Matt Vance

From BR Bullpen

MATT-VANCE Gauting Rouen 2009.jpg

Matthew Thomas Vance

Biographical Information[edit]

Matt Vance played Ivy League ball at Harvard University from 2005-2008, going .275/.387/.407 his first year, .318/.419/.470 his second year, .341/.418/.519 in his third year, and .252/.376/.415 in his final year at Harvard. He was an Ivy League All-Star OF for both 2006 and 2007 and was the baseball senior captain in 2008. Vance finished as the all-time Ivy League leader in both steals (65 in 80 tries) and doubles (37).

He studied Biological Anthropology at school; he chose Harvard as he wanted to leave the San Diego, CA area where he had grown up and was always impressed by the Harvard team. He also expressed an interest in Yoga while at school, and enjoys the television series "Friends" on DVD. He also played baseball in high school, for the Torrey Pines High School Falcons. He was a three-year letter-winner and starter, and was the team captain his senior year. He led his team in home runs two years in a row, and was named to the second-team All-City by the San Diego Union Tribune. He also played for for the Umba-Sutter Gold Sox of the California Coastal Baseball League in 2005, hitting .307 and stealing 21 bases in 24 attempts.

Vance would then move to the Bundesliga in 2009, playing for the Buchbinder Legionäre. He batted .337/.478/.517 in the regular season with 13 steals in 15 tries and 18 walks. His defense at shortstop was poor, as he was second the southern Bundesliga-1 with 13 errors and fielded only .896. He was among the leaders in RBI (18, 10th), doubles (8, 4th), runs (27, 3rd behind Sascha Lutz and Ray Stokes), walks (18, 3rd behind Stokes and Whitney Robinson-Pierce), slugging (8th), OBP (4th), OPS (8th) and steals (13, 6th).

In the 2009 European Cup's Nettuno phase, Matt hit .250/.349/.400 with 5 runs and 3 steals in 5 games. He tied for 5th in the event in runs and led in steals. He also played for the Gauting Indians team at the 2009 Open international de Rouen, winning the MVP award of the finale for his efforts. He helped Gauting win the tournament, beating the American delegation, 13-2.

In 2010, Vance hit .424/.500/.695 with 37 runs, 17 steals (in 21 tries) and 50 hits. He was among the southern Bundesliga-1 leaders in average (3rd behind Petr Čech and Dennis Kelly), hits (2nd, 2 behind Čech), home runs (5, tied for third with Jakub Voják), doubles (11, tied for 3rd with Christopher Howard and Matti Emery), triples (3, tied for 3rd), OBP (tied for 4th), OPS (2nd, 34 points behind Kelly), slugging (2nd, 13 points behind Kelly), steals (2nd, two behind Kelly), assists (96, 1st) and fielding percentage (.942, 4th among SS). He was named the league MVP. He produced at a .296/.415/.426 clip in the postseason with 16 runs in 13 games.

Matt hit .353/.467/.505 with 34 runs, 19 RBI, 19 walks and 12 steals (caught twice) in 24 games, while fielding .953, in 2011. He was among the league leaders in hits (35, tied for 5th), runs (1st, 5 ahead of #2 Evan LeBlanc), walks (4th), OBP (7th) and steals (tied for second, 2 behind Lutz). In the playoffs, he batted .383/.453/.489 with 8 runs in 11 games as Regensburg won it all. In the playoffs, he was 5th in average, tied for first in hits (18, even with Čech), 9th in slugging and 9th in OBP (between Matt Gaski and Octavio Medina).

In the 2012 Bundesliga, Vance produced at a .409/.545/.645 clip with 43 runs, 21 RBI, 22 walks and 15 steals (in 17 tries) in 24 games, while fielding .931. His team won another pennant and he was 4th in the league in average (between Ludwig Glaser and LeBlanc), tied for third in hits (with Glaser and Jeff Beachum), led in runs (by 6), was 6th in walks, 4th in slugging, 2nd in OBP, tied for first in steals and first in assists (90). In the 2012 European Cup, he went 3 for 16 with 3 runs, a RBI, 7 walks, 5 steals and 4 errors (fielding .846) in 5 games. He tied David Gauthier for second in walks (one behind Enzo Sanna), was second in steals (one behind Maxime Lefevre) and tied Mirco Caradonna for second in errors, one shy of Matthew Lawman.

He was eligible for the German national team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers as a foreign player residing and playing in Germany. He did okay, going 3 for 10 with a walk, steal, four runs and two RBI in four games as Germany's shortstop. He tied for third on the team in runs, one behind Eric Suttle and Aaron Altherr. In the qualifier finale, with a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic at stake, he hit second and played short for Germany but went 0 for 3 in a 11-1 loss to Team Canada, retired by Andrew Albers each trip up.

