.com back in April. "He's now getting his work done early to correct some of his flaws and then be able to take that swing out with him consistently."

Despite showing more success after his early season slump, the Yankees decided to make wholesale changes to their Tampa squad, including sending 'Nacci' back to the South Atlantic League to build up his confidence and better practice the changes made to his swing.

"No, these guys are talented," said Yankees Latin American Coordinator Carlos Rios. "We pushed them. They are young, 19-years old, we tried to do something different with them, and it didn't work out this year. He went back [to the South Atlantic League] and did well. He is still talented. Everybody has to realize that these guys are just kids and they don't know how to deal with failure yet."

Playing the majority of the 2006 season as a 19-year old, even though he hit just .255 in his return to Charleston, Vechionacci seemed to have dealt with failure pretty well by drawing more walks than strikeouts and continuing to display the presence of a big league veteran at the plate.

If the batting average was disappointing and a negative in his 2006 performance, the development of his power surely wasn't. While he hit just eight home runs last season, it accounts for exactly half of his career home runs and the Yankees were very pleased with the development of that facet of his game.

"Everybody throughout their careers are constantly making adjustments," said Yankees Farm Director Pat Roessler, who also served as Charleston's manager the second-half of the season. "But he did a good job with it, started driving the ball, hit some more home runs and really you started seeing the power come out in his swing."

"As far as his stock falling, no, not at all. If anything, it's grown because you start seeing the power develop. Even guys like Robin Ventura and even Don Mattingly when they were coming up didn't hit a lot of home runs early in their career. They hit a lot of balls deep in the gaps, physically matured, and they started driving some balls out of the ball park. I think the same thing is going to happen with 'Vech'."

While Vechionacci's critics will point to his numbers in Tampa and demotion to Charleston as a negative, Carlos Rios wants those same people to remember that sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered to jump-start a player's career.

"Remember we had Melky [Cabrera] in the big leagues, sent him back to Triple-A and then back down to Double-A, and then the next year he's playing in the big leagues everyday," said Rios. "Sometimes these changes will make you stronger in the end. I think that's what is going to happen with [Vechionacci]."

And while some fans and critics are growing a bit impatient with his development, Vechionacci continues to remain confident and realizes he has time on his side.

"I'm just trying to keep getting better," Vechionacci concluded. "I'm focusing on looking to the future and I'm just happy to be playing baseball. I have a long way to go with the process and I'm just [20]."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2006

Tampa

.178

135

3

1

15

15

1

11

29

.242

.237

2006

Charleston

.255

368

15

7

44

56

7

55

52

.357

.386

2005

Charleston

.252

503

26

2

62

83

16

43

83

.314

.348

2004

Staten Island

.292

72

5

0

8

13

0

11

13

.393

.361

2004

Gulf Coast

.336

131

9

4

22

24

5

12

19

.392

.511



Batting and Power. Vechionacci's career .263 batting average hides the fact that he is already a professional hitter. He is one of the more patient and selective hitters in the entire farm system and as a switch-hitter, he employs the same approach and has equal success from both sides of the plate. A very good gap hitter, 'Nacci' has been able to add some strength to his once slender frame and his doubles are beginning to become home runs as he continues to mature.

Base Running and Speed. Vechionacci uses his athleticism and solid footwork to be a factor on the base paths. While he isn't an above average runner overall, he is for a corner infielder. He is an intelligent base runner who will swipe the occasional base. He is also a lot quicker once in motion and he has the wheels to turn doubles into triples.

Defense. Forget his 23 errors in 2006 as his offensive struggles probably carried over into the field. With his soft hands, strong arm, and innate reactionary skills, Vechionacci is a smooth defensive player that was born to play the hot corner. Joe Torre and the Yankees are already very excited about his Gold Glove potential at third base.

Projection. Vechionacci's slip in the rankings isn't because of his lack of production, but rather just a product of the increasing depth in the Yankees farm system. With his plate presence, ability to make contact, developing power, and defensive game, he projects to be a starting third baseman at the big league level who offensively has the talent to compare to Chipper Jones of the Braves as a high-average hitter with above average power once he physically matures. Don't let his struggles in 2006 fool you - he is still a top-notch prospect.

