Vinnie Pasquantino Talks Hitting

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vinnie Pasquantino is fast developing a reputation as a media-friendly player who can be counted on to provide fun quips on a variety subjects, both in print and on podcasts. Entertaining and engaging, the 25-year-old first baseman is already a fan favorite in Kansas City despite having not debuted until midway through the 2022 season. And he can swing the bat, too. The 2019 11th-round pick out of Old Dominion University began his big league career by slashing a robust .295/.383/.450 with a 137 wRC+ and 10 home runs in 298 plate appearances. Our lead prospect analyst is among those who weren’t surprised. Addressing his left-handed stroke last May, Eric Longenhagen wrote that “There are missile defense systems with less precise tracking ability than Pasquantino, who… is on time with remarkable consistency.”

Pasquantino talked hitting a few months into his rookie campaign with the Royals.


David Laurila: What do you know about hitting now that you didn’t know when you entered pro ball?

Vinnie Pasquantino: “More of the advanced stuff. Looking at data. I was never really familiar with data on pitches before — what vert means, what horizontal spin means, what attack angle means. Things that guys would talk about, like, ‘This guy throws a heavy ball’ or ‘It’s a firm 90.’ Now I have a better understanding of what that all means. That’s probably the biggest thing, just understanding all the data we’re given and how to use it on the field.”

Laurila: When did you really start learning it?

Pasquantino: “The end of the 2019, but more so during COVID. We would have Zoom classroom sessions where they would teach us what everything means. So, pretty much in 2020, because we couldn’t go anywhere. That’s when we learned a lot about what pitchers throw.”

Laurila: Information is one thing, using it to your advantage is another. How did you make what you learned actionable?

Pasquantino: “I think it’s just a different approach… not really ‘different,’ just a more scientific way to approach things. As opposed to, ‘Oh, this guy throws a two-seam and a slider, so this is how I’m going to attack him,’ it’s more, ‘OK, here is what he actually does, data-wise. How am I going to use that data to my advantage?’ Where he needs to start a pitch, or where he’s trying to get a pitch. Things like that. I try to attack pitchers that way.”

Laurila: Do pitch characteristics influence your bat path? For instance, you might be preparing for a guy with big time ride, or it might be a sinker-slider guy.

Pasquantino: “Bat path… maybe. Sure. But I would say it’s more the depth of contact on different pitchers. If a guy is throwing a heavy two-seam that day, and he’s mixing in a changeup, you want to be a little bit deeper in the zone because that’s where the ball is going. You want to beat the ball to the best spot. So, I would say a little bit, yeah, but it’s more just where you want to make contact with the ball.”

Laurila: A hitter has a fraction of a second once a pitch is being is delivered. Is it possible to articulate just how you go about allowing a ball to get deeper?

Pasquantino: “Probably not. It’s just knowing my swing, knowing what a pitcher wants to do, knowing how well, or not well, I’m seeing the ball on any given day. You’re trying to determine from there. I don’t think it’s anything you can quite articulate — it’s something you just practice, practice, practice, all the time in the cage.”

Laurila: What is your natural bat path? Is it geared for loft, or more of a flatter plane?

Pasquantino: “I try to hit hard line drives. That’s what I try to do.”

Laurila: You’re a bigger guy [6-foot-4, 245 pounds] who isn’t going to leg out hits, or steal bags once you get on. In order to be an impact player, don’t you need to drive the ball in the air?

Pasquantino: “Potentially, but Freddie Freeman doesn’t have that high of a launch angle. You look at a guy like him; he’s hitting .330 and has, I think, 20 home runs. He could probably hit 40 home runs with a batting average .100 points lower if he wanted to. But he’s a hitter. I’m not comparing myself to him, I’m just saying that’s a guy who knows what he’s doing in the box. He goes out and competes every night and gets on base. That’s how I try to approach things.”

Laurila: You see yourself as a hitter, and not as a power hitter…

Pasquantino: “That’s right. I see myself as a hitter.”

Laurila: Any final thoughts on hitting?

Pasquantino: “Maybe just that I have a very simple approach. I just try to have a good at-bat every single time. All I’m looking to do is help us score runs. I know my role on this team. I want to help this team drive in runs.”


Earlier “Talks Hitting” interviews can found through these links: Jo Adell, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, JJ Bleday, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman, Michael Chavis, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, Paul DeJong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Donnie Ecker, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Fransoso, Ryan Fuller, Joey Gallo, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Haniger, Robert Hassell III, Rhys Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hyers, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerr, Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Evan Longoria, Michael Lorenzen, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan, Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Hunter Mense, Owen Miller, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, Brent Rooker, Drew Saylor, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Justin Turner, Mark Trumbo, Josh VanMeter, Robert Van Scoyoc, Chris Valaika, Zac Veen, Mark Vientos, Matt Vierling, Luke Voit, Jared Walsh, Jordan Westburg, Jesse Winker, Nick Yorke, Kevin Youkilis.

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shirtless Bartolo Colon
1 year ago

Glad to see an Old Dominican grad making it big!!!

1 year ago

Is this a nickname for Old Dominion?

1 year ago

With that name, I always figured he was Italian!