In the 2013 season, he hit .326/.472/.526 with 24 walks and 33 runs in 26 contests while fielding .926. The Harvard alumnus was 4th in runs (between former minor leaguers Jamie McOwen and Jay Pecci), tied for third in walks, tied for fifth in steals (10) and was 5th in OBP (between Chris Beck and Maik Ehmcke). He starred in the postseason and was named finals MVP as Regensburg pulled off a four-peat. In the 2013 European Cup, he put up similar numbers to the 2012 Cup: 4 for 17, 4 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SB, 4 E. He had a crucial squeeze bunt off Darwin Cubillan to end a 7-6, 10-inning upset of T&A San Marino. He tied Willie Vasquez, Lorenzo Avagnina and Seth La Fera for second in walks (2 behind Claudio Liverziani), tied for second in steals (one behind Matěj Hejma) and tied for second in errors (two behind Marc Obussier).

Vance hit .349/.517/.465 and fielded .880 in 2014. He was among the league leaders in runs (36, behind Joseph Dyche and Lutz), 4th in walks (24), 4th in OBP (between Thomas de Wolf and Glaser) and 5th in steals (13). He did not appear in the 2014 European Cup. In the 2015 campaign, Matt batted .404/.493/.561 and fielded .884. He was 5th in average (between Josh Petersen and Kai Gronauer), 5th in OBP (between Philip Schulz and Aaron Dunsmore), tied Dunsmore for 9th with 28 RBI, was 4th with 46 hits (between Glaser and Juan Martin), tied Glaser for 2nd in runs (37, 4 behind Schulz), led with 19 times hit by pitch and tied for the most errors (15) despite only tying for 5th in assists (66); he may have had the lowest fielding percentage of any qualifying shortstop.

Having played for Germany in the 2013 WBC Qualifiers, he moved to the Philippines national team for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in February 2016 (he is of Filipino descent) to play alongside his brother, former AAA hurler Kevin Vance. He struck out all three times up and made two errors against host Australia but rebounded to go 2-for-4 the next day versus New Zealand (his hits coming off Andrew Marck and Jimmy Boyce). The Filipinos lost both games, with the other infielders adding three more errors, two by 2B Adriane Ros Bernardo and one by 3B Brady Conlan.

He was 2 for 15 with a double, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, run and RBI in the 2016 European Champions Cup, fielding .846; one of his two errors led to the only run in a 1-0 loss to the Amsterdam Pirates. He tied for second in the event in errors, one behind Dashenko Ricardo. He was a SS/3B in the regular season, batting .299/.413/.478 with 23 runs in 18 games, fielding .918. He did not make the league leaders.

Regensburg hosted the 2017 European Champions Cup (brother Kevin had joined him on the team by now) but the club finished last; in the finale, Matt lined out against Lennard Stöcklin to end the game with a men on 2nd, down 4-3 against German rival Mainz. He hit .143/.368/.143 in the event and handled 11 chances error-free. He led the event in times plunked (two). In the '17 Bundesliga-1 regular season, he fielded .915 and was mainly now a center fielder; he batted .302/.441/.465. His 9 times hit by pitch led the loop.

The veteran's batting line in 2018 was .273/.443/.500 with 22 runs in 26 contests; he had 29 error-free chances (now mostly in RF). He tied Lutz for 6th in HR (5), easily led in hit-by-pitch (12), had the 4th most outfield chances without an error and tied for 5th in outfield assists (3). 2019 statistics are unavailable online (as of 11/30/2020).

In 2020, he put on an impressive show at age 34. In a COVID-19-shortened season, he batted .554/.612/.982 with 6 homers, 20 runs and 24 RBI while going 7-for-7 in steals. He reached 500 hits in the Bundesliga. He was second in runs (3 behind William Germaine), led with 31 hits (8 more than anyone else), tied David Grimes for 3rd in doubles (6), was 4th in homers, led in total bases (55, 7 ahead of Germaine), tied Max Boldt for the lead in extra-base hits (12), was second in RBI (two behind Boldt), tied fellow Philippines national team vet Devon Ramirez for 6th in swipes, led in average (.032 ahead of Danilo Weber), was 3rd in OBP (after Germaine and Lutz), was second in slugging (.134 behind Germaine) and was second to Germaine in OPS. He won his second Bundesliga-1 south MVP, ten years after his first.

Family Info[edit]

He is the son of Tom and Eve Vance. His brother Kevin Vance has been a teammate, as noted above.