ETA. 2010. What his struggles did do - and even though we put his ETA at 2009 a year ago but alluded to the fact he may need another year - is push his ETA back a year. Vechionacci should be Tampa's starting third baseman again in 2007. With his talent and approach, he is a breakout candidate. But with the Florida State League a notorious hitters' league, that breakout may not happen until he reaches Double-A, which is not out of the question at some point next season.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n \r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Marcos Vechionacci
\r\nPosition: Third Base
\r\nDOB: August 7, 1986
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 185
\r\nBats: Both
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I started off hitting well,\" Vechionacci explained through the help of Mario Holmann translating. \"Then I fell into a slump that I couldn't get out of. [The Florida State League] is a tough league. There are a lot of good pitchers you go up against.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"A lot of the pitchers have been there for a couple seasons,\" he continued. \"[The pitchers in high-A] are a lot more experienced [than the pitchers in low-A]. They don't rely on the pitching coach for a way to pitch, they know how to get you out based on their own knowledge.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhen he began the 2006 season collecting multi-hit games in three of his first nine games with the Tampa Yankees, nobody could have predicted the subsequent freefall he would later experience.
\r\n
\r\nHe finished the second half of April going hitless in 12 consecutive games, not because he lacked ability, but because the Yankees were changing his swing to get him more balanced at the plate and the adjustments didn't come quick enough for the 19-year old.
\r\n
\r\n\"He could try to go out right now with certain mechanical flaws to just to compete in the game, but he's not going to get better,\" Tampa hitting coach James Rowson told PinstripesPlus.com back in April. \"He's now getting his work done early to correct some of his flaws and then be able to take that swing out with him consistently.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite showing more success after his early season slump, the Yankees decided to make wholesale changes to their Tampa squad, including sending 'Nacci' back to the South Atlantic League to build up his confidence and better practice the changes made to his swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"No, these guys are talented,\" said Yankees Latin American Coordinator Carlos Rios. \"We pushed them. They are young, 19-years old, we tried to do something different with them, and it didn't work out this year. He went back [to the South Atlantic League] and did well. He is still talented. Everybody has to realize that these guys are just kids and they don't know how to deal with failure yet.\"
\r\n
\r\nPlaying the majority of the 2006 season as a 19-year old, even though he hit just .255 in his return to Charleston, Vechionacci seemed to have dealt with failure pretty well by drawing more walks than strikeouts and continuing to display the presence of a big league veteran at the plate.
\r\n
\r\nIf the batting average was disappointing and a negative in his 2006 performance, the development of his power surely wasn't. While he hit just eight home runs last season, it accounts for exactly half of his career home runs and the Yankees were very pleased with the development of that facet of his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everybody throughout their careers are constantly making adjustments,\" said Yankees Farm Director Pat Roessler, who also served as Charleston's manager the second-half of the season. \"But he did a good job with it, started driving the ball, hit some more home runs and really you started seeing the power come out in his swing.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"As far as his stock falling, no, not at all. If anything, it's grown because you start seeing the power develop. Even guys like Robin Ventura and even Don Mattingly when they were coming up didn't hit a lot of home runs early in their career. They hit a lot of balls deep in the gaps, physically matured, and they started driving some balls out of the ball park. I think the same thing is going to happen with 'Vech'.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Vechionacci's critics will point to his numbers in Tampa and demotion to Charleston as a negative, Carlos Rios wants those same people to remember that sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered to jump-start a player's career.
\r\n
\r\n\"Remember we had Melky [Cabrera] in the big leagues, sent him back to Triple-A and then back down to Double-A, and then the next year he's playing in the big leagues everyday,\" said Rios. \"Sometimes these changes will make you stronger in the end. I think that's what is going to happen with [Vechionacci].\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd while some fans and critics are growing a bit impatient with his development, Vechionacci continues to remain confident and realizes he has time on his side.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to keep getting better,\" Vechionacci concluded. \"I'm focusing on looking to the future and I'm just happy to be playing baseball. I have a long way to go with the process and I'm just [20].\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n 2B

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

\r\n R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n .178

\r\n

\r\n 135

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n .242

\r\n

\r\n .237

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n .255

\r\n

\r\n 368

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 44

\r\n

\r\n 56

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 55

\r\n

\r\n 52

\r\n

\r\n .357

\r\n

\r\n .386

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n .252

\r\n

\r\n 503

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 62

\r\n

\r\n 83

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 43

\r\n

\r\n 83

\r\n

\r\n .314

\r\n

\r\n .348

\r\n

\r\n 2004

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n .292

\r\n

\r\n 72

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n .393

\r\n

\r\n .361

\r\n

\r\n 2004

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast

\r\n

\r\n .336

\r\n

\r\n 131

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 24

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n .392

\r\n

\r\n .511


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Vechionacci's career .263 batting average hides the fact that he is already a professional hitter. He is one of the more patient and selective hitters in the entire farm system and as a switch-hitter, he employs the same approach and has equal success from both sides of the plate. A very good gap hitter, 'Nacci' has been able to add some strength to his once slender frame and his doubles are beginning to become home runs as he continues to mature.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Vechionacci uses his athleticism and solid footwork to be a factor on the base paths. While he isn't an above average runner overall, he is for a corner infielder. He is an intelligent base runner who will swipe the occasional base. He is also a lot quicker once in motion and he has the wheels to turn doubles into triples.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Forget his 23 errors in 2006 as his offensive struggles probably carried over into the field. With his soft hands, strong arm, and innate reactionary skills, Vechionacci is a smooth defensive player that was born to play the hot corner. Joe Torre and the Yankees are already very excited about his Gold Glove potential at third base.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Vechionacci's slip in the rankings isn't because of his lack of production, but rather just a product of the increasing depth in the Yankees farm system. With his plate presence, ability to make contact, developing power, and defensive game, he projects to be a starting third baseman at the big league level who offensively has the talent to compare to Chipper Jones of the Braves as a high-average hitter with above average power once he physically matures. Don't let his struggles in 2006 fool you - he is still a top-notch prospect.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2010. What his struggles did do - and even though we put his ETA at 2009 a year ago but alluded to the fact he may need another year - is push his ETA back a year. Vechionacci should be Tampa's starting third baseman again in 2007. With his talent and approach, he is a breakout candidate. But with the Florida State League a notorious hitters' league, that breakout may not happen until he reaches Double-A, which is not out of the question at some point next season.
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