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October 10, 2011 at 7:52 AM

The Book: Jose Vinicio

SS Jose Vinicio
Date: September 29-October 1, 2011
Team: Fall Instructional League
Age: 18

A switch hitter, Vinicio shows a much more fluid swing from the left side of the plate. He utilizes a compact stroke left-handed. Vinicio generates plus batspeed as a lefty and quickly gets the head of the bat out in front of the baseball to produce solid backspin. Despite being ultra-lean, especially in the lower body, he can get some carry behind the ball and turn around high velocity fastballs from right-handed pitchers. When Vinicio flips over to the other batter’s box, his swing gets noticeably longer and the head of the bat drags more through the zone. His mechanics do not look as crisp, especially his swing load. Vinicio tends to be behind more pitches and produces weaker contact as a right-handed hitter. He needs some cleanup work to get started earlier and be quicker to the ball in the process.

Defense: Vinicio displays a high level of fluidity and instincts at the shortstop position. His quick first step allows him to get going at the crack of the bat. Vinicio ranges well to both his left and right, covering a lot of ground in the field. He also shows the ability to adjust his hands very smoothly and react quickly to the bounces of the ball. In this view, Vinicio’s arm looked stronger than in the past. He made some strong throws on the run, with his throwing arm looking solid-average-to-better. The main weakness presently in the defensive package is his judgment, which at this age is to be expected. Vinicio needlessly rushes routine plays or gets himself off-balance when throwing by not setting his feet. He’ll also drop down a bit too much to the side and cause his throws to sail.

Take: Vinicio is still very skinny and lacks strength, but he did not look out of place skill-wise on the field with the older players. In this scouting opportunity, the level of comfort that he has begun to develop at the plate as a left-handed batter jumped out. Vinicio looked much more relaxed in the box and focused on picking out pitches he could handle. In the past, he tended to swing at everything without much of a plan in place. There has been some improvement with his approach that has begun to translate into game settings. He has some work to do batting right-handed though and did not show the above-average batspeed that he showed left-handed. It will be interesting to see if he can shorten up his right-handed swing and whether added strength helps quicken it up as well.

While Vinicio projects to have below-average power, I feel he has the hit tool to evolve into a solid-average hitter for average that plugs gaps to produce doubles. Despite presently lacking strength, he creates excellent batspeed as a lefty and shows the ability to get the head of the bat out in front of the ball. Vinicio has a foundation of hitting talent that should begin to show itself when his level of experience and physical development starts to catch up to his talent. Filling out is going to be important for him offensively, but it also should not take away from him defensively. Vinicio is a natural shortstop and shows the traits of a player who is capable of sticking at the position. There is a level of fluidity and naturalness that points to him rounding into an above-average defender as he improves his judgment via maturation. He has a lot of development in front of him, but looked like a player beginning to take the initial steps towards projecting as a future everyday major league regular.