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January 3, 2007

by Fabian

Marcos Vechionacci, 3B, 20
Previously Ranked:
8th prior to 2006, 3rd prior to 2005
What Others Say:
Pinstripes Plus 15th, Baseball America N/A, John Sickels N/R

Physical Ability: Marcos Vechionacci is a 6’2’’ 170 pound 3B. While I’m fairly certain that his listed weight may be low, it’s not by much as he is still growing into his frame. When his frame fills out Vechionacci may come closer to showing his 30 HR potential. His advanced knowledge of the strike zone and swing also seem to indicate that he will be a solid hitter for average. Defensively, scouts are almost unanimous in their praise of Vechionacci’s game as he has good range, an excellent arm, and is usually consistent with his actions. For the second year in a row he was named the South Atlantic League’s best defensive 3B as well as best infield arm. As you can tell by now, the physical skills are there.

What Happened in ’06: The Yankees gave Vechionacci an ill-advised promotion to Tampa to begin the year. In addition, they also rebuilt his swing. The combination of the two was a recipe for disaster as Marcos was completely overmatched against FSL pitching. Demoted to Charleston, Vechionacci played much better. He walked more than he struck out, hit for a league average BA, and displayed better than league average power. Had he not had previous experience at the level, this season would have been much better received. Unfortunately, that is something that has to be looked at to place his “progress” in perspective.

What Lies Ahead: Vechionacci is likely ticketed for the Tampa hot corner in 2007. I would expect him to spend his entire year there and am fairly confident that he’s figured things out offensively. This means to expect a solid BA and OBP with a decent SLG. If he comes into camp noticeably larger, I reserve the right to upgrade that SLG expectation. Right now he’s struggling at driving the ball to the opposite field with authority. This may be taken care of by simple physical maturation. Given his struggles in A-ball to this point, I don’t expect him to tear the league apart to the point where the Yankees would be forced to promote him. Of course, it would be nice if that happened.

Grade: Vechionacci has been disappointing thus far. However, because he began playing professionally so young he is still right on track as far as where you want your good prospects to be at his age. In addition, while the tools, other than plate discipline, have not yet completely transitioned to skills they are on their way. Vechionacci may never make the majors. He also has a non-zero chance of being Bill Mueller. If everything works out, he might even be Scott Rolen. Taking that into account as well as his progress controlling the strike zone and showing a bit more power, I really like Vechionacci. If he has a good year, he may just head this list next year. C+

Mark Melancon #12