The Seattle Mariners brought first baseman Dan Vogelbach to the major leagues yesterday. Acquired in July from the Chicago Cubs, Vogelbach was originally drafted by the Cubs in the second round in 2011 from high school in Fort Myers, Florida.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Bats: L Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 260 DOB: December 17, 1992
2012: Grade B-; 2013: Grade B; 2014: Grade B; 2015: Grade B-
Another year, another season of strong, steady production from Dan Vogelbach. In context, his 2015 season was his finest campaign since rookie ball in 2012, with a wRC+ mark of 140 being the best of his career at the full-season levels. He missed most of July and the first part of August with an oblique strain but overall he had few problems adapting to Double-A. Vogelbach combines above-average raw power with good strike zone judgment and a mechanically-sound swing. As before, the question here is defense. He doesn’t make an excessive number of errors at first base, but his range is quite limited and nobody is foolhardy enough to try him in the outfield. He’s a born DH, which makes him a tough fit in Chicago-NL. He can hit though. We will hold steady with a Grade B- since he had a fine year, but it is hard to see how he fits into the lineup barring a trade or a catastrophic number of injuries ahead of him.
Vogelbach got off to a good start in 2016, hitting .318/.425/.548 for Triple-A Iowa through 305 at-bats. Transferring over to Tacoma after the trade, he hit .240/.404/.422. Overall that comes out to .292/.417/.505 on the season with 23 homers, 97 walks, and 103 strikeouts in 459 at-bats. He had a hard time in Tacoma, hitting just .149/.351/.270 in 74 at-bats. Tacoma is a pitcher's park by PCL standards but Vogelbach has hit well in difficult environments before, so I wouldn't make a big deal out of the Tacoma issues given the sample size.
The basic profile for Vogelbach has not changed: power and patience are his hallmarks.He is not just a brute-force slugger, however; he has real hitting skills and can smash for power to all fields. As a defender he remains reliable in terms of not making too many errors, but his range is below average. Long-term I think he's a DH. I'm not sure how Vogelbach fits into the Mariners' schema for the future, but he's always hit and my guess is that he'll continue to do so.
We hold with a Grade B-.